From world-class museums to oak-filled green spaces to a vibrant food and art scene, Raleigh has a lot going on. It’s no wonder why visitors flock to North Carolina‘s capital city all year long. With plenty of year-round attractions and annual festivals, you’re bound to stumble across something fun happening in the City of Oaks!
Raleigh and nearby Chapel Hill and Durham make up what is known as the “Research Triangle,” and it’s no secret that the area’s universities are a major draw. Whether you’re in town to visit the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, North Carolina State in downtown Raleigh, or Duke University in Durham, you’ll find serious college vibes in this unique part of NC.
But Raleigh has much more to offer than its university spirit! You’ll be spoiled for choice with all of the incredible art-filled galleries, lush forests and parks, Black heritage sites, and historic 18th- and -19th-century attractions.
Plus, if you’re in town to indulge, you’ll find everything from trendy food halls to upscale bars and restaurants scattered around the city. From dancing the night away at a rooftop bar to catching up with friends over Southern-style eats, you’re bound to have an incredible time in this vibrant capital city!
Raleigh also has some incredible design-forward boutique hotels, charming inns, and art-filled retreats. So many, in fact, that you might have a hard time choosing the perfect one. So we’ve created a list of the 12 best hotels in Raleigh to help you plan your perfect getaway!
Don’t forget to check out our web story: The 12 Best Boutique Hotels in Raleigh, NC
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Where to Stay in Raleigh, North Carolina
Raleigh, Chapel Hill, and Durham make up what is known as the “Research Triangle,” so you’ll want to choose your hotel based on where you plan on spending the majority of your time.
It’s no surprise that most of the best hotels in Raleigh are clustered around the downtown Raleigh area. This is the best place to base yourself if this is your first visit to the city, and plan on ticking off all of the area’s most popular attractions. You’ll also have easy access to all of Raleigh’s best restaurants, bars, and nightlife venues.
If you want to stay in one of downtown Raleigh’s coolest neighborhoods, book a hotel in either the Glenwood South District or the Warehouse District. Located five miles north of downtown, North Hills is a great choice if you’re looking for an upscale hotel that’s a bit removed from the hustle and bustle of downtown.
Alternately, if you’re in town to visit one of the city’s universities, there are all sorts of excellent hotels clustered around the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and NC State in downtown Raleigh. Durham is also a popular place to base yourself – especially if you’re in town to visit Duke University. It also happens to be home to some of the most unique boutique hotels in the “Research Triangle!”
The 12 Best Boutique Hotels in Raleigh
If you’re looking for the coolest boutique hotel in Raleigh, this is it! Plus, it’s set right in the heart of the trendy Warehouse District, so all of downtown Raleigh’s main attractions are a short walk or drive away.
Each of the 126 rooms boasts locally inspired decor, stylish mid-century modern furnishings, and ultra-comfy beds topped with luxury linens. Ask the friendly staff, and they’ll even provide in-room camping gear for your little ones and complimentary yoga mats for your morning yoga sessions! Although, if you really want to work up a sweat, the hotel also has a state-of-the-art gym.
You’ll be surrounded by some of Raleigh’s best bars and restaurants but be sure to enjoy at least one meal at the hotel’s popular eatery, Good Day Good Night. The plant-forward dishes are made using farm fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Think vegetarian mushroom asada tacos, massive Angus beef burgers, and a seriously impressive list of cocktails.
Graduate Chapel Hill is a no-brainer if you’re in town to visit the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Set right on Franklin Street, campus is just steps away, so the location can’t be beat! Plus, the staff will provide you with complimentary bikes and shuttles to make getting around campus is a breeze.
This place is all about celebrating local and school spirit, so expect to find all sorts of whimsical decor honoring famous campus figures and iconic Tar Heels throughout the hotel.
The school spirit extends to the impeccably decorated rooms, which feature locally inspired decor in shades of Carolina blue, comfy beds with triple sheeting, and modern baths with Malin+Goetz toiletries. You’ll also have a beautiful wood writing desk and free Wi-Fi in case you need to get some work done during your stay.
Head down to the Trophy Room, where you can mingle with friends over food and drinks. The popular restaurant serves up classic American dishes with a local twist as well as handcrafted cocktails and local craft brews.
3. The Mayton
If big hotel chains aren’t your thing, The Mayton might just be the perfect pick. This upscale boutique hotel is located on the tree-lined streets of Cary, which is a 20-minute drive from the heart of Raleigh. It’s the ideal option if you’re looking to be a bit removed from the hustle and bustle of the city center but close enough to tick off all of Raleigh’s main attractions.
