Nicknamed the "Queen City" in honor of Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, wife of Great Britain’s King George III, the city of Charlotte, N.C. — home of Bank of America — is second only to New York in terms of financial assets. And where there is wealth, there’s definitely food and fun to be had in this city that’s merely three hours from Atlanta by car. And taking a trip here is an even better idea during one of the most beautiful times of the year for drive, fall.
Check-In: The Ritz-Carlton Charlotte
If the thought of warmth and richness in an atmosphere of refreshing modern interior décor, located in the epicenter of a city’s business and entertainment district, sounds like your kind of place to stay, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Charlotte is it.
With the lower level common area’s approachably luxurious décor by day, which transforms into a jazz lounge atmosphere for the grown and sexy by night, the well-appointed guest rooms in refreshing colors with luxurious amenities (bath salts provided for daily use in the separate from the shower-oversized bathtub), iPod connections to the Bose sound systems, and heavenly bedding, it’s easy to understand how, and why, this property is "five diamond"-rated.
High above the city is a modern fitness center with most (if not all) of the equipment you’re familiar with at your gym, and a separate pool area with city views. There are even separate yoga and spinning studios to burn off the calories from Bar Cocoa in the lobby, serving decadent chocolates, pastries, and gelato. And before it’s all said and done, you’ll have to visit the full-service Spa and Wellness Center, where in addition to a luscious menu of treatments, there’s access to all the facilities that make it all worth your time, including a steam-room, sauna, and Jacuzzi.
An added advantage to being a guest at The Ritz-Carlton Charlotte is the 100,000 seasonal honeybee inhabitants of the 18th-story’s rooftop greenery. The honey produced by the bees is used for everything from sweetening coffee to the complimentary ice cream served at happy hour to signature cocktails like the Rooftop Honey Brandy Sour and fragrant, skin-enriching scrubs on the menu of spa treatments.
By the time you check in, poke around the hotel, and perhaps get in your first workout, it should be time for dinner or as it’s often referred to in the South, "supper."