Boutique hotel in Charlotte, NC brings community together

In 2019, Nimisha and two co-founders of Refuge, her husband Jay and her brother Anut, set out to redefine hospitality. Their biggest challenge was scouring communities to find properties that other developers were avoiding. “We thought it was possible to go to an area close to Charlotte’s central business district,” she says. “VRBO and Airbnb have found that people like being in a local neighborhood. “

What they found in the pedestrianized Belmont neighborhood, tucked away between shops, breweries, and tattoo parlors, was a one-story building with a Mexican restaurant on one side and an empty burger restaurant on one side. other. They bought it, continued to rent to restaurateurs, and turned the burger restaurant into a hotel and cocktail bar. Hylton-Daniel focused on the interiors and contacted architect Nathan Umstead, founder of the Evening Studio in Raleigh, about the room setup.

Together, they’ve designed a destination where guests can stay and neighbors can get together. “We all saw this as a way to bring this 65-year-old building back to life, once again,” says Umstead. “The living room is the first thing you enter, then the hallway and the five bedrooms.”

One bedroom has bunk beds and is intended for families traveling together. COURTESY REFUGE HOTEL

Each original room measures well under 300 square feet, while a typical entry-level hotel room measures 300-350. One bedroom has two beds with step stools opposite the living room area and kitchenette. Another offers four queen bunk beds, four changing rooms and an additional tub. Another offers a king bed and a crib or teleconference area.

All benefit from Hylton-Daniel’s selective and vibrant touch with ceramic tiles, pendant lights, premium wallpaper and eclectic artwork, including photos of Indian women playing cricket. “Alicia was instrumental in creating it all,” Nimisha said. “It’s a hotel but an experimental space.

In fact, in two years, a new permanent hotel will see the light of day, with 100 to 130 rooms. “We’ll design with the community — it will be based on what we see in this space,” she said.

This means a hotel marked by a diverse team of owners, designers, guests and neighbors.

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