Posted May 30, 2014

Hello, Winston-Salem

Destinations

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We have a new project on the boards and it’s smoking hot.

Winston-Salem, North Carolina, is the newest addition to the Kimpton family, with a project slated to open in early 2016. And it’s set in one of the city’s most iconic structures, the R.J. Reynolds Building. Opened in 1929, this Art Deco gem was built by Shreve & Lamb, the architects who two years later would essentially re-create the building — except five times bigger — in New York City as the Empire State Building. (In fact, it’s reported that every Father’s Day, the staff at the 103-floor Empire State Building sends a card to the staff of the 21-story Reynolds Building).

With its gilded metal grillwork, ornate murals and exotic woods, the Reynolds Building was recently listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and was until 2009 home of the giant tobacco company that gives the tower its name. But the mixed-use concept — which will include the hotel and restaurant on the first six floors with luxury rental units above — is nothing new for this building. Over the years it’s been home to everything from barbershops to law firms.

Once complete, the 174-room hotel — developed in partnership with PMC Property Group — will also be Winston-Salem’s first luxury boutique hotel. And for North Carolina’s fourth largest city (population 234,349), the timing couldn’t be better. Known for its textile and tobacco industries, not to mention being home to the first Krispy Kreme doughnut shop and the late, great Renaissance woman Maya Angelou, the Twin City (as the city is nicknamed) has in recent years taken on a different persona. Along with the prestigious Wake Forest University, University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and Winston Salem State University, local companies such as Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and Wake Forest Innovation Quarter and a slew of museums, arts organizations and festivals, it’s also become known as “The City of Arts and Innovation.”

Add in the area’s famous cuisine and a fascinating history (Salem dates its founding back to 1753), and you have the ingredients for a rich, engaging travel experience.

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62 Comments

  1. TBeeman says:

    Hopefully, you’ll add some (non-chain) quality restaurants in there, as well! 🙂

  2. TBeeman says:

    And… welcome to the neighborhood!

  3. Kristen Daukas says:

    Can’t wait!! And it’s a Mother’s Day card they send each year 😉

  4. ric davis says:

    should have picked greensboro and its the 5th largest city behind durham

    • Kimpton This writer says:

      Greensboro … sounds like a good idea, Ric.

    • Monica Cecil says:

      Greensboro has always been jealous of W-S. They chased away their chance at a trader joes, there is nothing comparable to the Reynolds Building anywhere in Guilford County. I’m glad W-S had the good sense to pull away from gbo as a metropolitan statistical area. W-S and Durham have flip flopped for awhile but I believe Winston-Salem is going to leave Durham in the dust and Greensboro better watch out, we may sneak up on you and once again become the third largest city in NC.

  5. Aubrey says:

    We are all thrilled to have you in WSNC! Welcome…

  6. William M Marion says:

    Congratulations and welcome to WS. If only I were the architect for this grand project!

  7. Fam Brownlee, Jr. says:

    You might want to take a look at our recent blog post about Kimpton and the Reynolds Building here:

    http://northcarolinaroom.wordpress.com/?s=reynolds+building

    I am the historian in the North Carolina Room at the Central Forsyth County Public Library…if I can be of any assistance please let me know…e-mail only, please.

    Oh, and the nickname is NOT the Dash…that is the unfortunate choice of the local baseball team…actual nicknames are the Twin City and the Camel City…

    • Kimpton This writer says:

      Fam … love the photos! Thanks for sharing that link. And apologies on “The Dash” … Wikipedia let me down (again). And we sincerely appreciate your offer of help, that’s so nice of you.

    • @nc_beer_wench says:

      Fam – wonderful work, thank you for sharing!

  8. Mac says:

    22 year old native Winstonian living in Brooklyn. My friends and I will be back in town once it opens for a hotel party! Very excited!

  9. Gayle Anderson says:

    On behalf of our 1500 Chamber of Commerce members, welcome to the City of Arts and Innovation. We look forward to meeting you.

  10. Kari Maddox says:

    We are so glad to hear that Kimpton Hotel is coming to Winston-Salem!!

    Best wishes to you all,

    Kari

  11. TonyF says:

    Do you think you will do the green and red lighting at Christmastime? I always loved that as a boy.

    • Kimpton This writer says:

      Hey, Tony — Not sure about the operational stuff yet … but we hope the holiday lighting is still going to be part of the city skyline.