The 44 rooms and suites are all individually designed and boast plush beds with triple sheeting, writing desks, HDTVs, and modern ensuites with luxury toiletries. If you’re traveling as a group or in town for a bachelorette party, the 3-bedroom suite is an ideal option for its lavish living room and well-equipped kitchenette.
The Mayton also happens to be home to one of the best restaurants in Cary. Peck & Plum specializes in modern American fare – from avocado toast or biscuits and gravy for brunch to oysters in the half shell or shrimp and grits for dinner. If you just want to socialize over drinks, you can choose from a long list of craft cocktails, local beers, and excellent wines.
Artsy types will love staying at 21c Museum Hotel, as it’s easily one of the coolest boutique hotels in Raleigh-Durham. Housed in the historic Hill Building in downtown Durham, 21c is a great choice if you plan to base yourself in downtown Durham. Plus, this place is listed on the National Register of Historic Places – so you know it’s something special!
Step inside, and you’ll immediately be impressed by the preserved green marble and silver leaf ceiling and terrazzo floors. You’ll also find 10,500 square feet of art-filled exhibition space, which is open 24 hours a day.
You’ll love relaxing in your stylish room after a long day on the town. Each of the 125 rooms boasts high ceilings, oversized windows, and custom Art Deco furnishings. The Nespresso coffee machines, mini-bars, and Malin+Goetz bath products are nice added touches.
When you’re not unwinding in your room, be sure to pamper yourself with a massage or facial at the onsite spa. The wellness center also features a sauna, steam room, and fitness center. If that’s not enough, you can treat yourself to boozy brunches and gourmet dinners at the hotel’s popular Counting House restaurant.
Whether you’re in town for work or play, The StateView Hotel has everything you need for a comfortable and relaxing stay. Perched right on the banks of Lake Raleigh, you’re just a stone’s throw from NC State University’s Centennial Campus as well as the Lonnie Poole Golf Course.
With so many excellent amenities, you won’t even need to leave this hotel if you don’t want to. You can easily spend your days swimming in the heated outdoor saltwater pool, working on your tan on the pool deck, or keeping up with your exercise routine in the 24-hour gym. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, head over to the hotel’s Flask & Beaker, where chefs prepare their seasonally curated menu in the open concept kitchen.
When you’re ready to retire for the evening, the luxurious rooms will not disappoint! You’ll love getting cozy on the plush bed and catching up with your favorite Netflix show with the 49-inch smart TV. It’s the perfect way to end a fun-filled day in Raleigh!
Yet another gem in downtown Durham, The Durham Hotel is easily one of the best hotels in Raleigh-Durham. From its chic mid-century design to its trendy rooftop lounge, you’ll never want to leave this incredible hotel!
The Roof at The Durham is easily one of the coolest amenities at The Durham Hotel. Gather your crew, and head up here for seasonal cocktails, live music, and unbeatable views of the cityscape.
The restaurant also boasts a popular raw bar focusing on North Carolina shellfish and locally sourced shareable plates. You can also dine on excellent new American cuisine inside the Art Deco dining room at The Restaurant at the Durham or grab local Counter Culture Coffee beverages at The Coffee Shop.
If that’s not enough, the expertly designed rooms look like they were ripped straight from a magazine. You’ll love the pillow-top platform beds, retro light fixtures and decor, and comfy handmade blankets from Raleigh Denim. Plus, you can enjoy in-room Counter Culture Coffee in the mornings or raid the artisanal mini-bar if you’re craving a midnight snack!
If you’re in town to visit Duke University, JB Duke Hotel is the perfect pick. The hotel is located right on the university’s West Campus. Plus, the free hotel shuttle makes getting around town a breeze.
When you’re not out and about, the hotel has everything you need for a relaxing and productive stay. You can fit in your daily workout in the fully-outfitted gym or catch up on work in the business center. Once you’re ready to relax, treat yourself to a cocktail in the Lobby Lounge or enjoy leisurely meals in the full-service restaurant.
You’ll love relaxing in your elegant room after an action-packed day. All rooms and suites are outfitted with contemporary decor and pops of Duke’s signature blue, spacious workstations, large flat-screen TVs, and spa-like baths with Gilchrist & Soames London Collection toiletries.
If you’re willing to splurge, the Executive King Suite is well worth it for its spacious living room and separate bedroom, oversized wet bar, and large windows overlooking West Campus and the lush Duke Forest.
Embassy Suites is a convenient option if you’re looking for an upscale hotel near the airport. Raleigh-Durham International Airport is just 10 minutes away. Plus, the hotel’s free shuttle service will take you to and from the airport if you don’t have your own car.
