The Siena Hotel in Chapel Hill was an idea born on a cocktail napkin during a Tuscan honeymoon, with the goal for every room to bring its guests a distinct, world-class luxury experience.
Whether you’re checking in for business, leisurely exploring the Research Triangle, or seeking a romantic getaway, you’ll come away with that feeling. And based on our time there, it’s safe to say that this hotel in Chapel Hill is continuing to push beyond its original objective.
This post is part of our series on awesome places to stay in North Carolina.
Siena Hotel in Chapel Hill
From the Juliet balconies to the Italian mosaics, resting your head at The Siena is more than just your typical hotel experience. Here are some special touches you’ll find along the way.
As you enter the Siena Hotel’s gold doors, take a moment to look up and notice the flags hanging above. Each is adorned with the crest of a Contrada, or district, of Siena, Italy.
And every year, Siena holds a high stakes horse race with every Contrada represented. The winner gets to govern the Tuscan city for the next year.
That regional pride one gives one an idea why the original owners (the Longiottis) fell in love with this part of the world and why they want to bring it to ours.
The Siena Hotel is consistently known for its excellent customer service. Those who work at The Siena and il Palio go above and beyond to make your stay a special one.
When you check in, you’ll be greeted in the parking lot by a bellman and ushered to sit down and offered a specialty cookie and a glass of sparkling water.
And as someone who travels a lot, I endorse their rating. It was apparent from the moment I walked in that everyone in the building was proud to be there. I knew they weren’t working to collect a paycheck.
Guests traveling with dogs will be offered handmade dog treats and can take advantage of pet services like dog walking and wellness checks for an additional fee.
Rooms at the Siena Hotel
Each of the Siena Hotel’s 79 rooms is distinctly designed, decorated, and themed, making every stay a memorable one. They’re also the largest guest rooms you’ll find in Chapel Hill, making this the perfect home base.
Choose from a Deluxe King Room, Two Queen Room, Corner King, Junior Studio Suite, or a Large Studio Suite to fit your travel style and needs.
The Large Studio Suites have a king bed tucked inside a private alcove, with ornate lighting and a spacious sitting area.
A Junior Suite offers a king bed with a hand-crafted executive desk and a carved armoire to store your personal items for the night.
A feature I loved and one I hadn’t yet seen is the Siena Hotel’s digital mirrors. They give you the time and also control the vanity lights! Many rooms also feature multi-head showers!
Food at Il Palio
Experience Italian cuisine at its best right at Il Palio, the Siena Hotel’s onsite restaurant. At this excellent dining establishment, you’ll find simple yet thoughtfully prepared Italian food, with deep connections to both the recipe and local producers.
While Il Palio is definitely a place to make memories and celebrate special occasions, there are many more reasons to dine! With a menu that changes daily, Il Palio is open for breakfast and dinner.
Chef Adam Rose
Chef Adam Rose brings his personal touch and expertise, serving seasonal dishes that are the product of his work and partnership with local farmers. And everything, from the pasta to the whipped cream, is made in his kitchen.
Favorites include the seasonally available and highly requested butternut squash ravioli and the wood-grilled crostini. But based on what we’ve seen and tasted, every dish is incredible.
With no detail left behind, the meals are thoughtfully prepared to honor Italian traditions while still using local ingredients.
Don’t Forget the Drinks!
Hot tip: Thursdays are half-price bottles of wine for drink-in OR carry out! (Yes, go in and buy a bottle of wine and take it home or up to your room!)
And finally, is there truly anything more Italian than drinking an Aperol Spritz in front of a fire? From the wine wall filled with small-batch Italian producers to the Italian espresso machine, you are granted to experience a true Italian experience at Il Palio, all the way down to the drinks!
Stop by Il Palio any time, whether you’re feeling an afternoon cocktail, a spectacular dinner, or a delicious breakfast in the morning!
Join a Chef-led Cooking Class
Guests of The Siena and local residents are welcome to join cooking classes offered by Chef Adam Rose! Classes will show you the fine arts of pasta-making and how to make sangria.
Regardless of which one you join, these classes are a great way to fully immerse yourself in the Italian experience!
The Siena also has two meeting spaces that can host a variety of special events, supported by their on-site catering.
The first level features two rooms that can be opened up depending on your needs and up to 90 guests. For the second-floor terrace room, smaller intimate meetings of 30-32 people can be accommodated.
Around the Hotel
If you’re more into flexing your competitive side, roll out a round of Bocce outside!
This game originating during the Roman Empire and can be played by two or more people. To score, players throw their balls underhanded to knock the other away.
If you’re not sure how to play, there are instructions at the court. Also, reach out and one of The Siena staff members would be happy to show you!
When you stay at the Siena Hotel, you can get outside and active just around the corner!
There are walking trails behind the hotel that lead up to the beautiful Chapel Hill Public Library and beyond. If you love the outdoors as we do, these are the perfect way to start your morning.
Guests also have access to the Chapel Hill YMCA and can arrange for complimentary transportation with the shuttle.
While staying at the Siena Hotel, you may have to leave, even if you never want to! But if you are in town for an event or to explore, ask about the complimentary shuttle.
Taking guests to destinations within a 5-mile radius, it’s easy to skip the hassle of downtown parking. You are close to the Chapel Hill community, but far enough away to feel at home.
Fun Things to Do Nearby
Downtown Chapel Hill
Downtown Chapel Hill is always abuzz, especially when school is in session. You’ll find a vibe unlike most college towns and the people here really do bleed Tar Heel blue!
A stroll around campus is a must as the largely tree-covered University of North Carolina is a beautiful one. Franklin Street is one of the best college streets in all of America, though we might be a little biased.
Grab a beer and some food at Carolina Brewery or head to TOPO for an amazing view over downtown with a cocktail crafted with their own distilled spirits. Nature lovers can walk the trails at Carolina North Forest or take in the beautiful flowers at the North Carolina Botanical Garden.
We could go on and do in our guide covering a weekend in Chapel Hill!
Award-Winning Marriott Hotel
The Siena has been a Four Diamond hotel since 1989 when it received the honor from AAA. Il Palio has been since 1987, making it the longest consecutive award winner and the only Italian restaurant given the award in North Carolina.
Final Thoughts and Yours, Too!
Whether you’re traveling through North Carolina or a local looking for a unique staycation opportunity, The Siena Hotel and Il Palio the perfect combination for your getaway in Chapel Hill.
We look forward to coming back for more awesome experiences here and when you do, too, we’d love to know how things turned out.
If you’ve visited the Siena Hotel and/or Il Palio, we’d love to know what you thought of it. If you haven’t been, what’s the first thing you’d like to do here?
Special thanks to Tabletop Media for hosting us at the Siena Hotel and Il Palio. All opinions within this article are our own.