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15 Top-Rated Resorts in North Carolina

Written by Bryan Dearsley

A popular getaway choice for its beautiful beaches and lovely rolling countryside - not to mention its famous Southern hospitality - North Carolina offers plenty of quality resorts for your next vacation.

The "Tar Heel State" - a reference to North Carolina's nautical history - is especially popular for those who enjoy the finer things in life. Such folks are attracted to sumptuous accommodations, like those provided by the famous Inn on Biltmore Estate, a luxury hotel set on one of the largest country estates in the nation. Also popular for those seeking high-end vacations are Old Edwards Inn & Spa in the Blue Ridge Mountains and The Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville.

These and many other impressive resorts, including top romantic destinations perfect for couples and affordable family-friendly options, are yours to discover with our list of the top-rated resorts in North Carolina.

1. The Inn on Biltmore Estate, Asheville

The Inn on Biltmore Estate

Photo Source: The Inn on Biltmore Estate

If you enjoy luxury, then Biltmore, the home of the Vanderbilt family, is one North Carolina address you should definitely consider visiting. Sitting majestically on 8,000 acres of beautiful rolling countryside and manicured lawns and gardens, the Inn on Biltmore Estate offers a variety of elegant accommodation options. Couples will enjoy the exquisitely appointed and beautifully decorated "grand king" rooms. These spacious and bright units include a separate bedroom area, a comfortable living space, plus a large bathroom with separate bathtubs and showers. A number of larger suites are also available for those needing more space.

A highlight of a visit includes spending time exploring the renowned grounds and gardens. That, and being spoiled. Many guests will treat themselves to quality time at the inn's world-class spa (the couples' treatments and massages are popular), as well as taking in one of the on-site restaurants (in-room and private dining options are also available). Other amenities of note include boutique shops, live entertainment, a fitness center, plus a heated outdoor swimming pool.

Accommodation: The Inn on Biltmore Estate

2. Old Edwards Inn & Spa, Highlands

Old Edwards Inn & Spa

Photo Source: Old Edwards Inn & Spa

Located amid one of the most idyllic settings in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Old Edwards Inn and Spa is a great choice for those seeking a relaxing luxury getaway or extended vacation close to the heart of historic Highlands. Boasting a distinctly romantic European style, this elegant inn offers plenty of things to do on-site, from bespoke spa treatments to relaxing in its heated outdoor mineral pools or working out in the fitness center. Other notable features include access to great golf, a games room for the kids, and great dining (poolside and in-room service available).

There are a variety of excellent accommodation options available here, from standard-sized guestrooms to roomy suites and spacious cottages and vacation homes. One of the top luxury offerings are the exquisite Hickory Cottages. These architecturally pleasing units consist of large bedrooms, seating areas with fireplaces, and plenty of space to relax on their terraces.

Accommodation: Old Edwards Inn & Spa

3. The Umstead Hotel and Spa, Cary

The Umstead Hotel and Spa

Photo Source: The Umstead Hotel and Spa

Another of North Carolina's most elegant luxury accommodations, the charming Umstead Hotel and Spa in Cary is a must-stay for those who appreciate (and crave) a modicum of refinement. Highlights include such perks as valet parking, 24-hour in-room dining and concierge services, complimentary morning coffee, afternoon tea with live music, a fine dining restaurant, and evening entertainment. Other notable amenities include meeting and convention space, a boutique gift shop, spa, heated outdoor swimming pool, fitness center (yoga classes are available), free use of the hotel's bikes, plus a lake and jogging trail.

When it comes to bedtime, there's 150 luxury rooms and suites to choose from, each equipped with espresso machines, shoe shine service, as well as nightly turndown. A good upgrade are the studio suites, which come with a king bed, separate living areas with pull-out couches, bathrooms with windows, and garden views. For a real dose of indulgence, opt for the 922-square-foot executive suite, which comes with a large balcony with lake views. (Pets are welcome for a fee.)

