Published by Carl Hedinger. Last Updated on February 25, 2024.
While exploring North Carolina, we’ve encountered many lovely hotels and lodges, including some luxury resorts off the beaten path. Our guide features an impressive selection of luxury resorts in North Carolina from the mountains to the sea.
Our experiences have always been incredible, and we’d love to share these places with you for your next trip! We start with luxury resorts in the North Carolina mountains near Asheville before moving on to some beach resorts.
Finally, we share some of our favorite getaways and the most luxurious resorts in North Carolina’s cities and nearby. Keep reading; we guarantee you’ll be inspired to try at least one of these beautiful places to stay.
Read More: The North Carolina Bucket List Book
The Best Mountain Resorts in NC
We begin this guide with the best NC mountain resorts in Asheville and nearby.
Cataloochee Ski Area
Address: 1080 Ski Lodge Road, Maggie Valley, NC
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Cataloochee Ski Area is North Carolina’s first established ski resort, offering opportunities for snow tubing, skiing, and snowboarding since 1961. It’s the perfect destination for families and beginners to ski.
The 18 slopes span 50 acres and are divided into eight beginner, seven intermediate, and three advanced trails.
Cataloochee partners with over fifteen lodges in nearby Maggie Valley and Waynesville to provide a pleasant skiing experience. When staying at participating hotels from Sunday through Thursday, visitors receive one free slope pass for a child 3-17 years old for every adult slope pass purchased.
The resort also periodically offers deals like this, so keep monitoring the website!
Kids will love playing at Tube World and Wee Bowl Snowplay Area or joining a class at The Cataloochee Snow School, including an adaptive ski program for adults and children.
The Cataloochee Ski Area is unique in that it has the NASTAR and Recreational Racing program, a public racing program comprised of racers of all ages and abilities.
Address: 185 Chetola Lake Drive, Blowing Rock, NC
In Cherokee, Chetola means “haven of rest.” Chetola Resort in Blowing Rock lives up to that name in every way possible. At Chetola Resort, you can relax in your cozy room or venture out to the lake of the same name and explore the grounds.
We love staying here because there are endless possibilities for things for the whole family to do.
Guests have three options when booking a stay at Chetola Resort:
- The Chetola Lodge: The focal point of the resort, the Lodge is a happening space. There are 42 newly renovated rooms with balconies, soaking tubs, and luxury showers. Pets are even allowed a place here, making it perfect for a family outing.
- The Bob Timberlake Inn: On the flip side, the Bob Timberlake Inn has eight adults-only rooms. The Inn is named for distinguished artist Bob Timberlake and offers a 24-hour pantry stocked with Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, coffee, tea, and homemade chocolate chip cookies.
- Chetola Premier Condominiums: For a more private lodging option, the resort has 75 condominiums for rent. The one- to four-bedroom luxury condos are scattered throughout the property and perfect for large families or groups.
One of our favorite restaurants in Blowing Rock is Chetola’s Timberlake Restaurant. It’s a must-try for guests and passersby alike. We love grabbing breakfast here as the kids’ menu is just as exquisite as the regular menu, and the kitchen offers take-home family meals for those in the condos.
Beyond world-class lodging and dining, Chetola has many relaxing activities, including the spa, pool and jacuzzi, and the 8-acre lake. Chetola Lake is famous for fly fishing, and the resort hosts casting clinics for kids and adults to try this sport.
Finally, we also appreciate the nearby hiking trails, which offer gorgeous views of the mountains. If you’re in the High Country, we recommend stopping by Chetola Resort.
The Greystone Inn
Address: 220 Greystone Lane, Lake Toxaway, NC 28747
Perched on the shores of Lake Toxaway, one of our favorite lakes in the state, is the Greystone Inn. Greystone was established in 1915 by constructing the Mansion, a homey lodge with thirty customized guest rooms. It’s since grown to include lakeside cottages and suites, as well as several other amenities.
Greystone boasts some of the best dining views, with The Restaurant at Greystone featuring floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Lake Toxaway and the mountains. The Mansion Bar is perfect for quick bites and drinks in the backdrop of the lake.
