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Staying at Graylyn Estate in Winston-Salem (and 7 Reasons We Love It!)

Published by Christina Riley. Last Updated on April 18, 2024.

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The historic Graylyn Estate and Conference Center in Winston-Salem is the city’s premier place to stay. Graylyn is an award-winning hotel and conference center, one of the best boutique hotels in the US.

This historic and luxurious estate is one of our top lodging choices in Winston-Salem or for a romantic and peaceful getaway. The Norman-Revival style estate boasts an air of luxury with its semicircular arches, hand-painted tiles, and 17th-century oak paneling.

Graylyn Estate drone view

The Graylyn Estate boasts beautiful and personalized rooms, top-notch service, and gorgeous views of the rolling green hills of Winston-Salem. In this article, we’ll detail why we love the Graylyn Estate and why you should visit here for your next vacation!

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Where is the Graylyn Estate?

Address: 1900 Reynolda Road, Winston-Salem, NC
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Graylyn Estate Bowman suite living room

Graylyn Estate is a collection of stunning stone buildings on a 55-acre retreat along the historic Reynolda Mile in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The historic hotel is less than a mile from the iconic Reynolda Village and just a few minutes from downtown Winston-Salem and Wake Forest University.

Graylyn Estate is also conveniently located near a few airports for easy travel, including Smith Reynolds Airport and Piedmont Triad International Airport.

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History of the Graylyn Estate

Graylyn Estate

One of our favorite things about Graylyn Estate is the exciting history that leads up to today. Here’s a quick breakdown:

  • The Graylyn has a century-long history in which it has changed ownership and undergone renovations to make it the beloved institution it is today.
  • RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company president Bowman Gray and his wife Nathalie first implemented the estate’s vision.
  • The Grays bought an 87-acre parcel of land in 1925 and began building a residence.
  • In 1932, the Grays moved into the newly-named Manor House, which, at 60 rooms, was the second-largest house in the state after Biltmore Estate in Asheville.
  • Bowman Gray died July 7th, 1935 while on vacation on a ship in the Atlantic Ocean.
  • His two sons and their families moved into Graylyn Estate after his death.
  • In 1946, Nathalie Gray and her sons gave the estate to Wake Forest University’s Bowman Gray School of Medicine. It was used as an academic and medical facility until 1972.

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  • In 1972,  when Gordan Gray learned that the hospital wanted to sell the estate, Gordon purchased Graylyn, freeing them of any obligations from the original bequest of the estate in order to then gift the estate to Wake Forest University.
  • On June 22, 1980, a fire spread through Manor House, the focal point of the estate. At the time, the Wake Forest University president announced that they would attempt efforts to restore the estate to its original glory.
  • Four years and a $6 million renovation later, Graylyn Estate reopened, this time with an international conference center.
  • Graylyn Estate has remained a family affair as Bowman Gray’s grand-nephew, Thomas Alexander, was the preservation consultant for the restoration.
Graylyn Estate card room
  • In 1987, the Graylyn joined the National Register of Historic Places, cementing its place in history.
  • Throughout the 1990s, the estate underwent expansions and renovations, adding about 39 new guest rooms and countless meeting spaces, lounges, and amenities.
  • Finally, in 2016, the estate became a member of the Historic Hotels of America, affiliated with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and was once chaired by Gordon Gray.
Graylyn Estate birds eye view

Today, the Graylyn Estate is open to guests and visitors interested in the splendor of the Gray family. The sprawling estate has many things to do, sights to see, and even more reasons to love this place!

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The Grounds at Graylyn Estate

Graylyn Estate outdoors

Before entering and finding your room, we should take a minute and focus on the absolute beauty that is the Graylyn Estate’s grounds. The 55-acre estate blends stunning stone structures, castle-like turrets, rolling gardens, and archways.

Graylyn Estate historic car

Guests to the Graylyn will be greeted with a charming English rose garden and gazebo. The stone pavilion and surrounding grounds are reminiscent of a medieval European setting, perfect for special events, weddings, or an evening walk.

Graylyn Estate pool drone

Behind the Manor House is a small pond surrounded by trees. The entire estate has an enchanting allure that promises a restful and unforgettable experience.

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The Rooms at Graylyn Estate

Graylyn Estate Mews
The Mews at Graylyn Estate

All of the lodging options at the Graylyn will make you feel like you’re living in luxury. There are 85 guest rooms spread throughout the five buildings in the estate.

Graylyn Estate oustide from ground
  • Manor House: The Manor House is the centerpiece at the Graylyn, featuring 34 guest rooms. Thirteen of these are antique guest rooms, the original bedrooms and sitting rooms of the Gray family, and decorated with the original architectural structure and design. On the third floor of the Manor House are the remaining 15 guest rooms renovated for a more modern stay.
  • The Mews: The sprawling Mews is perfect for both staying and working. There are 35 rooms and suites and massive space for meetings and conferences. Manor House and Mews are the places to stay for those looking to be in all the action.
  • Bernard Cottage: This quaint cottage was the temporary residence of the Grays while Manor House was being constructed. Bernard offers a more isolated stay with only nine rooms.
  • Gardener’s Cottage: This cottage stands guard at the entrance to the Mews building and was once the home of the estate gardener. It’s a private setting with four guest rooms and a common area.
  • Bungalows: Located in the heart of the estate, the Bungalows is a trio of private guest rooms.
Graylyn Estate Bowman suite
  • Premium Suites: Across these five structures are a variety of room types. The most exclusive type is the Premium Suite, of which there are only five. The preeminent suite is the Bowman Gray Suite in Manor House, an impressive place to stay with a four-poster king bed, fireplace, and oversized bathroom.

