Travel + Leisure Best Hotels list has Heights House Raleigh NC

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The renovated and restored Raleigh mansion Montford Hall has been transformed in the boutique hotel Heights House. Forrest Mason A nine-room inn that opened last year in Raleigh’s Boylan Heights neighborhood has been named one of the best new hotels in the world. The FOMO-inducing Travel + Leisure magazine included […]

The renovated and restored Raleigh mansion Montford Hall has been transformed in the boutique hotel Heights House.

The renovated and restored Raleigh mansion Montford Hall has been transformed in the boutique hotel Heights House.

A nine-room inn that opened last year in Raleigh’s Boylan Heights neighborhood has been named one of the best new hotels in the world.

The FOMO-inducing Travel + Leisure magazine included Heights House in its list of the 100 Best New Hotels in the World to open in the past year, the publication’s “It List.”

The new boutique hotel opened last spring at 308 S. Boylan Ave. following a transformation of the 160-year-old mansion Montford Hall into an inn.

Bought by married couple Sarah and Jeff Shepard in 2018, Heights House underwent three years of rezoning, renovating and restoring before it was unveiled in May 2021.

“Being named to Travel and Leisure’s ‘It List’ for 2022 is an extraordinary accomplishment,” said Jeff Shepherd in an email. “Having our hotel represented amongst the best in the world is truly special and something that we are incredibly proud of.”

An ‘architectural wonder’

Travel + Leisure declared the hotel an “architectural wonder,” marveling at the older trees shading the Heights House porch, and its towering entrance and artful rooms.

In compiling the list, the magazine said it considered the way the pandemic has changed what travelers look for in a place to stay.

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The renovated and restored Raleigh mansion Montford Hall has been transformed in the boutique hotel Heights House. Forrest Mason

“The hotels on this year’s It List represent 100 reasons to travel now, from luxury escapes in urban destinations to affordable beachside getaways,” said Travel + Leisure editor in chief Jacqui Gifford in a press release. “We know that the world has changed immeasurably in the past few years, presenting unprecedented challenges to the industry — which makes inclusion on this particular list all the more extraordinary.”

A night at Heights House starts at $229 and tops out at $400 for the Honeymoon Suite, a 500-square-foot space featuring a grand clawfoot tub built into a wall as if it were a piece of art. The Parlor at Heights House will open next month as a reservation-only cocktail bar.

The Shepherds hired Raleigh firm Mauer Architecture to restore the building, which dates to 1858, and Bryan Costello Design for the remodeling.

“Hotels like ours don’t often come to fruition for a myriad of reasons,” Shepherd said. “What we created fulfills a distinct desire for an authentic place to stay, unique to Raleigh and unique in guest experience.”

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Opened in May 2021, Raleigh’s Heights House Hotel has been named one of the world’s best new hotels by a major travel magazine. Forrest Mason

Local honors, too

The Travel + Leisure list seems aimed at the jet set, collecting 100 artful oases in bustling cities and remote corners of the globe. Amid hotels from Madrid and Copenhagen and Montauk, Heights House is the only North Carolina hotel featured in the list. Travel + Leisure also highlighted the Post House Inn in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina.

Beyond the glossy mags, Heights House has also earned local honors in its inaugural year. Last November, the project was one of 12 statewide restorations awarded the Gertrude S. Carraway Award of Merit from Preservation North Carolina.

The group praised Heights House for keeping one of Raleigh’s historic homes alive, connecting the past and the present through original details like hardwood floors, pocket doors and fireplaces, setting the 10,000-square-foot hotel within the booming trend of boutique inns.

“As for trends in the industry, I think we’re trying to address the middle ground of the meticulously crafted guest experience of a luxurious hotel stay and the comfort of Downtown Raleigh neighborhood living,” Shepherd said. “Targeting individuals like ourselves who want their room and hotel to feel like a part of the city it resides in.”

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Drew Jackson writes about restaurants and dining for The News & Observer and The Herald-Sun, covering the food scene in the Triangle and North Carolina.

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