This post is sponsored by the Charlotte Marriott City Center.
A staycation is the best way to relax and get away from the stresses of life, without having to go too far. Plan a staycation of your own with these tips and see my recent staycation in Charlotte at the Charlotte Marriott City Center for inspiration.
I don’t know about you but traveling just resets me. There’s nothing like getting out of town and your comfort zone to enjoy your daily life a little bit more. But sometimes you just don’t have the time, budget or patience to take a big vacation. That’s when I’d suggest a short road trip within or just outside of your city — a staycation, we’ll call it.
A few weeks ago Chris and I took a much-needed staycation hosted by the Charlotte Marriott City Center. The hotel underwent some major renovations earlier this year, and it is gorgeous!
Our staycation came at the end of a super busy week and it couldn’t have been a better time to take a night off and explore downtown Charlotte together. (Or uptown Charlotte. To-may-to, to-mah-to.)
Taking a staycation can be a fun way to celebrate something, too. I used to have friends in Raleigh who always got a hotel room for New Year’s Eve, and others who do it for things like anniversaries and Valentine’s Day.
If you’re planning a staycation in your city, pick a hotel somewhere walkable, or at the very least somewhere with Uber or public transportation. A staycation is a smart way to have a night on the town and not have to bother with DDs and cars.
I’d also suggest picking a part of town you don’t visit often. I usually avoid downtown Charlotte because of traffic and parking, but we arrived on a Friday afternoon and parked valet at the hotel, so that part was really nice and stress-free.
Located in the very heart of downtown, near the corner of Trade & Tryon, the Charlotte Marriott was perfectly situated for a night out. We visited several of my favorite bars and restaurants on Friday night, and on Saturday enjoyed a slow morning, pastries for breakfast and took a walk downtown for photos and exploring.
Here’s a little more about what we did for our staycation in Charlotte:
The folks at the Charlotte Marriott gave Chris and me a little tour after we checked in.
Our guide told us that the newly updated hotel is called the M-Beta, because it’s the model for future Marriott hotels. With most of its customer base being business folk, the hotel is gearing up for a new generation of travelers. Technology is at the forefront.
Much of the hotel focused on community and interacting with the environment around you. For example, there are actual buttons throughout the hotel you can press if you ‘like’ something. You can also connect your own Netflix or Spotify account to the TV in your room, something I enjoyed immensely! The entire fifth floor has “Stay Well” rooms, which have health-conscious features like custom lighting and aromatherapy machines.
Next, we got to see The Dock, which is Charlotte’s newest speakeasy. It was closed for a private event when we were there but I can’t wait to come here for a drink soon! You can only get in through the hotel’s loading dock!
For dinner, we enjoyed the ample wine menu and homemade pasta at Aria Tuscan Grill. I’m a fan of the mixed price range for entrees here, and the atmosphere is lovely. If you like Italian food, you’ll love this spot.
After dinner, we took our leftovers back to our hotel room and went downstairs for a drink at Stoke. I had a drink with smoked bitters that was amazing. The bar itself is lovely and clearly becoming a popular watering hole downtown.
Next on our night out list was cocktails at The Asbury and then The Cellar at Duckworth’s. These are two of my favorite places for cocktails downtown. Chris hadn’t been to either so it was great to show him these gorgeous spots.
The next morning, we slept in and it was glorious. After a long and taxing week, it was nice to sleep in and have a slower morning. We requested a late checkout time so we had more time to explore.
I considered doing a yoga class at the FLEX Studio. The Charlotte Marriott offers a cool studio gym with video classes you can take, another of the cool technological features at this hotel. There’s also a big digital screen with a map to find other exercise classes around town. Score.
We grabbed breakfast at Coco & the Director. Our meal included croissant doughnuts, an oatmeal parfait and lattes. The brown sugar cinnamon latte is one I could drink every day!
The interior of this place is so cool. If I worked downtown, I’d be here a lot. There’s a row of prepared foods and a whole section of locally-sourced, artisanal merchandise for sale.
After breakfast we meandered around downtown. Latte Arcade, Romare Bearden Park and Museum Row were all a part of our walk.
We popped into the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art to see their gallery. Somehow, I’ve never been in this museum. We skipped the Mint Museum Uptown because we have both been recently, but it’s another good staycation stop.
We walked to 7th Street Market for lunch because it was a nice day, but one could easily have taken the light rail. I love the Lynx light rail for getting around downtown. We didn’t have it when I was a kid but it’s nice that there is public transportation in Charlotte now. (And it will be expanding soon, too!)
Eating at 7th Street Market is always a good choice because there is something there for everyone, and you can support many local businesses at once. There are restaurants that offer everything from pizza to sandwiches to crepes as well as gift shops carrying wines, cheeses, chocolates and other gift type items. The saddest part of this trip was that my friend Cara’s bakery The Gâteau Baking Company storefront hadn’t opened yet. It’s open now, though, so you must go!
After lunch, we headed back to the Charlotte Marriott, packed up, got our car from the valet and headed home. The weekend was so nice and restful, and I’m so glad we had a night to get away, even though we didn’t really travel that far.
Staycations get a vote from me! Our staycation in Charlotte was totally fantastic, and I can’t wait to plan another one soon.