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The Carolina Inn Unveils Historically Significant Renovation

Seventh such project proves most comprehensive and most exciting

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (April 2013) – Built on the campus of UNC Chapel Hill in 1924 by John Sprunt Hill – distinguished alumnus, successful businessman and University trustee – The Carolina Inn’s original concept was “to provide for the special wants and comforts of the University alumni...and University visitors.” Almost a century later, the award-winning property delivers on that mission more than ever.

The Carolina Inn has undergone seven major renovations in its storied 89-year history, and each has left its own distinct stamp on the beloved hotel, but in many ways this 4.5-year renovation is the most comprehensive and most exciting. Along with completely remodeling the guestrooms and extensively renovating the function rooms and public areas, much of the Inn’s infrastructure has also been updated. 

“Aesthetically the renovation has achieved a remarkable balance between the historical elements of the Colonial Revival style, dating to 1924, and contemporary style in fresh paint colors and vibrant, luxurious fabrics,” said Dr. Kenneth Zogry, historian of The Carolina Inn since 1998 and author of The University’s Living Room: A History of The Carolina Inn. “Many of the Inn’s treasured antiques and works of art are featured in new settings that celebrate both the past and the present.”

Added General Manager Jack Schmidt, “The result is that The Carolina Inn is ready to provide everything for the comfort of the 21st century guest, in a unique atmosphere that reflects the rich history of both the hotel and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, one of the nation’s great public universities.” 

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, The Carolina Inn recently won a “Best Practices” Award from the National Trust’s Historic Hotels of America Program for its extensive new historical displays, an integral part of the recently completed renovation. 

A new walking tour brochure allows guests to explore aspects of the fascinating history of North Carolina, UNC-Chapel Hill, and the Inn. In fact, the displays relating to UNC history are the most extensive anywhere on campus. In the public areas these include original 19th century portraits of famous Tar Heels on loan from the Di-Phi Societies, the oldest student organization at UNC (in the elegant North and South Parlors); and some 90 student-drawn cartoons from The Daily Tar Heel over the past 70 years, lining the walls of the newly renovated Carolina Crossroads Bar.  Throughout the guestroom corridors and lounges are nearly 700 images and brief biographies of noted UNC alumni, faculty, and landmarks. 

There are treasures around every corner – tucked away near the remodeled fitness center are several framed examples of original UNC fight song sheet music, dating to the 1930s; in the lobby is a 1970 oil painting of the Inn by alumnus and Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist Jeff MacNelly; and outside the historic 1924 Old Well Ballroom is a display chronicling the history of the Old Well, UNC’s architectural icon, including rarely seen photographs dating back more than a century. Images of the Old Well, The Carolina Inn, and the historic Morehead-Patterson Bell Tower have even been woven into the spectacular Tar Heel blue custom-designed carpet in the grand John Sprunt Hill Ballroom, which also features the first UNC mascot, “Ramses,” in the corners. 

There is additional local influence with North Carolina made furniture and mattresses manufactured by Kingsdown in North Carolina, along with extra features that further expand the Inn’s efforts to be responsible and conscientious of its impact on the environment. Of note, many pieces of guestroom furniture were constructed from raw materials managed through the Sustainable Forestry Initiative; mattresses were made from bamboo fibers and soy products and are 99% recyclable; and dual-flush guestroom toilets conserve water.

The attention to detail in the newly renovated Carolina Inn makes it not just a hotel, but truly a destination for travelers, UNC alumni, weddings, meetings and corporate events. 

And recent guests are sharing their experiences on TripAdvisor: “The Carolina Inn is a gem tucked away in the green folds of Chapel Hill. This is a heritage property with a history that is proudly emblazoned on every wall, nook and cranny. The beauty is that, even as the management has gone to great lengths to preserve the traditional décor, every modern convenience is available. Step in here and you are in the old curiosity shop, with an ambience that is increasingly becoming hard to find. Four poster beds, table top trays on ottomans, small courtyards, yummy chocolate chip cookies on arrival … the works. Great service, wonderful food and the best possible location to visit UNC … you would be hard pressed to come home to a better ‘inn.’”

About The Carolina Inn
Built on the campus of UNC Chapel Hill in 1924 by John Sprunt Hill – distinguished alumnus, successful businessman and University trustee – The Carolina Inn’s original concept was “to provide for the special wants and comforts of the University alumni...and University visitors.” The historical Carolina Inn features 185 charming and well-appointed guestrooms including 7 luxury suites. The Carolina Inn and its Carolina Crossroads Restaurant were awarded AAA’s prestigious 2013 Four Diamond ratings, marking the 16th consecutive hotel honor and 11th straight restaurant recognition.  This is also the 13th straight year that Carolina Crossroads has been awarded Four-Stars by the Forbes Travel Guide (formerly Mobil Travel Guide).

About Destination Hotels & Resorts
Destination Hotels & Resorts is a privately held hospitality management company headquartered in Colorado. With 40 independent, luxury and upscale hotels, resorts and golf clubs, Destination is the fourth largest hospitality management company in the country. The company’s portfolio features more than 9,200 guest rooms, 18 golf courses and 16 full-service spas. Destination Hotels & Resorts properties are located in key metropolitan and resort markets including Washington, D.C., Chicago, Seattle, Denver, San Diego, Santa Fe, Aspen, Austin, Phoenix, Portland, Palm Springs, Palos Verdes, Maui and Lake Tahoe. The company is a subsidiary of Los Angeles-based investment, development and management firm Lowe Enterprises. For a complete list of properties in the Destination Hotels & Resorts collection, please visit