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Boutique Hotels Check Into Triangle

Posted March 15, 2007

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— Smaller boutique hotels are bringing the extra amenities and premium prices to the Triangle.

The Franklin Hotel, in Chapel Hill, has 67 guest rooms and outfits them with what managers call "plush power," from fresh flowers at every turn to flat-panel televisions, spacious showers and private balconies overlooking Franklin Street.

"It's more of an intimate-size hotel focusing on the details and personal service," director of sales and marketing Melissa Crane said.

Boutique hotels are about an urban experience, Crane said, noting guests can take advantage of "all the fabulous restaurants, shops and boutiques" in downtown Chapel Hill.

Although boutique hotels are typically found in large metro areas, Chapel Hill has two -- The Siena Hotel is the other -- and Durham has two in the works.

The historic Hill building, which formerly housed the headquarters of Central Carolina Bank, will be home to one of Durham's unique hotels, and Hotel Indigo will be located on Miami Boulevard near Research Triangle Park.

The downtown boutique hotel, which is expected to open in 2009, will have a spa-like feel to it, developers said. Hotel Indigo, set to break ground next month, is designed to have a funky, quirky kind of environment.

Some believe Durham's gritty and progressive atmosphere is a perfect draw for the luxury lodgings.

"You'll see a synergy develop where there will be one or two more pop out of the ground," said Reyn Bowman, president of the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau. "This indicates people in the leading edge of lodging have their eyes on us."

Raleigh also has a boutique hotel in the planning stages. The Lafayette is set to open in 2009 near the new downtown convention center.


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