BEAUFORT — Visitors to the Crystal Coast can choose to stay and eat at a new hotel and restaurant that offer water views and other amenities in Beaufort.
The Beaufort Hotel, at 2440 Lennoxville Road, is an Ascend Hotel Collection member owned by local developers Bucky and Wendi Oliver and managed by Concord Hospitality. The Olivers recently sold the Boathouse at Front Street Village, next to the new hotel, to Florida-based Southern Marinas.
The new hotel held a soft opening in April, followed by a full opening later in the summer, including the restaurant. Digital marketing manager David Cartier said the hotel accelerated opening plans somewhat because there was a lack of accommodations in the county following last year’s Hurricane Florence, which caused severe damage to numerous hotels.
“What was kind of unique for us – and I’ve opened several hotels in the past – you don’t normally open in two phases,” he said recently. “We opened our rooms April 17; there was a little pressure to try to open early because there was a lack of guest rooms in Carteret County.”
The hotel has amenities, such as a pool that is open on weekends during the warm months, a 24-hour fitness center, laundry room and other features.
General Manager Peter Grills said the hotel has stayed consistently busy since opening, often selling out, especially on weekends and for holidays and events. Even as the tourism season comes to an end, he said the hotel is near capacity.
“This time of year it gets slower, but this is all new for us. We weren’t open this time last year, so we’re discovering how business is and where it is,” he said. “Overall it seems to be going really well.”
Mr. Cartier said the hotel sees a mix of visitors, including families, couples and business travelers. The hotel frequently hosts business groups that take advantage of the meeting rooms.
“I think it’ll change by season. We’re getting a lot of vacationers right now, but it’s been interesting because no one knows we’re here,” he said. “We’re getting lots of couples. In the summer on weekends there are a lot of kids. This time of year, there’s more single business travelers, government groups. So we get a real mix.”
The hotel has 129 rooms and four suites, along with numerous meeting rooms and space for events. The top floor also features a large ballroom that can be sectioned off into smaller meeting rooms, if necessary.
Mr. Cartier said one point of pride for the business is it utilizes clean technology and encourages good environmental practices.
“We’re big into recycling, there’s recycling in all the rooms. We, out of all the hotels that are part of the North Carolina Green Initiative, we’ve gotten the highest score,” he said. “There’s green technologies, our products are environmentally-friendly … just everything that we’ve tried to do is along those lines.”
The hotel has a nautical theme, with light fixtures encased in rope, and paintings that depict boat-filled harbors. Some of the rooms have views overlooking Taylor’s Creek and the Rachel Carson Reserve, where guests can sometimes spot wild horses and dolphins.
To help welcome visitors to the area, the hotel features a different attraction every week for guests who check out the TVs in their rooms.
Guests also have access to an online hub with information not only about the hotel, but local events happening in the area and activities they can check out, such as Fort Macon State Park or the N.C. Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores. Mr. Cartier said the hotel is especially excited about getting to use technology to connect visitors and offer them the best possible experience.
One challenge the hotel faced was finding enough employees to staff the hotel. With near-record low unemployment numbers, many businesses have had trouble finding workers recently, but Mr. Cartier said they offer competitive pay and attractive benefits to try to draw people to work for the hotel. They held a job fair earlier in the year and hired mostly local workers, but some upper management came from out-of-town.
Connected to the hotel is a full-service restaurant called 34º North, which is open to guests and the public and seats 150 people. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, along with brunch on the weekends. The bar stays open late and serves snacks all night for those who want a nighttime bite.
The menu features favorites such as steaks, crab cakes and locally sourced seafood, but there are also some creative takes on old classics, like the BLT. Mr. Cartier said the restaurant gets most of its ingredients from local growers and the menu will change seasonally based on what is available.
“We have a new fall menu coming out Oct. 1,” he said. “We pride ourselves on our ingredients, which are locally sourced.”
For more information about 34º North Restaurant, visit their website at
Now that peak tourism season is over and things are starting to slow down at the hotel and restaurant, Mr. Cartier has had time to reflect on how things have gone, so far. He said the first summer was an apparent success, and he hopes the Beaufort Hotel helps boost local tourism far into the future.
“It’s nice from a tourism standpoint because we’ve got 130 rooms of people, say for three nights, they’re out using the area,” he said. “That wouldn’t have happened last year. It’s exciting.”
Contact Elise Clouser at firstname.lastname@example.org; by phone at 252-726-7081 ext. 229; or follow on Twitter @eliseccnt.