Greystone Inn is one of the best luxury resorts in the state because of its unfettered access to the largest private lake in North Carolina, Lake Toxaway. Guests can get on the water via paddle boards, kayaks, canoes, water skiing, and more. Guests can rent equipment from Greystone and partake in the resort’s exclusive sunset boat tours.
Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort
Address: 777 Casino Dr, Cherokee, NC
Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort was the state’s first casino and one of the best getaways in the beautiful Smoky Mountains. While the casino may be a major touchpoint of the resort, it’s still suitable for kids and families.
Harrah’s boasts an enormous space for guests, with 1,800 pet-friendly rooms spread out through a few different towers. Each room can be customized to your needs and you’ll enjoy expansive views of Cherokee and the Great Smoky Mountains.
- Creek Tower, Soco Tower, and Mountain Tower are on the Resort Hotel side of the property.
- The Rotunda is the center of Harrah’s. Here, you’ll find restaurants, the Event Center, and more.
- The Cherokee Convention Center and Hotel is the newest section of the resort.
Beyond the Casino, there are quite a few family-friendly things to do, including an Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center with bowling lanes and arcade games, indoor and outdoor pools, and lots of shopping opportunities.
Harrah’s also has a claim to fame via its restaurant, Guy Fieri’s Cherokee Kitchen + Bar, in Cherokee Tower. The Food Network star has curated a delicious luxury menu for guests.
The NC mountain resort has added a Gordon Ramsey restaurant, creating a star lineup of chefs.
The Inn on Biltmore
Address: 1 Antler Hill Rd, Asheville, NC
Biltmore Estate is one of the most famous attractions in Asheville and perhaps all of Western North Carolina and for good reason! The 8,000-acre estate is “America’s Largest Home,” built by George Washington Vanderbilt in 1895.
In addition to being a gorgeous mansion and tourist attraction, the Biltmore Inn is an on-site resort for guests to stay at while exploring the estate.
The Inn on Biltmore Estate cultivates an experience that will make you feel like a Vanderbilt yourself! The Inn’s luxury suites are each named after a friend or relative of George Vanderbilt’s and are furnished with gorgeous upholstery and decor.
Inn guests can dine at the Dining Room, the Biltmore’s upscale restaurant that has been awarded four stars from Forbes every year since it opened in 2001. Customers will be greeted with world-class service, fine china and crystal, and sweeping views.
Visiting the Biltmore has always been one of our favorite things to do in Asheville, but a stay at the Inn on Biltmore truly elevates the experience.
Old Edwards Inn and Spa
Address: 445 Main St, Highlands, NC
The European-style Old Edwards Inn and Spa sits in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Highlands is a mountain town known for the spectacular waterfalls surrounding it, but downtown Highlands, where Old Edwards is located, is equally beautiful!
Old Edwards is a sprawling resort in Highlands downtown, stretching over three blocks. There are five lodgings to choose from:
- The Historic Inn
- Hickory cottage
- The secluded Lodge
- Falls cottages
- One of the five residences.
Each housing option offers amenities and atmosphere, from a downtown vibe to a more isolated mountain experience.
As if there wasn’t enough going on at Old Edwards, the resort also offers 10 options for dining! Madison’s Restaurant is the crown jewel of Highlands’ restaurant scene, but Old Edwards’ guests can enjoy a wood-fired pizza from Four65, a light lunch at the Wine Garden, and snacks at the numerous pool cabanas, among other options.
The Old Edwards community also includes a mountainous golf course, pools, tennis courts, a fitness center, and shopping opportunities.
Old Edwards is one of our favorite luxury resorts in North Carolina because of how conveniently everything is laid out for its guests and its beautiful surroundings in the Highlands.
The Omni Grove Park Inn
Address: 290 Macon Avenue, Asheville, NC
The Omni Grove Park Inn is a luxury resort in Asheville atop Sunset Mountain. The historic building is just ten minutes from the downtown center and features gorgeous views of the Blue Ridge Mountains from about every angle.
