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It’s no secret I love a good hotel. One of my favorite parts of traveling is checking into a unique, luxurious hotel. Gone are the days of identical hotels and lobbies no matter what city you visit. Even major hotel chains are adding unique touches to their hotels to reflect the location. And I’m so here for it! I love finding a good boutique hotel that adds to the immersive experience of a vacation. If you are planning a trip to Wilmington, you’re in luck! There are plenty of beautiful boutique hotels in Wilmington to choose from no matter where you want to stay.
Wilmington makes for the perfect weekend getaway in North Carolina. Whether you’re visiting in the Fall or enjoying the beach in the summer, there’s so much to do and see. What better way to elevate your trip by staying in an epic hotel? We stayed at the Hotel Ballast right on the river during our visit and it was the perfect place to stay. For a weekend visit, I love being within walking distance to everything and you can’t go wrong with something in the Historic Downtown River District! However, there are a few great boutique hotels in each of the different popular neighborhoods and beaches of Wilmington.
Keep reading to learn about some of the best boutique hotels in Wilmington.
About Wilmington, North Carolina
Wilmington is known as the “Port City” and is tucked on the southern coast of North Carolina. Wilmington has long been a busy port and at its peak served over a hundred merchant ships per day! It still serves as a port although it’s not quite as busy. Nonetheless, Wilmington is a bustling coastal town that people both love to visit and live in. Because of its port and location in North Carolina, Wilmington has a rich history and strong Southern influence. You’ll see many historic buildings and neighborhoods surrounding Wilmington’s downtown. Outside of the riverfront and downtown, you’ll find many North Carolinians (and other states as well!) flocking to one of Wilmington area’s many beaches including Wrightsville, Carolina, and Kure during the summer or enjoying one of the many breweries in Wilmington.
Where to stay in Wilmington
There are 2 main areas that tourists stay when visiting Wilmington–within the city or on the beach. There are certainly many different neighborhoods but these are the ones I recommend, especially for a first time visit.
Boutique hotels in Wrightsville Beach
Wrightsville Beach is one of the more popular beaches in this area due to its close proximity to Wilmington. While the predominant lodging option at this beach is rental homes, you can find just a couple of boutique hotels for a quick stay! Wrightsville has its own vibe with delicious restaurants and shops. So you can venture into Wilmington… but you definitely don’t have to if you just want to stick near the beach!
Blockade Runner Beach Resort
Blockade Runner Beach Resort* has been open for over 60 years! Many of the rooms are ocean facing and you can choose between a room, a suite, an apartment, or your own cottage for a huge group of people. The rooms are brightly decorated and with a resort, you have everything you need right at your fingertips. There are a couple of restaurants, a gym, and a glistening pool at this beach resort*.
*Not an affiliate link
Shell Island Resort
Shell Island is unique because ALL the rooms are oceanfront and they are all suites! The decor is a bit dated but there’s something to be said for being right on the beach and having plenty of room to spread out! Enjoy both the indoor and outdoor pool, a grill by the pool, and other restaurants on site, as well. This resort would be perfect for a weeklong vacation!
Boutique hotels in Wilmington’s River district/downtown
Downtown Wilmington is where all the action is! You can enjoy strolling down the riverwalk, visit some upscale restaurants and trendy cocktail bars, or head to one of the many breweries in Wilmington. There is no shortage of cute boutique hotels to stay in Wilmington. Several are within walking distance of the best restaurants and shops!
Hotel Ballast is a Marriott Hotel but oozes upscale beach charm. This is where we stayed during our weekend visit recently and I couldn’t have been happier with our choice! The rooms were everything you expect–clean with crisp white linens and cozy, calm beach vibes. The hotel overlooks the Cape Fear river. You can walk right out from the hotel to the river walk to some of Wilmington’s best shops and restaurants! In warmer weather, the pool is the perfect place to spend an afternoon.
If you’re in need of decor that just sends you into a happy dance, you must stay at The Hive in downtown Wilmington! Each of the 14 suites is impeccably decorated and come with king size mattresses, luxury linens, and unique art. I love that you can check yourself in AND bring a furry friend at this hotel!
Freshly renovated in the beginning of 2023, Arrive is a super posh, 34 room boutique hotel in downtown Wilmington. The rooms are clean and fresh and you can enjoy the beautiful courtyard as well! Grab a drink at the courtyard bar or enjoy the hotel’s restaurant, Dram Yard. The sleek black and white exterior will also have you absolutely swooning!
Front Street Inn
For our friends that love a little bit more history as well as bed and breakfast service, Front Street Inn is the place to be! However, if you’re thinking of those stuffy, colonial-style decorated inns, think again! Front Street Inn is oh so stylish with each room reflecting the person or city it is named for. Enjoy breakfast and coffee before you step out of the inn right into the heart of downtown.
Final thoughts/recommendations on boutique hotels in Wilmington
When you visit a new city or town, your accommodation can make or break your stay! I love choosing a boutique hotel because it often reflects the city it’s in and usually has excellent service. Luckily, there are some great boutique hotels in Wilmington whether you want to be in the city or at the beach! I personally recommend a spot in the river district because it’s still a short drive to the beach but puts you within walking distance to some of the best Wilmington has to offer! When visiting Wilmington, North Carolina, you will be sure to have an excellent experience if you choose a boutique hotel from this list!
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