In This Post: Take a look inside a night at Kimpton Cardinal Hotel. With its connection to the Empire State Building, Art Deco flair, and sophistication-meets-fun atmosphere, you can’t go wrong with booking this upscale boutique hotel when deciding where to stay in Winston-Salem, NC.
(This post is in partnership with Kimpton Cardinal Hotel. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own)
When you step into Kimpton Cardinal Hotel, also known as The Cardinal Hotel, you’re transported into another world – one filled with Art Deco flair and timeless elegance. From the moment I walked in the door, it was clear that I was no longer in Pittsburgh! That’s one of my favorite things about traveling – like a good book, a well thought-out hotel whisks you away into another place, not just physically, but also mentally. Kimpton hotels are the pros at this, and I was so thankful to have experienced Kimpton Cardinal Hotel in Winston-Salem, North Carolina as a stopping point on my way to Charleston, South Carolina last month!
If you haven’t stayed at one before, Kimpton properties are upscale boutique hotels composed equally of sophistication, fun, and often times history, as well. Winston-Salem’s Kimpton elegantly radiated all three! Set in the property that inspired the Empire State Building, the R.J. Reynolds Building was built in 1928 and became Kimpton Cardinal Hotel in 2016. Having been in the Empire State Building a handful of times myself, it’s quite neat to see the connections between the two. It’s especially identifiable through the geometrical architecture inside, complete with signature brass elevator doors.
The lobby of the hotel contains a lavish living area featuring contemporary furniture, intriguing artwork, coffee tables with card games to play, and a jewel-toned atmosphere (my favorite color palette for anything to be decorated in, obviously). Across the way, you’ll find The Katharine (named after the wife of R.J. Reynolds), an American brasserie that features a menu consisting of items from both Southern and French influences. My recommendation is to do everything you can to ensure your stay contains a Sunday evening when the plat du jour is buttermilk fried chicken, because it was one of the best meals I’ve ever had in my entire life. Even the bread was something to write home about, as are the creative cocktails. My favorite was the “Kentucky Buck”, created by legendary San Diego bartender Erick Castro. It combines bourbon, lemon, demerara, strawberry, ginger beer, and bitters for the perfect refreshing, but not-too-sweet drink. Also pictured are the “Naked and Famous” (a smoky, summery drink) and the “French 75” (a Parisian sipper)! I recommend topping dinner off with the chocolate tart or classic crème brulee for a full circle (and full belly!) indulgent experience.
After dinner, I made a trip down to the recreation room. I read that the hotel had bowling, a 2-story spiral slide, a basketball hoop, and a ginormous TV to watch whatever you want on, so I had to see it for myself! While this space is definitely a family-friendly perk, it’s just as much fun for the grown-ups. It’s one of the many cool things that makes Kimpton Cardinal Hotel unique! Here, I learned that my bowling skills get even more terrible after three cocktails, haha. Downstairs, you’ll also find a huge fitness center stocked with anything and everything you could need to remove any excuse for not working out. It is the most spacious and comprehensively equipped workout center that I’ve ever seen inside a hotel.
The room I stayed in was just as impressive. Kimpton hotels aren’t afraid to take chances when it comes to decor. Somehow, flower-adorned antlers, insect pillows, a plaid accented chair, and mismatched nightstands all successfully worked together to lend a creatively comforting (literally – the bed was amazing) space in a memorable, streamlined aesthetic. Oh, and the bathroom was absolutely dreamy! From the moment I saw the luxurious bathtub, I made it my priority for the evening to use it (mission accomplished!). I always bring my own shampoo and conditioner because I don’t trust the options at most hotels, but I forgot to bring mine in when I hopped in the tub and I was even wowed by their toiletries. My hair was soft and shiny after using the products created exclusively for Kimpton Hotels by Atelier Bloem. I also need to figure out who to get in touch with to find out where I can get this wallpaper because I LOVE it! There was even a yoga mat and an umbrella in the room, because Kimpton Cardinal Hotel has truly thought about everything you need for a smooth, unwinding stay.
But don’t let the luxurious amenities and fancy accommodations fool you; this is a super down-to-earth hotel. It’s pet-friendly, the staff is friendly, even the words on the website talk to you like you’re already friends. While I do hope that you find a way to make a stop at the Kimpton in Winston-Salem, don’t shy away from this collection elsewhere, either. Kimpton Hotels are the perfect place to stay if you feel energized by creativity and love a boutique hotel experience. Thank you so much, Kimpton Cardinal Hotel, for being the perfect first stop for kicking this road trip off on the right foot!