Over the years, The Omni Grove Park Inn has welcomed a dignified clientele, including ten US presidents and big names such as Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, and author F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Many of the hallways inside the hotel feature portraits of these famous people. That alone should speak to the elegance of this Asheville hotel!
The Omni Grove Park Inn has a storied history; it first opened as a hotel in 1913 and featured 156 guest rooms and a dining room. Eventually, the inn declared bankruptcy, after which the federal government leased the building as a center for families under arrest in World War II.
The following decades saw the inn change ownership multiple times until it was finally bought by luxury chain Omni Hotels.
Today, the Omni Grove Park Inn is a sprawling historic resort with 513 guest rooms spread across three wings and featuring mountain views. Guests also have the option to dine at one of the resort’s seven dining spots, including a few full-service restaurants and two outdoor terraces with drinks and great views.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a luxury resort without a spa! The Omni Grove Park Inn Spa is a massive 43,000-square-foot subterranean spa offering multiple services. We recommend booking a service in advance as there is high demand.
Other amenities at Omni Grove include a golf course, a sports complex, and onsite shopping options. The Omni Grove Park Inn is an all-inclusive resort perfect for a mountain retreat.
Read More: 30+ Great Things to Do in Downtown Asheville
Address: 2300 Swag Rd, Waynesville, NC
For a luxury stay in one of the most gorgeous mountain settings in the state, The Swag does not disappoint! Waynesville is in Haywood County, the highest county east of the Mississippi, with the Swag also situated on a summit about a mile above sea level.
The 250-acre mountaintop retreat overlooks the Great Smoky Mountains and is surrounded by epic beauty.
The Swag House initially operated as a humble potato farm before the Matthews family bought it as their private getaway in the 1970s. In 1982, the World’s Fair was hosted in Knoxville, TN, just across the border, and the Matthews were asked to open the Swag for fair guests.
The stunning beauty of the Swag was enough for those initial guests to inquire about booking a stay for next year, and so the hotel was born.
In 2018, the Matthews sold the Swag to the Colquitt family, long-time friends of the Matthews. The property has now grown to include the original Swag House, the Chestnut Lodge, three cabins for guests, and a spa, wine cellar, and outdoor dining porch.
The Swag became a French Relais & Châteaux member in 2020, joining the ranks of other NC resorts like the Fearrington.
The Swag is an all-inclusive mountain experience, offering access to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and all its hiking trails and views. The resort also hosts outdoor yoga, horseback riding outings, lawn game tournaments, game nights, and much more.
Staying at the Swag will cover everything you need for a peaceful mountainous vacation.
Beach Resorts In North Carolina
After some truly luxurious resorts in North Carolina’s mountains, we now turn our attention to coastal getaways.
Address: 275 Waynick Blvd, Wrightsville Beach, NC
We haven’t mentioned an oceanside luxury resort in NC yet on this list, but the Blockade Runner Beach Resort is the perfect one to start with.
This beach resort near Wilmington has welcomed visitors to Wrightsville Beach for nearly 60 years, but the site has served as a haven for hospitality for over a century.
The property has had many names, from the Seashore Hotel in the early 1900s to the Ocean Terrace Hotel to the current Blockade Runner brand.
Blockade Runner Resort opened in 1964 after the then-mayor of Wrightsville Beach brokered a deal to build a large hotel and revitalize the tourist industry. The name comes from the blockade runner ships, which were English steamers painted lead gray to keep them hidden at night while running near the shore.
Just a mile from the shore in front of the resort sits blockade runner “Emily.”
At this beach resort, guests can choose from the 150 waterfront rooms, a 26-person cottage, or a smaller private garden apartment. The luxury rooms are decorated in white and blue hues to replicate a beach environment.
Adding to the relaxing setting are the garden-esque dining rooms with ocean views. Enjoy fresh and local breakfast, lunch, and dinner with a gorgeous view.
Guests at Blockade Runner can partake in several on-site beachside activities. Wrightsville Beach has long been one of the top surfing towns in NC, and Blockade Runner has surfing experts on hand for those looking to try it out.