  12. Elizabeth says:

    Welcome Kimpton! I am excited you will be coming to Winston-Salem. I moved here twenty years ago from New England and love it. I am originally from Manhattan and love downtown W-S, seeing it as a mini Big Apple with less stress and lower costs. The people are so friendly and nice here, and the energy happening around the downtown renaissance in the last decade has been exciting. You are certainly adding to the excitement and momentum. This place is so cool and getting cooler with the new projects in the downtown core, as well as the nearby emerging urban research park situated in renovated Reynolds factory buildings. Welcome to town! I will be one of the first customers at your restaurant. By the way, we have an impressive emerging wine region nearby in the Yadkin Valley, as well as some of the most historic and influential bluegrass and Americana music festivals in the country not far from W-S, such as MerleFest, Union Grove Old-Time and Bluegrass Fiddlers’ Festival, and the Mount Airy Fiddlers’ Convention.

    • Kimpton This writer says:

      Well, Elizabeth, your comment is so nice and enthusiastic it seems you’ve learned to fit right in with the friendly locals. And thanks for the heads-up about the nearby wine region … didn’t know about that!

  13. Vaughn says:

    Welcome to the neighborhood Kimpton! We are excited about this level of service coming to the area. My fiancé is a currently pursuing a masters degree in hospitably and I once heard her say “Working for Kimpton is my dream job” do you have any suggestions for joining the Kimpton family?

    • Kimpton This writer says:

      Hey, Vaughn — Thanks for the welcome … and so great to hear your fiancé wants to be part of the team. It’s going to be a while before the hiring starts in Winston-Salem, but tell her to check in on this page: http://careers.kimptonhotels.com/. And congratulations … it sounds like you’re marrying someone with excellent taste 😉

  14. Janie Wilson says:

    Who can I contact about lighting up the Reynolds Building at night in March 2015 for a special celebration. Thanks. E-mail me and I’ll give you more details. Thanks.

  15. Mark says:

    I go out of my way to drive by this building whenever I’m near downtown – can’t wait for it to open. It will be a tremendous addition to Winston-Salem, even if you guys sold out to one of the big players. 😉

  16. Terry Wiley says:

    Very excited and already planning lodge guests at your hotel for meetings in 2015. What is approximate opening date?

    • Mark Hiss Mark Hiss says:

      We’re excited, too, Terry … we’ve been getting so much love about this project. Unfortunately with something this size, “2015” is about as specific as we can get for the opening right now. We don’t want to disappoint anyone if things take longer than expected. Check back in with the blog … we’ll have all the info when it’s coming on line.

  17. Lynne says:

    I’m so excited about Kimpton’s new WS Project!! Please let me know when you will be accepting applications for where to send a resume. BTW…”Love this blog!!”

    Look forward to hearing from you soon,
    Lynne Houston
    houstonlynne@gmail.com
    336-601-8776

  18. Susan Stitt says:

    What is the anticipated opening date? Daughter is getting married 6-20-15 in downtown WS and would love an alternative place to host the guests.

    • Mark Hiss Mark Hiss says:

      Hi, Susan — we’d love to give you the green light on this but unfortunately “2015” is as specific as we can get right now. Stay tuned!

  19. @nc_beer_wench says:

    SOOO excited to hear about this as a former ‘Winston’ resident (and someone who has spent time in this very building)! The building has so much history; as you noted the prototype for the Empire State Building. It also houses beautiful antique tobacco memorabilia including tapestries…and the decor speaks to the RJR history – I hope those elements will be retained as much as possible. Regardless of your tobacco stance, they’re pretty neat artistic works that are visual reminders of the history and character of a place.

    As Elizabeth shared there is a growing nearby wine region, and NC has been burgeoning as a craft beer haven the past several years (if I’m not mistaken NC is the 5th/6th largest craft beer market in the country). In fact Asheville is hosting the 2015 Beer Bloggers conference this summer. Conveniently, one of the best breweries in NC is just a brief walk from the RJR building, and I expect Foothills beer will be a welcome addition to Kimpton’s house bar. I recommend the Jade IPA, People’s Porter, and as the calendar permits, Sexual Chocolate (a limited winter release). Foothills is run by some of the nicest folks (as most brewers are), and it’s wonderful to see they’ve received the accolades they deserve for their delicious craft.

    More Winston highlights:
    SECCA, the South Eastern Center for Contemporary Art
    Hanes Park and surrounding neighborhoods (for runners/walkers)
    Reynolda House (amazing art deco bar, indoor pool, artwork)
    School of the Arts
    Old Salem
    Ziggy’s, the local music club (and Garage if it’s still open)

    Feel free to get in touch if you need some local guidance. I’m not far. 🙂

    • Mark Hiss Mark Hiss says:

      You’re making us thirsty, Beer Wench. And we just love your — and all the other commenters’ — enthusiasm about W-S. We can’t wait!

  20. erwin says:

    where can I go to apply or drop off my resume for the Winston Salem Kimpton Hotel

  21. Lauren says:

    Hi there. I am sooo excited about this news. I am a designer and I love what Kimpton is doing in great cities all round the country. And what a great building to revitalize!

