Travelers Rest, S.C. Tucked amid the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, near the border of North and South Carolina, rests an elegant boutique hotel that blends Old World luxury with contemporary European flair.
Hotel Domestique is the inspiration of onetime world-class professional cyclist George Hincapie and his brother Rich.
Obviously with an owner who competed in 17 Tours de France, cycling is the primary attraction of the 13-room property. In fact, the inspiration was derived from George’s travels throughout Europe. “I wanted to create a world-class destination that is proud of its service and a product in atmosphere of elegant charm, sophisticated dining and gracious living that combine with an active lifestyle,” he says.
Domestique opened in 2012 featuring a mix of “old European farmhouses with contemporary design.” The result, a small hotel that is either “elegantly rustic” or “rustically elegant.” Whichever you choose, it’s an idea that works.
Hotel Domestique’s accommodations are spacious and well appointed. But more than anything, the subliminal touches create the flair.
Guests receive a welcome glass of champagne at check-in.
Visitors are treated to home-cooked pastries each night before retiring.
Doors are left open at unoccupied rooms so guests can explore the property as if it is their own.
Believing their guests should be immersed in the experience of Domestique, the Hincapies have eliminated mini-bars in favor of two rooms that offers complimentary soft drinks, water or wine along with a selection of small snacks.
In French a “domestique” is a “servant.” Initially, that was a derogatory term in the cycling world, referring to riders who set the pace for the leader on a team. During his Tour de France days, George Hincapie was regarded as the premier “domestique” for the American team led by Lance Armstrong.
Thus the Hincapies incorporated “Domestique” into the world of hospitality where “service” is also the goal of any high-quality establishment.
At Hotel Domestique, everything blends into a symmetry that is appealing from the moment you arrive. Golf, tennis and hiking are other activities that add to the amenities.
Hotel Domestique is the ideal marriage of European lifestyle with American “chic” – a year-round hotel that embraces the “cycles” of the seasons.
Bob Taylor of Charlotte leads group tours and organized the Magellan Club.