Guests can also access a private photographer for sunset photoshoots, yoga classes, and kids’ programming. Blockade Runner is a beautiful hotel overlooking the channel and offers a secluded stay in a busy town.
The Sanderling Resort
Address: 1461 Duck Rd, Duck, NC
The Sanderling has three choices for rooms:
- 1-2 person occupancy rooms with a modern feel and private balcony
- 2-4 occupancy suites with complimentary valet service
- Onsite vacation homes that fit up to 16 people, offering the best beach rental and resort amenities.
Our favorite part of staying at the Sanderling is the unique opportunity to witness a sunrise over the ocean and a sunset over the sound all from the hotel!
Additionally, while no beach in North Carolina is technically “private,” there is no public parking at this stretch of beach, essentially granting guests their own private beach access. The resort pools are perfect for families as every part of the pool is optimized for family fun and safety.
Part of what makes the Sanderling such a great beach getaway is that there’s no need to go anywhere besides the beach and hotel since there are two full restaurants inside the resort. Breakfast and lunch at the Lifesaving Station is a casual affair, while Kimball’s Kitchen has a luxurious air.
But, if you are looking for adventure, the Sanderling prides itself on providing full itineraries to its guests, complete with activities like dolphin tours, deep sea fishing charters, wine-tasting tours, and so much more!
More Luxury Resorts in NC (near Charlotte, Raleigh, and Greensboro)
Those beach resorts and luxury resorts near Asheville will take you far away from it all. However, there are some amazing getaways in and near our biggest cities.
Address: 10000 Ballantyne Commons Parkway, Charlotte, NC
The Ballantyne in south Charlotte is the perfect getaway from the bustle of the metropolitan area. The resort is 18 miles south of downtown, striking the perfect balance between urban and rural. Other nearby attractions include the SouthPark shopping complex and Whitewater Center outdoor recreation.
The Ballantyne has 208 suites and rooms, all featuring ten-foot ceilings and picture windows, and balconies for select suites and living areas. Guests can sample exceptional Southern and new American cuisine at the Gallery Restaurant, which also boasts one of the largest whiskey collections in the Carolinas.
Come to the Ballantyne to feel pampered at the spa, enjoy a drink by the pool, and bike through the grounds with a complimentary bike rental. A stay here will leave you feeling refreshed and renewed.
Address: 2000 Fearrington Village Center, Pittsboro, NC
The Fearrington House is an inn, restaurant, and spa that boasts an impressive membership with Relais & Châteaux. French-owned and operated, Relais & Châteaux is a worldwide association of independent luxury inns and restaurants.
As a member of this association, the Fearrington House has proved its luxuriousness in our eyes!
The Fearrington House is a Central NC getaway just south of Chapel Hill. It was founded by RB and Jenny Fitch, a couple who sought Relais & Châteaux affiliation for the existing Fearrington House Restaurant.
Since membership was only granted to inn and restaurant pairings, the Fitches built the Inn in 1986.
Staying at the Fearrington is a lavish affair. The rooms are bright and airy with upscale furnishings, with select suites equipped with fireplaces, sitting areas, jetted tubs, and even private gardens.
Speaking of gardens, the outdoor scenery may be our favorite aspect of this resort.
The Fearrington grounds are gorgeous, with 60 garden beds connected by brick pathways, fountains, and sculptures, a vegetable and herb garden used by the Restaurant, and a farm with rolling pastures and adorable animals.
The other half of the Fearrington Relais & Châteaux membership is the Restaurant. For over 40 years, the Fearrington House Restaurant has been offering fine dining to guests and Triangle visitors.
Dining here is quite an experience, as you can indulge in a four-course meal or choose from seasonal menus and delicious desserts.
Finally, guests of the Fearrington can also relax at the Spa or enjoy the other shops and boutiques in the surrounding Fearrington Village. If you’re located in the Triangle area or are visiting Chapel Hill, a stay here will transform your life!
