The Newest Hotel in Winston-Salem – The Kimpton Cardinal
There’s this little building in downtown Winston-Salem known as the RJR Building. The RJR building is the former headquarters of the RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company and is one of the most distinguishable buildings in our skyline. Say what you will about tobacco but it was tobacco that built this beautiful little town that I live in. It’s been sitting vacant for years – waiting for someone to come along, scoop it up, and return it to its glory days.
That happened about 3 years ago when boutique hotel chain, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurant, bought the building and began renovating it into their newest boutique hotel property in Winston-Salem. Considering that the RJR building was the prototype for the Empire State Building (one of my favorite things to tell people), I don’t think a better company could have bought it because they’re known for embracing the unique qualities of properties and adding their own, modern flair. The Kimpton Cardinal is no exception.
I had the opportunity to do a hard-hat tour of the facilities 2 months ago with Tim Beeman as we were considering using the hotel for ConvergeSouth – a tech and creativity conference that I oversee. When we arrived, there was a ton of action happening and scaffolding and dust was everywhere. But as we walked thru, we could see the promise of what was going to be a spectacular, shining jewel for Winston. I mean… they have a rec room to play in – complete with a half-court basketball court and a bowling alley!! How’s that for a guaranteed good time?? As it turns out, we chose the Kimpton Cardinal as our official host hotel for the conference AND they’re our VIP Party sponsors!! Now you KNOW how impressed I was and it wasn’t even open!!
Southern Hospitality with a Mischievous Wink
LOVE that tagline, y’all!!! It doesn’t just suit yours truly’s personality but fits the Kimpton Cardinal to a T!! The amount of details that Kimpton puts into their properties is staggering. You’ll find little “easter eggs” all throughout the property that if you’re not careful, you’ll miss. Just take a close look at one of the throw pillows that uses a fabric created exclusively for the Kimpton Cardinal:
How fun is that?!
The hotel has a collection of 174 guest rooms and 36 suites that combine elegance with spunk – every room has yoga mats in there so you can get your relaxed state on before your meeting, event or just a night out on the town. They are definitely going to be very busy, which is why one would hope they use some form of hotel pms. There is 6,375 square feet of lush contemporary meeting space as well as two dazzling ballrooms. Remember how I said they stay true to the history of the properties? They even turned the former “super secret” executive board room that RJR used to use to meet in and make their biggest decisions. Rumor has it that less than 10 people EVER were in that room. What did Kimpton do with that room?
It’s still a board room but this time, the board table is a poker table and open to outsiders to make their own big decisions… or a little card game between friends 😉
The Katharine Brasserie & Bar
Looking for dinner out with your date, friends, or business associates? Head downstairs or downtown and have dinner at The Katharine! My first foray into the Kimpton Cardinal after it officially opened was to have dinner with the Bestie and it was divine!! Hate to break it to you but I didn’t take a ton of food shots, I leave all that to my foodie blogger friends while I just enjoy the atmosphere, food, and good friendship.
Their specialty cocktail list is impressive… we tried the Pim cocktail which has a much fancier name that but I forgot to snap a shot of the list… told you – I like to enjoy, not document everything!!
It was an epicurean dream with a friendly, professional, and attentive staff who knows their stuff. I guarantee that I will be back. Check out their menu and see for yourself… then get yourself down there stat!!
Grand Opening for a Grand Hotel
So to cap off all this fun, last night was the official Grand Opening party for the Kimpton Cardinal – black tie (optional) and all!! Now, I don’t usually get into the whole formal attire thing, but I figured – why not?! How often do I actually get to get that gussied up??
I expected them to pull out all the stops for this event and they surely did not disappoint! From valet parking upon arrival to the lobby bar being base camp to get your first cocktail and tasty treats and a passport that led you thru the hotel. Collect all the stamps and your reward COULD be a two-day stay at one of their other properties! You know that I got that baby filled out.. now I’m just waiting to hear when I leave, because you know they’ll pick me 😉
Moving thru the different areas of the hotel, if I thought I was smitten when I did the hard-hat tour with Tim, I am flat-out head over heels in love now. The rooms are immaculate and I can NOT wait to stay there for a little staycation… of course, I may not leave…
And, uhm…. that tub? Yeah. Mama’s not going home. Sorry. Not sorry.
Spending the evening with local friends enjoying The Kimpton Cardinal was spectacular… Including this cocktail that blew even my mind.. again don’t ask me what it was but it was a whiskey based creation… just look at my expression as I took my first sip….
Plus, I love seeing all my friends all dressed up, painting the town red! Really… is there anything better than that?
That’s me and the awesome Nikki Miller-Ka… you may know her as NikSnacks – Winston’s (in my opinion – anywhere!) best damn food blogger and a dear, dear friend.
And check out those power stances that Body Language Expert Blanca Cobb and I struck in front of that big, beautiful C in the lobby!! I’m sure everyone heard the two of us coming around every corner we were at.. we made sure to keep Kimpton Cardinal’s tagline – Southern Hospitality with a Mischievous Wink alive and well…