The Cardinal Hotel in Winston-Salem: We’ll Be Back

Last Updated on November 4, 2021

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The Cardinal Hotel is one of our favorite places to stay in Winston-Salem and combines the iconic and historic Reynolds Building with Kimpton, a brand known for designing more than a place to stay.

There is really no reason for you to leave when staying at this Piedmont hotel, but if you must, The Cardinal Hotel is surrounded by tons of fun and great for a weekend in Winston-Salem.

Before we even dare set foot outside this magnificent building, let’s explore one of our favorite hotels in North Carolina from top to bottom (literally) and share exactly what you’ll find there, and why we’ll be back.

We didn’t lie. The Cardinal Hotel is one of our favorite places to stay in North Carolina! Visiting is also one of our favorite things to do in Winston-Salem. We also featured it among more awesome historic hotels in Winston-Salem here.

The Cardinal Hotel

Exploring the Reynolds Building

The Cardinal Hotel in Winston Salem NC Empire State Building Card Image

Before it became a Winston-Salem hotel, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company called this Art Deco skyscraper home from its construction in 1929 through the 1970s.

The Reynolds Building might look familiar to you because its architects (Shreve & Lamb) went on to build a larger version, which we call the Empire State Building in New York City.

An even more fun fact is that you can even see a Father’s Day card addressed to the Reynolds Building from the staff in New York just beyond the first floor elevators.

Note: Historic significance and extravagance of building materials (including black marble from Belgium and gold leaf-festooned lobby ceiling) also landed this place on the National Register of Historic Places as of 2014. Also, tobacco may run through all the historic veins of the building, but it is now smoke-free for visitors.

That Kimpton Touch

Winston-Salem NC Hotels The Cardinal Hotel Common Area Image

If you came to this hotel sleep, you can. But I would recommend you get out and enjoy at least a few of these carefully designed amenities.

The Living Room

The Cardinal Hotel in Winston-Salem NC Living Room Image

In true Kimpton style, The Cardinal Hotel (named for North Carolina’s state bird) is much more than a place to stay. The downstairs living room is perfect for morning coffee, early evening wine, or food and water for your dog throughout the day and night.

The Rec Room

Winston-Salem NC Hotels The Cardinal Hotel Basketball Court Image

Even the basement is worth exploring, as you’ll find when bowling (yes, bowling!), shooting hoops or playing table tennis in the recreation area. There’s also a shuffleboard table, chess set, and a gigantic scrabble board. But who’s keeping score, really?

“Forgot it? We got it!”

Winston-Salem NC Hotels Kimpton Cardinal Hotel Image

One more cool feature I like about Kimpton is their “Forgot it? We got it!” lifesaver. We mistakenly left our toothpaste at home and they graciously gave us a travel-sized replacement free of charge.

Things you can borrow include a yoga mat, an umbrella, and more. To me, that’s how service should be!

Rooms with a View

Hotels Winston-Salem NC The Cardinal Hotel-Inside Room Image

Or you can just chill out in your room with a really nice view out of your window. The views from our side were very nice, overlooking the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter and R.J. Reynolds smokestack and former power plant.

Our little one was happy with the super comfy bed, even if she ended up sleeping in her pack n’ play, which we placed on another side of the room.

In front of the bed, there’s a nice desk for getting work done and a huge TV above it for when you lounge and binge-watch something fun.

If you want to book a night at The Cardinal Hotel, we suggest you book direct, in case something comes up or you have to postpone your visit.

Food at The Katharine

Winston-Salem NC The Katharine Brasserie Negoni Image
This Negroni lived up to its looks.

The Katharine (Named after R.J. Reynolds’ wife) is the on-site Brasserie where you’ll partake in one of the best food experiences a person will ever find.

Hotels in Winston-Salem NC The Katharine inside The Cardinal Hotel Image

I don’t want to tell you what to eat, but you should at least start with some oysters, escargot, French onion soup, and their pan-fried chicken with spaetzle. Whoops! Maybe I did tell you after all! You’ll thank me later.

We included The Katharine in our guide covering the best restaurants in Winston-Salem and shared more about our experiences here.

Meeting Spaces & Wedding Halls

Hotels in Winston-Salem NC The Cardinal Hotel Meeting Room Image

If you’re having a wedding, business meeting or any other type of social gathering to put together, The Cardinal’s massive meeting space can easily accommodate.

With over 6,000 square feet of meeting spaces available, you can start on the ground or go all the way up to the 20th floor.

I’m partial to the latter, considering you can see the entire city and as far as Pilot Mountain and Hanging Rock State Park on clear days.

Nearby Fun Things to Do

Winston-Salem NC Hotels The Cardinal Hotel Lobby Image

Looking for fun things to do in Winston-Salem outside this fun hotel? You’re within a short walk or bike ride (check the lobby for loaner availability) from the Downtown Arts District and tons of cool restaurants.

Winston-Salem’s breweries represent well in the Triad’s and North Carolina’s beer scene and I’d recommend a trip to at least Foothills Brewing and Small Batch Beer Co.

Take a minute to relax more and visit Reynolda Village, a beautiful historic home and garden designed by Katharine and RJ Reynolds. Spend time at the historic town of Old Salem and go back to early America.

Ready to Stay at The Cardinal Hotel?

We’re smitten by The Cardinal Hotel’s homey interior, wonderful service, and delicious creations coming out of the Katharine. Hopefully, you can visit the Empire State Building’s father and witness exactly what we experienced.

Have you ever spent time at The Cardinal Hotel? How about Winston-Salem? If not, what’s the first thing you’d like to do here? We’d love to read your answer in the comments section below!

More Things to Do in Winston-Salem

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