Accommodation: The Umstead Hotel and Spa

4. The Omni Grove Park Inn, Asheville

The Omni Grove Park Inn

Photo Source: The Omni Grove Park Inn

Part of the leading luxury Omni Hotels and Resorts group, the Omni Grove Park Inn serves as an excellent choice of accommodations for those seeking a memorable stay in Asheville. This delightful 100-plus-year-old inn offers a choice of 513 guest rooms and suites, each boasting features like separate seating areas, microwaves, and mini-fridges. The pinnacle of luxury here is the opulent penthouse suite, with its huge living area and modern kitchen. Guests staying in the larger suites get access to a private club with concierge service, free breakfast and snacks (including hors d'oeuvres)... and no kids! A number of pet-friendly rooms are available.

There's plenty to commend the hotel's amenities, too. Features of note are the large world-class (and full-service spa), which is built underground; a fine-dining restaurant with incredible mountain views; boutique shops; a large heated outdoor swimming pool; a championship 18-hole golf course; six tennis courts; plus a fitness center.

Accommodation: The Omni Grove Park Inn

5. Abbington Green Bed & Breakfast Inn & Spa, Asheville

Abbington Green Bed & Breakfast Inn & Spa

Photo Source: Abbington Green Bed & Breakfast Inn & Spa

A popular choice for couples seeking an intimate getaway, the Abbington Green Bed & Breakfast Inn & Spa offers one of the top boutique inn experiences in Asheville. The resort is themed throughout in an "old country" style, and the evidence of this delightful place's British roots are everywhere, from the huge traditional English breakfast to the magnificent gardens, just waiting to be explored and enjoyed. For those in need of a little pampering, spa services can be arranged.

Each of the rooms here at Abbington are themed after well-known parts of London and were designed and decorated with comfort and fun in mind. While cozy rooms and suites are available, the inn has a spectacular two-bedroom suite that boasts its own private entrance, a separate living area with a fireplace, a dining room, one full and one half bathroom, a full-kitchen with modern appliances, and a furnished porch. Some pet-friendly units are available.

Accommodation: Abbington Green Bed & Breakfast Inn & Spa

6. Sanderling Resort, Duck

Sanderling Resort

Photo Source: Sanderling Resort

Perfect for beachgoers and water sports enthusiasts, Sanderling Resort in Duck offers a high degree of luxury that's as popular with couples as it is with families. The fun stuff is undeniably the resort's many outdoor activities, which include everything from sunbathing and swimming at the beach and pools (beach valet services provided, including umbrella and lounge chair reservations), playing a round of golf, or challenging friends and family to a game of tennis. Other amenities you'll want to experience include the Spa at Sanderling, popular for its massages, as well as a variety of dining options in the resort's restaurants or in the comfort of your room (for a special treat, order one of their excellent picnic hampers).

A variety of accommodation options are available, most of which come with private furnished patios or balconies with ocean or tranquil marsh views. A great choice are the spacious suites in the South Inn building, which come with a master bedroom with a king bed; a separate living area with a queen-sized pull-out couch; large bathrooms (bathrobes provided); and a well-appointed kitchenette with a wet bar, mini-fridge, and microwave. Some units also come with a cozy fireplace.

Accommodation: Sanderling Resort

7. The Fearrington House Inn, Pittsboro

The Fearrington House Inn

Photo Source: The Fearrington House Inn

For those who enjoy a rural setting, it doesn't get much better than The Fearrington House Inn. Set on a picturesque historic farmstead, this stunning luxury location consists of just 32 elegant guests rooms, each with its own unique décor, including artworks and antique furnishings. If available, opt for one of the larger grand suites: you'll be rewarded with your own courtyard, a king bed, fireplace in the separate sitting area, along with large walk-in closets and spacious bathrooms with separate jet tubs (the chocolates delivered at evening turndown are a real treat!).

The amenities, as you'd expect from a Relais & Châteaux hotel, are world-class. Highlights include a fine-dining restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner; your choice of daily newspaper; a full-service spa; and boutique shopping in the Fearrington Village, of which the resort is a part. This village-style complex is a delight to explore thanks to its easy brick paths and gardens. Bikes are also available when it comes time to explore a little farther afield.