We’ve enjoyed a lovely recent stay in the Bowman Gray Suite at Graylyn Estate and highly recommend it!

Graylyn Estate original tile

There are also seven Estate Suites in all the buildings except for Gardener’s Cottage and 37 estate guest rooms of varying capacities.

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Food and Dining at Graylyn Estate

Staying at the Graylyn Estate promises an experience complete with world-class dining. Two on-site restaurants offer daily breakfast, lunch, and dinner and exceptional room service.

The Manor House is home to the Graylyn Estate Dining and Grille Room. Chef Mark Fortino has cultivated a sophisticated menu for these dining spaces.

Chef Fortino mastered his skills at the renowned Culinary Institute of America and gained further expertise at prestigious New York City establishments, including the Ritz-Carlton on Central Park South and Tavern on the Green.

Chef Mark’s mission is to create unforgettable dining experiences that are unforgettable. The Graylyn culinary team is dedicated to responsibly sourcing top-quality ingredients, preserving the Gray Family’s values, and crafting exceptional culinary experiences.

The Graylyn Dining is open for breakfast from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. and lunch and dinner from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.  The fine dining menu includes sautéed crab with asparagus and white truffle hollandaise.

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The Grille Room is only open for a casual dinner from 5:00 p.m. to close, tucked into a corner lit by a cozy fireplace and decorated with rustic wood furniture. Both dining options offer different yet spectacular experiences for all guests.

Finally, the in-room dining is just as outstanding as the restaurants, allowing guests to enjoy a top-notch meal without leaving their room’s comfort. Room service is available from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Graylyn Estate

The daily treats for all guests make the Graylyn stand out even more in dining. Each lodging welcomes guests with unlimited complimentary ice cream and Mrs. Gray’s signature butterscotch cookies daily.

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Conference Center

Graylyn Estate living room

As we’ve mentioned, the Graylyn also doubles as an impressive conference center for corporate events. The Graylyn offers a few different packages so that a company can plan a thoughtful team-building retreat or a cohesive conference.

There are conference spaces in three buildings—the Mews, Bernard Cottage, and Manor House–and the management house reserved for meetings. Each space is customized for different uses, with smaller breakout rooms, terrace courtyards, and themed rooms.

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Things to Do Near Graylyn Estate

One of the most appealing things about the Graylyn Estate is its proximity to most of Winston-Salem’s top attractions. As the city’s pinnacle of research and academics, Wake Forest University is one such place and just two miles from the Graylyn.

Reynolda Village

Theodores Winston Salem Reynolda Village
Theodore’s.

Less than a mile from the Graylyn is the historic Reynolda Village. You’ll explore dozens of shops, restaurants, offices, and more here.

Some of the restaurants that we recommend visiting in Reynolda Village include:

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Reynolda Gardens

Address: 100 Reynolda Vlg Wy, Winston-Salem, NC

Reynolda Gardens Winston Salem NC

Reynolda Gardens, a 134-acre expanse of gardens, trails, and woodlands, is also near Graylyn Estate. This is an excellent spot for throwing down a blanket and relaxing.

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Reynolda House Museum of American Art

Address: 2250 Reynolda Rd, Winston-Salem, NC

Reynolda House

Adjacent to the Village is the Reynolda House Museum of American Art, a historic home that displays American art from 1755 to the modern day.

Not only does it serve as a museum for incredible American Art, but guests can tour the house as it was designed and decorated by the Reynolds family in 1917.

During your tour, you’ll learn about the significance that Katharine Reynolds played in the design of the house, as well as her influence on working conditions in her husband’s factories.

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SECCA

Address: 750 Marguerite Dr, Winston-Salem, NC

Reynolda Village

The Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA) is also under a mile away from the estate and has rotating exhibits and fantastic events.

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Outdoor Activities

The Graylyn can also facilitate several activities for its guests. The nearby Yadkin and Mitchell Rivers have large populations of trout that are perfect for fly fishing. Other outdoor activities nearby include canoeing or kayaking, horseback riding, and taking wine tours.

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Ready to Stay at Graylyn Estate in Winston-Salem?

Graylyn Estate in Winston-Salem is one of our favorite places to stay in North Carolina, especially for a quick getaway. In short, Graylyn Estate promises a stay where you’ll feel like royalty.

We’ve spent so much time sharing why we love Graylyn Estate but we want to hear from you. Have you ever stayed at this wonderful place?

If so, what did you think of it? If you’ve stayed here or plan to, don’t forget to share your adventures in our North Carolina Travel Facebook Group!

More Things to Do Near Graylyn Estate (NC Travel Guides)

We’ve featured Graylyn Estate and more things to do in Winston-Salem within our NC Travel Guides collection. Here are a few of them.

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