    I am VERY interested in hosting my wedding reception in a ballroom space in April 2016. Who can I contact to speak to about this? I am dying to know more and to have someone to reach out to.

    Thanks,

    Lauren

  22. Jennifer Brannon says:

    Hi Mark! I’d love to know who to get in touch with about any plant/floral needs for this hotel. We are an event floral designs company that also handles plant design. We currently handle all floral/plant designs for Lee Industries in High Point for their 3 story showroom. I’d love to know how we can talk to someone about possible floral/plant design needs that this hotel might have for their opening and beyond.
    Would love to send some pics over!

  23. NicoleV says:

    When or has hiring for hotel staff for this project begun?

  24. Dee Priddy says:

    VERY EXCITED… now I have somewhere I could refer my “Empty Nester” client’s too when looking for Luxury rental’s in Winston-Salem. Thanks for adding the suites:)

  25. Mary says:

    When are you planning to open?
    When are you taking reservations?

    • Faith Yi Kimpton Hotels says:

      Hi Mary, we’re looking at an opening in early 2016! We’ll be sure to announce when it’s open for booking on kimptonhotels.com and social channels.

  26. Laura says:

    Hi Mark!
    We are looking at wedding reception venues for September of 2016, and we thought your property might be really interesting. I sent an email to the address you gave Lauren back in March but have not received a response yet. Are you still planning to open in early 2016? Can you put me in touch with someone who can discuss your facilities? Thanks so much in advance for your help. Laura

  27. Tamara Propst says:

    The Arts District is so excited to have another fabulous reason for the wonderful visitors who love our town to visit again! Thank You for turning a beautiful building into an inviting place many of us have not had the privilege to enjoy!

  28. Chuck J Watson says:

    Too bad this new nice hotel is right next the penitentiary. I’m sure people will love to stay in that dead as a door nail part of Downtown. So people getting out can get a hand out and hear the train all night long. It’s a great building that is now in a bad location of Downtown. I am the guest will arrive via the greyhound station less than two blocks away. Winston had a chance to build a great new library but no they made a pointless park instead. Why stay at this hotel when you could stay at Greyland and avoid a view of the police facility’s and those asking for money to buy drugs.

  29. Jan says:

    What are the chances we can get a reservation for June 16-18, 2016?

    • Faith Yi Kimpton Hotels says:

      Hi Jan! We’re hard at work to get up and running in Winston-Salem. We’re shooting for an opening in Spring 2016 and, fingers crossed, would love to be ready for you to visit in June. Keep an eye out here on our Life is Suite blog, or on social, for any updates on our opening date.

  30. Jane Cole says:

    Could I get a contact regarding scheduling an event…colejf@forsyth.cc or 336.403.8579.
    Thanks!

  31. Richard says:

    I live in Charlotte, but Winston-Salem has the best architecture in North Carolina from every century including pre-revolutionary Old Salem, to Art Deco, and the RJ Reynolds building. There is the very best of every style and time period. Who could not be dazzled by Reynolda, Graylyn, Reynolds Auditorium, and the revival period homes of the Haneses and other industrialist along Stratford Road, and Kent Roads in Reynolda park.

    The renaissance downtown lead by the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter is amazing.! Cannot wait to see the redux of the Reynolds Building interior.

  32. Perfect Pair Events says:

    Welcome! As event planners, we are delighted and tremendously excited about your exciting new location for weddings and other celebrations. We can’t wait for a tour soon!

  33. Ron says:

    We would sure like to be there for opening night and get a room . I’d like some information on how to make sure we don’t miss it .
    Thanks
    Ron Spivey
    Winston-Salem

  34. Elizabeth says:

    I am thrilled this noble building is being given this new life. It has such an iconic history and a special place in the hearts of those of us who grew up during a time when it was the only tall building in town. It gave us a warm feeling at Christmas with the red lights, later adding green. That was always part of the lighting we would drive around to see. This past Christmas, I was disappointed to drive by, and the building was completely dark. Then tonight I drove by, and saw lighting as had never been done there before. I saw a rotation through red, blue, lilac, and white, reminding me of the cheap fiber optic draped ceramic figures one buys at Wal Mart or the flea market. I really hope this is not the ultimate lighting we will be seeing from now on…how embarrassing that would be. Please tell me you are just experimenting on different lighting schemes. That on is horrible. Otherwise, welcome, and I look forward to seeing the completed project.

  35. PG says:

    I’ve heard ghost stories from employees who worked in that building before they moved everyone over in 2009 to the new building. Was there any “excitement” during the construction in the old RJR building?