You’ll love the refreshingly stylish rooms, which boast plush platform beds, ergonomic workstations, and large floor-to-ceiling windows with blackout blinds. The complimentary Wi-Fi, mini-fridges, and microwaves are handy extra features.
Explore the hotel, and you’ll find a heated indoor pool, a hot tub, and a state-of-the-art gym. There’s also a Lobby Lounge perfect for after-dinner drinks and an on-site restaurant that serves up seriously good pizzas, salads, and sandwiches. Plus, if you’re feeling lazy and just want to lounge around your room, you can order all of Flying Spoons Café’s best dishes right to your room.
Among other freebies, you can fill up on made-to-order breakfasts in the mornings and mingle over drinks and snacks at the evening reception.
One look at the Longleaf Hotel, and you’ll immediately see why this place has emerged as one of the coolest boutique hotels in Raleigh. This former 1960s Travelodge has been meticulously renovated into a mid-century modern gem that guests can’t stop raving about!
With all the retro furniture and decor, the rooms will make you feel like you’re on the set of Mad Men. You’ll love the pillow-top Kingsdown beds, fully stocked fridges, vintage-style Bluetooth speakers, and ensuites with Malin+Goetz bath products. One of the coolest things about the rooms is that many of the amenities were sourced from local artisans, including the shibori-dyed throw pillows and robes, custom art, and longleaf wallpaper.
You’ll definitely want to meet up with friends in the retro-chic Longleaf Lounge. Not only do they have a long list of wines, cocktails, and brews, but you can snack on throwback appetizers like deviled eggs and port wine cheeseballs.
If you’re looking to be based in the trendy Glenwood South District, AC Hotel is one of the best places to stay in Raleigh. Not only will you be a stone’s throw from some of Raleigh’s top attractions, but you’ll be able to walk to all sorts of vibrant bars, restaurants, and nightlife venues.
One of the coolest things about AC Hotel Downtown is that it’s home to the upscale Willard Rooftop Bar & Lounge. This is the perfect place to gather with friends and sip cocktails while the sun sinks into the Raleigh skyline. Stay for dinner, and you’ll be treated to excellent Mediterranean- and Spanish-inspired tapas.
After a long day on the town, you’ll appreciate the well-appointed rooms. Even the standard rooms offer 305 square feet of space, spacious sitting areas, and sleek ensuites. It’s well worth booking one of the rooms on a higher floor for the floor-to-ceiling windows with sweeping views over the Raleigh skyline.
11. Aloft Raleigh
This design-forward hotel is all about celebrating local spirit and the city’s artistic culture. If you’re looking to stay in one of the coolest Raleigh hotels, this might just be the place! Plus, NC State University is right across the street, and it’s possible to walk to all of the trendy shops and eateries of Cameron Village.
Step inside, and you’ll immediately be impressed by the whimsical retro decor and art-filled hangout areas. The hotel also boasts Aloft’s signature re:charge fitness center if you want to keep up with your routine, as well as a refreshing Splash pool.
In the mornings, you can get your morning caffeine fix at the on-site Jubala Coffee, and in the evenings, you can fill up on award-winning Colombian-Mexican tacos and tequila-infused drinks at Gonza Taco Y Tequila. If you’re in the mood for a tipple, head up to the chic W XYZ bar, where you can mingle over handcrafted cocktails and dance the night away to live DJ sets.
Once you’re all tuckered out from an action-packed day, you’ll love resting up in your modern room. Guest rooms all boast plush platform beds, ergonomic workstations, 49-inch flat-screens, and deluxe ensuites with Bliss spa amenities.
Hyatt House Raleigh is the ideal option if you’re looking for a home away from home during your trip to Raleigh. Whether you’re in town for work or play, you’ll have everything you could possibly need for a comfortable stay.
In the mornings, you can fill up for the day with the hotel’s complimentary breakfast before swimming laps in the indoor pool or working out in the state-of-the-art fitness center.
The studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom suites will make you feel right at home. Even the studios boast a whopping 462 square feet of space, living areas with L-shaped couches and 42-inch HDTVs, and full kitchens with full-sized fridges, dishwashers, and coffee makers.
If you want to prepare meals in your room, go grocery shopping 24 hours a day at the on-site H Market. Or, if you don’t feel like cooking for yourself, H Bar has an excellent menu of burgers, salads, sandwiches, and cocktails.
That completes our list of the 12 best Raleigh hotels! Did we miss any cool boutique hotels in Raleigh? Comment below so we can add them to the list!
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