Accommodation: The Fearrington House Inn

8. The Ballantyne, A Luxury Collection Hotel, Charlotte

The Ballantyne, A Luxury Collection Hotel

Photo Source: The Ballantyne, A Luxury Collection Hotel

There's plenty of fun things to do at The Ballantyne in Charlotte. Guests can choose from a variety of leisure pursuits, ranging from sunbathing and relaxing on the large poolside terrace (cabana rentals are available) to enjoying a variety of sports activities including tennis, golf, biking, and a dedicated jogging trail, along with a 24-hour fitness center, which offers personal training and yoga classes. Those wanting to indulge in a little pampering will enjoy a treatment or massage at the on-site spa, and afterwards unwind further in the saunas and hot tubs.

The guest rooms at this large and luxurious hotel are brightly decorated, with their over-sized windows allowing in plenty of natural light. Standard features include comfortable, high-quality beds and bedding, including a choice of pillows; work desks; spacious marble bathrooms with a separate bathtub and glass shower (plus plush bathrobes and slippers); and balconies. For those requiring additional space, inquire about the availability of one of the larger suites or the large presidential suites. Better still, book into the stand-alone cottage. This unit comes with four bedrooms, four bathrooms, and a full kitchen, and overlooks the golf course.

Accommodation: The Ballantyne, A Luxury Collection Hotel

9. The Esmeralda Inn, Chimney Rock

The Esmeralda Inn

Photo Source: The Esmeralda Inn

Thanks to its proximity to Asheville and the historic Biltmore estate, the Esmeralda Inn in Chimney Rock is a popular getaway spot for travelers. Constructed in 1892 and consisting of just 14 elegantly decorated guest rooms - along with three stand-alone cabins - it's especially popular with couples seeking a quieter and more intimate accommodation experience. The rooms are each individually decorated and furnished and include seating areas with real fireplaces, as well as large bathrooms and hot tubs. If available, be sure to request a stay in one of the inn's larger premium rooms, which come with king beds, separate living areas, and use of a private terrace.

The historic building has been carefully refurbished over the years, ensuring that many original fixtures remain. In addition to enjoying a relaxing and comfortable sleep, a highlight of a stay here is enjoying a meal in the dining room - including the complimentary breakfast - while taking in the superb views over the nearby lake. There's also a games room with fun activities including billiards, foosball, air hockey, and classic board games. Those seeking some quiet reading time can enjoy the library area. Other amenities on-site include a spa and gift shop.

Accommodation: The Esmeralda Inn

10. Grandover Resort, Golf, Spa & Conference Center, Greensboro

Grandover Resort, Golf, Spa, & Conference Center

Photo Source: Grandover Resort, Golf, Spa, & Conference Center

Located in Greensboro, the Grandover Resort, Golf, Spa & Conference Center has a solid reputation among business and leisure travelers alike. It's a popular location as much for its scenic views over the Piedmont mountains as it is for its world-class amenities. These include two championship golf courses, great dining options, a full-service spa, and swimming pools.

The resort's bright rooms have all recently been fully renovated and are worthy of consideration. Standard features include tall windows, HDTVs, coffee makers, and spacious bathrooms (robes provided). A popular choice for couples are the king rooms, which also come with a desk and reading chair (a double queen room is also available).

Accommodation: Grandover Resort, Golf, Spa & Conference Center

11. The Carolina Hotel, Pinehurst Resort, Pinehurst

The Carolina Hotel, Pinehurst Resort

Photo Source: The Carolina Hotel, Pinehurst Resort

Built in the style of the classic plantations of the south - though on a larger scale - the Carolina Hotel, Pinehurst Resort has been providing southern hospitality for well over 100 years. A highlight of a stay in what has been affectionately dubbed the "Queen of the South" is finding a favorite quiet spot and simply sitting back and enjoying the hotel's massive wrap-around verandas (better still, grab a baked treat and beverage from the coffee shop, or partake in the complimentary afternoon tea). Also available for guests to enjoy are bike rentals and carriage rides, a full-service spa, fitness center, large heated swimming pool (plus one for the kids), a putting green and golf course, and tennis courts.

It's a surprisingly large hotel, consisting of 230 luxurious guest rooms and suites. A good choice for couples seeking time alone are the traditional rooms, which come with such standard features as a king bed (or two queens) with feather-top bedding, HDTVs, spacious marble bathrooms (some with separate bathtubs and showers), as well as work desks. A number of larger units are available, which come with separate seating areas.

