West Elm – the furniture store – is launching a hotel in Charlotte.
Part of a national launch of boutique hotels, the company is coming to the Design Center of the Carolinas, in South End on Camden Road. West Elm is also launching hotels in Savannah, Minneapolis, Indianapolis and Detroit. They’ll open in late 2018.
The Charlotte hotel will include 150 rooms, a rooftop pool, meeting space, a restaurant, lounge and bar. A “community-inspired, locally sourced event” will be held at the hotel weekly, open to both local residents and hotel guests.
Ram Real Estate, which owns the Design Center, said the hotel will be new construction on the site. West Elm operates a furniture and home furnishings store nearby, in the Metropolitan complex.
“We’re excited that West Elm Hotel shares our vision for South End,” said Casey Cummings, Ram CEO, in a statement. “Our commitment to Charlotte has never been stronger and we look forward to collaborating with the entire West Elm team.”
The South End hotel will join a growing lineup of hotels under development outside of uptown but near center city. Kimpton is building a 128-room hotel on Worthington Avenue in Dilworth, and a 120-room hotel is planned at Kingston Avenue and South Tryon.
Opening a chain of hotels might seem like an odd move for a furniture seller. But West Elm said it’s interested in moving beyond furniture sales into a new market. The hotels will feature local design elements and cuisine, as well as locally commissioned artwork in each guest room and common areas. The furnishings and artwork will be available for guests to buy online as well.
West Elm said it was attracted to the warehouses, food trucks and local businesses in South End.
“After twenty-six consecutive quarters of double-digit comparative growth, including our successful entry into the commercial furnishings market with West Elm Workspace, we’ve created an active bond with our customers that can extend beyond home and work,” said Jim Brett, president of West Elm, in a statement. “By adapting the framework design of each hotel to reflect the mood and identity of its host city, we will continue to engage the adventurous spirit of our customers as they follow us to our next level of hospitality.”
Brooklyn-based West Elm is partnering with hotel operator DDK, which oversees a portfolio of 70 properties, on the West Elm Hotels project.
“There is a growing desire among modern travelers to immerse themselves in the place they are visiting. They want a boutique experience, and expect great, reliable service that caters to their needs,” said David Bowd, co-founder of DDK. “Our general managers will serve as innkeepers, and West Elm Hotels will focus on making real community connections for visitors and residents alike.”