Grandover Resort & Spa
Address: 1000 Club Road, Greensboro, NC
The Grandover Resort is a towering building located on gorgeous grounds in the heart of Greensboro. The drive to the parking lot winds through acres of manicured lawn, a lazy river, and stylish bridges.
Entering this resort feels like being transported to another world.
The Grandover’s 244 rooms are newly renovated, featuring coffee makers, smart TVs, rainfall showers, and more. The signature DiValletta Restaurant is a favorite, serving traditional Southern food with an elegant twist.
The resort is also home to the casual Cafe Expresso and two cocktail bars, 1808 and 19&Timber.
The crown jewel of the Grandover are the two sprawling 18-hole championship golf courses. Hotel guests receive priority tee time, but the golf courses are also open for public use.
Beyond golfing, guests can enjoy the resort spa, an indoor and outdoor pool, tennis courts, and on-site hiking and biking trails. The Grandover is genuinely one of the state’s most relaxing and luxurious resorts.
Read More: 25+ Best Restaurants in Greensboro
Address: 1900 Reynolda Rd, Winston-Salem, NC
Graylyn Estate is arguably one of Winston-Salem’s most luxurious places to stay. The former home of one-time RJ Reynolds chairman and his wife features 85 unique guestrooms on a vast and beautiful 55-acre estate.
Each room is uniquely decorated, so one’s experience differs upon each visit.
Book a night or more in the French cottage-inspired Mews if you’re seeking romantic getaways. This is where you’ll find one of Graylyn’s five premium suites throughout the estate.
If you seek luxury, the Graylyn Estate is where you want to lay your head. Formerly the home of one-time RJ Reynolds chairman Bowman Gray and his wife Nathalie, Graylyn was built in 1925 and originally sat on 87 acres as part of the Reynolds Plantation.
The Norman Revival-style hotel now features 85 unique guestrooms on its vast and beautiful 55-acre estate. Each room is uniquely decorated so one’s experience differs upon each visit.
Great Wolf Lodge
Address: 10175 Weddington Road, Concord NC
On a list of luxury resorts, we couldn’t exclude the most well-known chain resort of them all! Great Wolf Lodge opened its first southeastern location in Concord, NC, just outside of Charlotte, and has quickly become a staple in the city’s hotel scene.
Great Wolf Lodge is a themed indoor and outdoor waterpark perfect for families to stay and play. If you’re staying at the Lodge, there are many themed rooms, such as camping decor or wood cabin.
We stayed in the Wolf Den Suite during our visit, which included an in-suite cave-themed sleeping area. Water park passes are included in your room stay.
The number one reason we love this resort is its waterpark, which consists of 11 water slides, four pools, and a treehouse. The air inside the waterpark is kept at a nice 84 degrees year-round, perfect for swimming in the pools even in the winter.
If you’ve had your fill of waterpark fun, the Lodge also has land activities like laser tag, bowling, and scavenger hunts for the kids. The Great Wolf Lodge is probably our favorite resort for family fun!
Address: 80 Carolina Vista, Pinehurst, NC
Golf meets classic Southern charm at Pinehurst Resort!
Pinehurst in Central NC is known as the “Home of American Golf,” the resort has hosted its fair share of prestigious golf tournaments, including the U.S. Open Championships, U.S. Women’s Open, PGA Championship, and the Ryder Cup.
If you’re an avid golfer, a fan of the sport, or just passing through the area, Pinehurst Resort is a guaranteed good time. The resort is a collection of three historic hotels, restaurants, and golf courses.
The three main lodging options are the Carolina Hotel, the Manor, and the Holly, with sporadic villas and condos throughout for maximum occupancy.
- The Carolina Hotel: This 230-room building is known as the “Queen of the South.” It’s been attracting guests for over a century with promises of the best breakfast in golf, a new in-house coffee house, a heated pool complex, and a putting green.
- The Manor: 2023 marks the 100th anniversary of the Manor’s opening. While it’s smaller than the Carolina, it has a contemporary feel and offers rooms and suites for groups of up to 20.
