Where to stay when you visit Raleigh, Durham, or Chapel Hill.

By Hannah Hayes
The Durham Hotel in Durham, NC
Durham, North CarolinaA mid-century modern shrine in primary hues, The Durham Hotel wows with its geometric design. The restaurant offers the best views of a swooping mezzanine that overlooks Cubist carpeting and chandeliers. Here, James Beard Award-winning chef Andrea Reusing serves dishes made with hyper-local ingredients. thedurham.com
| Credit: Courtesy of Spencer Lowell/The Durham Hotel

With less than a half hour separating Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill, a visit to these North Carolina cities can feel like having three trips for the effort of one. But if you want to make the most of their proximity, picking the right basecamp is key. While all these hotels and inns will give you quick access to connecting highways, they can also put you within walking distance of some of the best restaurants, museums, bars, and shops.

The Durham Hotel (Durham)

With a Piet Mondrian meets Mad Men style, The Durham Hotel's mid-century modern design doesn't put form over function. From the lobby to the rooftop bar, there are plenty of lounge-worthy spaces to put your mind in vacation-mode. And the best part: one of the city's best restaurants, The Durham, is just an elevator ride away. Order the charcuterie board for a taste of North Carolina's fields and pastures or treat yourself to the dry-aged steak with beef fat french fries.

The Umstead (Cary)

A secluded respite just outside Raleigh, The Umstead has so much going on under one roof, you might forget to leave the property. For the full experience, book a tour of the hotel's multidisciplinary art collection and ponder what you saw in the spa's meditation garden. At Herons, the on-property restaurant, local ingredients meet futuristic technique and sculptural presentation like the 62-degree egg with John Haulk grits, ham, and shrimp overlayed with gold leaf in an egg-shaped wooden vessel made from fallen trees nearby.

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21c Museum Hotel (Durham)

Loyalists to their Southern-born hotel chain will find the Malin + Goetz toiletries and jumbo penguin statues they love at their other properties, but will also enjoy more location-specific features like the building's original bank vault, now a gallery space.

The Carolina Inn (Chapel Hill)

In the middle of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill's campus, this historic hotels puts guests in prime position for everything from college events to dinner at Crook's Corner.

Unscripted Durham (Durham)

Also in downtown Durham, the city's newest hotel addition has become a warm-weather gathering spot with a rooftop cocktail bar and pool.