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Saturday, October 16, 2021

The New JW Marriott in Uptown Charlotte is Another Great Addition to the Queen City’s growing Luxury Market

Right in the heart of Uptown—the downtown district of Charlotte—sits the JW Marriott Charlotte Hotel. This luxury hotel in Charlotte overlooks Panthers Bank of America Stadium, is mere steps away from the Mint Museum Uptown, Hornets Spectrum Center and Knights BB&T Ballpark, and is surrounded by fantastic restaurants, museums and theaters.

JW Marriott Hotels is one of Bonvoy's lifestyle brands, named after Marriott's founder, and this newer Charlotte hotel and rooftop bar is sure to please travelers of all styles.  Inspired by Queen Charlotte, the city's namesake, the JW Marriott Charlotte evokes the 18th century British queen consort through classic textiles balanced with a modern sensibility. While we loved the Kimpton Tryon Park hotel, there is some new competition in the Queen City. Noticeably absent from the Charlotte luxury market? Hilton Hotels. 

1. Location

This location is outstanding to attend sporting events in Charlotte being directly adjacent to Bank of America Stadium and the Spectrum Center. Not a sports fan? There are plenty of other activities nearby with frequent concerts, live stage productions, opera, symphony and museums. Charlotte is a great destination for foodies and the uptown area is loaded with options within walking distance or a short Uber.  The front auto entrance and valet isn't easy to find so look closely at the corner of S. College Street and E. Stonewall Street on your left on College, immediately before you stop at the light for Stonewall. Since this is a popular location with a small valet, there may be a line to enter! 

2. Check-in

We were greeted promptly and checked in without difficulty from very accommodating employees wearing masks appropriately. The hotel had only opened one month before and managerial staff was everywhere. Appropriately, we were recognized as elite Bonvoy member, and thanked for our loyalty.  The staff oriented us to the hotel and the surrounding area. The hotel itself had COVID restrictions such as not providing housekeeping services, but this was not relayed to us. Finding the check in desk isn't easy if you self park which we attempted initially. We walked everywhere to find the entrance and ultimately found access to an upper floor through one of the restaurants - our advice if you self park...ask directions from anyone you may see because there are no signs directing you to the lobby.  Even better, use valet parking.  The price is pretty much the same but if you want quick access to your vehicle, use the self parking option.  The valet stand was pretty slow and due to the small size of the valet area, we waited for significant time to leave our car or have car brought to us. The hotel is busy with guests and locals visiting the bars and restaurants. 

3. Hotel Decor 

We requested a room on a high floor to minimize street sound and our request was fulfilled without question. The room has more than adequate space for the luggage that we carried. The JW Marriott Charlotte has contemporary but comfortable amenities and if you are used to a more contemporary style, you should find the decor satisfactory. Nice touches are included throughout the hotel to pay tribute to the Queen City and its history, including the artwork and textile choices. One of the most defining features of JW Marriott Charlotte is its use of natural light to promote a minimal and relaxing environment such as floor-to-ceiling windows throughout the hotel, with city, stadium and vista views of greater Charlotte.  

The Executive Lounge

Other travelers we’ve spoken to have said they plan to laminate their vaccination cards to prevent damage — and Staples will even do it for free.  We’re not fans of laminating our cards because you may need to add information about a booster to it later.  Of course you can use a sandwich bag to protect it, but we prefer a sleeve where the card can be removed and updated if booster shots become recommended in the future. Click the photo below to find these on Amazon:

4. Rooms

This is where the JW shines.  Our room was located on the 17th floor with a view of the city. We booked a king bed room.  The bed notably has 4 king sized pillows, not universal at hotels in our opinion (why do some hotels use standard sized pillows for a king sized bed??).  Turn down service is provided nightly upon request. A safe large enough for two laptops is located in the closet.  Robes and in room coffee, tea and Biscoff cookies are provided. Bathroom amenities are the typical Aromatherapy brand.  If you have read our posts you know that we prefer a walk in shower and the use of space to provide a shower and commode next to each other reminded us of the layout of the Monument hotel in Barcelona.   

The bed was comfortable with excellent air conditioning. The television is wonderful with a large screen and great picture. Streaming options are provided so you can cast your own programs from personal subscriptions like YouTube TV or Netflix for example. This is a feature we have come to expect at luxury brand hotels. The Bonvoy app allows a guest to order items to your room such as from housekeeping or room service without using the phone. During a pandemic, this is a lovely option to have, and for germaphobes around the world, not having to touch the room phone is awesome! We used this feature a few times and the JW Marriott Charlotte was prompt with delivering! 

Enjoy our video of our room, including the view, by clicking the photo below!

5. Bathrooms

The bathrooms are bright and airy at the JW Marriott Charlotte. There is adequate vanity space for travelers and fortunately our room had a walk-in shower which as you know means: NO shower curtain: not one of our favorite things! Toiletries are by Aromatherapy Associates, who been sharing the therapeutic powers of essential oils for over 30 years. Starting out as therapists in the early 1970s, founders, Geraldine Howard and Sue Beechey, founded the company in 1985 in the USA. We have come to expect this product at JW Marriott stays around the world.  There is a vanity outside the bathroom, meant for getting ready, including a nice tufted stool. The only problem with this vanity is that it is poorly lit for applying makeup or styling hair. 

6. Fitness

The hotel has a large modern gym available 24 hours per day with key fob access. The gym is near the rooftop bar and swimming pool.  The gym is well appointed with several treadmills and one Peloton bike. Of course the area surrounding the hotel is safe for running or walking, so instead opted for endurance and body weight exercises outdoors in the cooler weather. Our favorite running and cycling route in Charlotte is the Booty Loop, a popular 3 mile route. Parking is available at Freedom Park. 

The rooftop swimming pool will be very nice, but unfortunately during our stay there was no water in it yet! The size of the pool is not conducive to swimming laps and it may get a little noisy on the weekends due to the proximity of it to the rooftop bar, Aura. The pool has whale landing chaise lounges and cabanas for use. 

The Spa by JW® offers holistic wellness amenities including six private treatment suites, a couples' treatment room and an Express Treatment pod for business travelers and others on-the-go. Guests also have access to indulgent and calming treatments including a Chill & Decompress Facial, Sweet Sugar Body Ritual, The Botanical Opulence Massage and Alluring Bay Manicures and Pedicures.

Other Healthy Activities Nearby:


7. Dining

JW Marriott Charlotte demonstrates the brand's focus on authentic dining experiences that reflect the region's flair with three venues for guests and locals alike:

  • Dean's Italian Steakhouse – A classic American steakhouse with Italian expression set in a modern, rustic open space. Dean's features a show kitchen where guests can watch American Wagyu beef and other prime cuts - as well as authentic homemade pasta dishes - being prepared.

  • Caroline's Oyster Bar – A fanciful take on coastal seafood celebrating the neighborhood charm and fresh flavors of the North Carolina coast. The scene is set by a 360-degree centerpiece bar and 8-seat Carolina-style raw oyster bar.

  • Aura Rooftop – Hidden atop the fifth-floor, this lush botanical paradise includes a bar and pool serving up magnetic vibes and a regal tone. When night falls, the building's mirror-like exterior reflects the city back onto itself, creating a powerful aura, softened by lush greenery, similar to English gardens and conservatories. The menu features botanical craft cocktails, boutique wines and small bites.

Other restaurants that we recommend nearby:

  • Peppervine. Not within walking distance but not to be missed.  Go hungry and be prepared for a culinary experience at Charlotte's newest restaurant. Make your reservations ahead and be prepared to open your wallet so that you can enjoy the hottest table in town. Make sure to enjoy Chef Bill Green's latest creations like fried chicken with Thai flavors, papaya and burnt lime or squid ink bucatini with Spanish octopus, bone marrow, and kale. Make sure to check out the award winning wine list via iPad or traditional wine book.  
Full of art and style, the Kimpton Tryon Park Hotel is Conveniently Located Near the Major Museums and Event Venues of Uptown Charlotte, North Carolina.

  • The Cellar At Duckworth's.  The service is phenomenal, the beer cellar is amazing, and don't miss the truffle fries or steak. This location is highly recommend for those on a date or with friends hanging out with an atmosphere that has low lights and quiet chatter.
  • Dogwood Southern Table & Bar.  You will need a vehicle, but Dressler restaurants are a local favorite and Dogwood provides delicious regional cuisine in a warm and friendly atmosphere. Dogwood uses as many local food products from the Carolinas as possible.  
  • Cafe Monte.  Treat yourself to an authentic French bakery and bistro. At Café Monte, they are known for affordable, high-quality French fare, all of which are prepared to order. 
  • La Belle Helene Always topping the list of local favorites, and designed by renowned Parisian designer Richard Lafond, they bring a timeless philosophy to the Charlotte restaurant scene with a lively and casual take on the classic French brasserie concept. 
  • Amelie's French Bakery. Looking for something sweet?  With several Charlotte, locations Amelie's is the place to go.  The Uptown location is within walking distance to the JW.  Try almond tea cake or the chocolate croissants because they are always fresh.
  • Craft Growler Shop  Looking for somewhere to tailgate before the next Panthers or Knights game?  With a shared love of simple good food and craft beer, husband /wife team Alyson and Dan Davis opened Craft Tasting Room and Growler Shop in 2014 in the Gold District of Charlotte’s South End with the idea to create a warm and inviting place to enjoy local craft beer, artisanal regional cheeses and charcuterie. 
  • Dot Dot Dot This is an awesome private speakeasy social club. Membership is only $10, so don't fret. It is very relaxing and dark with a great vibe. The cocktails are stellar. The mixology is on point. The small plates are yummy. The charcuterie is the best in town. Also, we recommend the fried chicken bites, macadamia gnocchi and fried mushrooms. 

Things to do

If the fitness activities we've already listed aren't right for you there is plenty to do in Charlotte. 

  • Mint Museum - An integral part of the Levine Center for the Arts, a cultural campus that includes the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts and Culture, the Knight Theater, and the Duke Energy Center, all of which are located nearby.
  • NASCAR Hall of Fame - Whether you love NASCAR or not, this is a top notch sports museum, that truly reflects the history of the area. 
  • Carolina Panthers Game - You won't find many hotels closer to Bank of America Stadium than the JW Marriott Charlotte. 
  • Charlotte Hornets Game - Likewise, there aren't many hotels as close to the Spectrum Center, which is about 6 blocks away. 

Remember when attending sporting events like nearby Panthers, Hornets or Knights games, most stadiums will not allow you to bring large or opaque bags.  Plan ahead and bring a clear stadium bag to take essentials to the big game.  Click the photo below to look at our favorite clear crossbody at Amazon and support our blog!

Bottom line:

We recommend JW Marriott Charlotte for any visit to Charlotte, North Carolina. One of the best features of the hotel though is simply the location. A game-day favorite during football season and ideal for the business traveler, you will be steps from most major businesses in Uptown Charlotte and have easy access to all the fun activities taking place in this stylish city. An added benefit of its location in a central neighborhood of Charlotte, is that you can travel to many of the other local neighborhoods in just a short car ride.

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