I’m a sucker for historic hotels, and the Dunhill Hotel is Charlotte’s only remaining claim to one of those.
It’s a real survivor: Born as an apartment hotel called the Mayfair Manor in November 1929, the baby of two local eye, ear, nose and throat doctors (isn’t that a fun fact?), it outlived the stock market crash and the Great Depression.
Then, residing downtown as it does, it suffered through a stretch of deterioration in the 1960s and ’70s and seven years of vacancy and homeless squatters before – ta-da! – it reopened in 1988 in its current incarnation.
Which is quite pleasing, if I do say so.
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The traditional furnishings and decor are swathed in a soothing blue-and-brown-and-gold color scheme.
Lovely oils by North Carolina artist Philip Moose – snow-covered mountains, autumnal forests – hang in both public spaces and guest rooms.
On Saturday and Sunday afternoon, a young woman played softly on the grand piano in one corner of the lobby, where free coffee was available daily.
A big snifter of hard candy graced the front desk.
Right in the heart of center city Charlotte (its great advantage), with a casual but fabulous restaurant (the Harvest Moon Grille), the Dunhill is a hotel of modest dimensions – even though it’s 10 stories and 60 rooms – and a cozy feel.
Very cozy, you might say.
Our room was a deluxe queen, featuring a seating area with a pullout sofa, but it really wasn’t any larger than most standard hotel rooms.
Maybe even a smidgen smaller.
At first I thought it didn’t have a closet, either, just a nook with a clothes rod near the door.
But then I realized that the massive wardrobe at one end was both a closet and an entertainment center, housing a very large flat-screen TV.
Good thing we had that, because the view out the window, over a series of low-lying rooftops, was less than enthralling.
Still, the room was comfortable, even for two (which probably isn’t its usual occupancy, judging by the single bathrobe hanging in the bathroom).
And even though it was right by the elevator, we never heard a single ding in the night.
On the other hand, if the neighbors turned on their shower while I was in the bathroom, it sounded as though I could step right into the spray.
But such small quibbles.
Mostly, despite a stuttering start at check-in, the Dunhill made me feel at home.