- The Holly: The Holly was Pinehurst’s very first hotel, welcoming guests since 1895. It’s located in the center of the resort with easy access to external dining, golf courses, and shopping.
Of course, the main selling point of Pinehurst Resort is the ample opportunity for golfing. However, there’s just as much to do off the course as on!
Nearby amenities include the Spa, Pinehurst Brewing Company, a private 200-acre lake, and much more. Pinehurst Resort is a gorgeous village that promises great golfing with Southern hospitality.
The Umstead Hotel and Spa
Address: 100 Woodland Pond Dr, Cary, NC
Also nearby is the aptly named Umstead State Park, a 6,000-acre forest just a few minutes down the road. This resort is the perfect place for an escape from city life.
Guests have their pick of ten different suite styles, including lakefront rooms with balconies, spa-level suites, and the sprawling presidential suite located on the top floor. Each room has amenities such as a Nespresso machine, marble-lined bathrooms with tub and shower, and a minibar.
The Umstead also has its signature restaurant, Herons.
Herons mandates appropriate clothing in the 98-seat dining room, which features a private art collection and floor-to-ceiling window views of the hotel grounds.
Other dining options in the Umstead include the bar, lounge, and afternoon tea in the lobby.
Due to its convenient location in the center of the Triangle, guests of the Umstead are near many Raleigh attractions.
Some of our favorite things to do in the capital city include:
- Dorothea Dix Park
- Museums like the NC Museum of Natural Sciences and Museum of Art
- Lafayette Village
- Pullen Park
The Washington Duke Inn
Address: 3001 Cameron Boulevard, Durham, NC
The Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club is a 300-acre forest sanctuary that, as the name suggests, sits at the edge of Duke Forest and Duke University. The Inn opened in 1988 to service the quickly burgeoning Durham community.
The resort and university are named for Washington Duke, a philanthropist who became the primary benefactor of then-Trinity College, renamed Duke University after his death.
Each of the Inn’s 271 guest rooms and suites features beautiful views of the lush Duke University Golf Course, Duke Forest, or the Inn’s perfectly manicured grounds. The hotel’s interior resembles a traditional English country home with patterned and upscale decor.
The Inn’s on-site restaurant, Fairview Dining Room, has redefined fine dining in Durham. The menu is self-described as “regional neo-American,” with local seafood and burger options.
The Washington Duke Inn stays true to its Durham location with the aptly named Bull Durham Bar overlooking the golf course.
Guests of the Washington Duke Inn have their pick of some of the best activities that Durham has to offer.
In addition to the University nearby, guests can frequent the 18-hole golf course, visit Sarah P. Duke Gardens, the Duke Lemur Center, and much more. Despite its urban location, this resort has a uniquely secluded outdoor atmosphere.
List of Luxury Resorts in North Carolina
Here’s our list of our top NC luxury resorts:
- NC Mountain Resorts
- Chetola Resort
- The Greystone Inn
- Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort
- The Inn on Biltmore
- Old Edwards Inn
- The Omni Grove Park Inn
- The Swag
- Luxury Beach Resorts in North Carolina
- Blockade Runner
- The Sanderling
- More Luxury Resorts in NC (Central)
- The Ballantyne
- Fearrington House
- Grandover Resort
- Graylyn Estate
- Great Wolf Lodge
- Pinehurst Resort
- The Umstead
- Washington Duke Inn
Which of These Luxury Resorts in North Carolina Will You Stay in First?
We hope you’ve found your next luxury resort in North Carolina, whether looking for a mountain retreat, something by the coast, or anywhere in between. As we continue exploring this state, we’ll continue reporting on the places we find and adding updates to this guide.
While we’re doing that, we’d love to hear from you. If you’re familiar with any of these luxury resorts in NC or have any to add, let us know in the comments.
Don’t forget to share your NC luxury adventures in our North Carolina Travel Facebook Group.
Things to Do Near These Luxury Resorts in NC
We’ve created many more travel guides featuring these luxury resorts in North Carolina. Here are a few of them: