By Leah Hughes
Revel in a weekend of luxury, romance and indulgence with your loved one. These regal Queen City accommodations, amenities and excursions encourage you to celebrate your relationship and spend quality time together as a coupleâwithout the hassle of travel.
The Bed-and-Breakfast Escape
Stay: Located in the prestigious Dilworth neighborhood, The Morehead Inn, constructed in 1917, is an elegant, historic destination. Each guest room is adorned with period furnishings, luxurious linens, cozy bathrobes and specialty bath products. The customizable romance package includes chocolate-dipped strawberries, fresh flowers and Champagne. A bountiful Southern breakfast for two is served each morning.
Dine: Inside the 1913 Lucas House, The Fig Tree Restaurant makes for an intimate dining experience that is high end yet comfortable. Wine Spectator magazine repeatedly recognizes the wine list with its Award of Excellence. Chef Greg Zanitschâs acclaimed menu changes with the seasons, but the elk chop is a perennial favorite. And the desserts are as creative as they are delicious.
Play: Step inside Re Salon and Med Spa to escape from any stress or tension. Whether you spend an hour getting a massage or book a full-day spa treatment, youâll leave feeling better than when you arrived. Prepare for a glamorous evening out with a visit to the in-house makeup artists or Blow Out Bar.
Indulge: Select a glass of something bubbly at Dilworthâs Foxcroft Wine Co. The vino havenâs small plates and shareable dishes pair well with the carefully curated list of wines and craft beers. Another cozy wine bar on Selwyn Avenue, Petit Philippe specializes in select pours and fine chocolate. Each chocolate creation is handmade in-house and is a true work of art. For brunch or an afternoon snack, visit Nova's Bakery on Dilworthâs northern edge for a cup of coffee, a croissant, a slice of pie or all three.
The Historic Hideaway
Stay: In the heart of Uptown Charlotte, The Dunhill Hotel anchors the corner of Tryon and Sixth streets. The 10-story hotel was constructed in 1929 and is a member of the National Trust Historic Hotels of America. The Dunhillâs 60 well-appointed rooms reflect the grandeur and style of the Roaring â20s. Special amenities include fresh-baked cookies each evening and nightly turndown service with chocolates. The stately lobby bar serves creative cocktails and Southern bar bites from the neighboring restaurant, The Asbury.
Dine: Stroll three blocks down the street to Charlotteâs Fourth Ward neighborhood for dinner at McNinch House Restaurant. Located in a purple Queen Anne-style Victorian home dating back to 1892, McNinch House boasts the reputation of one of Charlotteâs most romantic restaurants. Dark woods and elegant decor are the backdrop for a gourmet dinner. Each course is plated with flair on fine china. Reservations are required; the restaurant offers a limited number of scheduled seatings each evening.
Play: Climb aboard your chariot in the middle of Uptown through Charlotte Center City Carriage Tours. The horses clip-clop through the streets as you admire Queen City landmarks. Choose the 40-minute historical tour to learn as you ride or select the romance carriage package for a more private experience. Also, take in a show. Theatre Charlotte, the cherished community theater in nearby Myers Park, presents the Pulitzer Prize-winning comedy âCrimes of the Heartâ through Feb. 5. And Blumenthal Performing Arts delivers huge laughs with the Off-Broadway hit comedy âMen are from Mars Women are from Venusâ Feb. 10-11 at Booth Playhouse.
Indulge: The newest location of beloved AmĂ©lieâs French Bakery in Uptown covers 11,000 square feet with its quirky decor. Walk by and youâll see chefs turning out creative confections through the street-level window that provides a not-so-distant glimpse into the kitchen. Splurge on locally roasted coffee, salted caramel brownies and multihued macarons. A few blocks over, The Cellar at Duckworthâs achieves a speakeasy vibe in its location beneath the popular Uptown sports bar. The exposed brick and low lighting create a dreamy space for pre-show cocktails or a nightcap.
The Lakefront Lair
Stay: For a lakeside escape, head north of the city to Lake Norman and rent a home through VRBO or Airbnb. Enjoy the privacy that an individual home provides. Many houses feature personal decks and docks that call for leisurely mornings watching boats go by or whiling away the afternoon with drinks in hand. Select from romantic amenities like Jacuzzis and fireplaces.
Dine: Fork! in Cornelius serves locally sourced small plates that highlight seasonal ingredients. Chef Tim Groody has worked hard to develop relationships with local farmers and suppliers. Winter menus feature cold-season staples such as braised meats, rich stews, root vegetables, winter squash and flavorful greens.
Play: Venture out on the calm of the water with Queens Landing Sightseeing & Dinner Cruises. Take a two-hour tour on the Mississippi riverboat, the Catawba Queen. For dinner, opt for a buffet-style cruise aboard the Catawba Queen or a four-course meal on the Lady of the Lake yacht. Optional additions to make your meal even more special include a bottle of Champagne, private seating, chocolate-covered strawberries and more.
Indulge: Tucked into a tranquil cove on the eastern shore of Lake Norman, North Harbor Club is the spot for drinks and dessert. Order a bold red wine and pair it with something chocolate. Or choose a specialty cocktail and sip it alongside a creme brulee or bread pudding. A treat from nearby Davidson Chocolate Co. makes a delicious takeaway for the ride home. All of the chocolates are handmade in small batches, and the to-die-for assorted truffles look like edible jewels.
The Peaceful Retreat
Stay: About 15 miles south of Center City, The Ballantyne Hotel & Lodge exudes luxury. The hotel holds more than 200 plush guest rooms with features that span 10-foot ceilings, soaring windows, deluxe bedding, marble baths, soft robes and slippers. The romantic turndown service includes rose petals, flickering candles, a long-stemmed rose and soft music.
Dine: The Ballantyne offers on-site dining at Gallery Restaurant. A contemporary American menu is served in a sleek dining room decked in vibrant art from Charlotte-based Shain Gallery. Donât miss the well-known and easily devoured NC Local Burger at lunch. The towering burger is served on focaccia with a hen egg prepared sunny side up and white cheddar soaked in local craft beer from The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery.
Play: Make an appointment at The Spa at Ballantyne for a relaxing escape. First-class facilities include an indoor pool, whirlpool, fitness equipment, eucalyptus steam room and sauna, lounge and spa dining. Winter spa exclusives tout cold-weather comforts such as a butter brulee wrap, cinnamon massage, rosemary-mint aromatherapy, cranberry masque and Champagne. Book the Couples Retreat day spa package for customized 50-minute massages and pedicures for two.
Indulge: The staff at The Secret Chocolatier views confections as more than a combination of cocoa and sugar; they see them as an experience. Treat yourself to tastes that trigger fond memories or create new ones as you share the handcrafted sweets with someone you love. For dessert that transcends Charlotte and transports you to the Italian countryside, step into Aroojiâs Wine Room. Here, under Tuscan ambience, enjoy an Italian red and a piece of tiramisu or a cannoli in the cozy cafe.
This article ran in the 2017 February issue of Charlotte Happenings magazine.