Accommodation: The Carolina Hotel - Pinehurst Resort

12. The Winds Resort Beach Club, Ocean Isle Beach

The Winds Resort Beach Club

Photo Source: The Winds Resort Beach Club

Ahhhh, the island life! That's exactly what guests at The Winds Resort Beach Club have to look forward to each and every day they're staying at this delightful resort on Ocean Isle Beach. This enchanting island retreat offers an intimate guest experience in its well-appointed oceanfront rooms and suites (the latter boasting one, two, or three bedrooms), as well as in its larger stand-alone cottages. These four-, five-, and six-bedroom units are dotted around the property, and all offer a high level of privacy and easy access to the beach, along with stunning views from their decks. Each of the cottages and the larger suites come with full kitchens, too.

In addition to hanging out at the ocean, guests will also enjoy relaxing around the resort's two heated outdoor swimming pools (plus one indoor pool) and making use of the resort's bikes. Other notable features include a fitness center, laundry facilities, hot tubs, golf, ping pong tables, kids' play area, and barbecues. A nice added touch is the inclusion of a daily cooked breakfast buffet.

Accommodation: The Winds Resort Beach Club

13. Holiday Inn Resort, Wrightsville Beach

Holiday Inn Resort Wrightsville Beach

Photo Source: Holiday Inn Resort Wrightsville Beach

Another popular choice for family vacations, the Holiday Inn Resort in Wrightsville Beach is ideally situated for those who enjoy the beach. Although it's located just a short drive away from the area's top attractions, there's certainly plenty to do on-site to keep young and old alike busy. Amenities for the kids include a games room with arcade-style video games, a playground, sports court, and an activity center offering plenty of additional fun and programs. In addition to swimming at the beach, there are a number of pools to enjoy, each with large terraces for sunbathing. The resort also offers bike rentals, a fitness center, restaurant, and a shuttle bus service when you do want to venture farther afield.

The resort's suite-style units are spacious, and each come with furnished private balconies with great views, wet bars, and large bathrooms with jetted tubs (there are even a number of special kids' suites, too). Other features include HDTVs, gaming consoles, microwaves, and mini-fridges.

Accommodation: Holiday Inn Resort Wrightsville Beach

14. Blockade Runner Beach Resort, Wrightsville Beach

Blockade Runner Beach Resort

Photo Source: Blockade Runner Beach Resort

Boasting one of the best ocean-front properties in North Carolina, the luxurious Blockade Runner Beach Resort in Wrightsville Beach has been welcoming guests to enjoy its authentic Southern hospitality since 1964. It's set in an area of unspoiled oceanfront that's just begging to be explored, and caters to a variety of outdoor leisure activities from sailing to kayaking. In addition to swimming at the beach, there's a large outdoor pool with accompanying attendant services (and pool toys). Other on-site amenities include a fitness center, ocean-side yoga classes, and great restaurants (garden dining available).

The rooms are bright and elegantly decorated, each boasting furnished balconies accessible through tall sliding-glass doors. The smaller units overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway come with a choice of king or two queen beds, HDTVs, bathrobes, desks, mini-fridges, and Keurig coffee makers. For an ocean view, choose one of the large luxury suites overlooking the beach. Features include an outdoor fireplace on the balcony, large bathrooms with separate soaker tubs and rain showers, and plenty of seating.

Accommodation: Blockade Runner Beach Resort

15. Shell Island Resort, Wrightsville Beach

Shell Island Resort

Photo Source: Shell Island Resort

Another great beach vacation destination worth considering is Shell Island Resort. Located in Wrightsville Beach, Shell Island consists of 169 elegant guestrooms, each of which boasts views over the Atlantic. Standard features include private balconies; spacious separate living areas with pull-out couches and HDTVs; plus a handy kitchenette complete with a fridge, stovetop, and microwave (there's also a dining area). These units can sleep between four to six guests.

In addition to having easy access to the resort's 3,000 feet of beach frontage - where you'll enjoy activities such as beach volleyball - guests can also enjoy relaxing poolside (there's an outdoor and indoor pool) or working out in the fitness center. A casual dining restaurant overlooking the ocean is also available.

Accommodation: Shell Island Resort

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