Motor Lodge Remake
Durham’s new digs captures the young energy of the city
THE NEIGHBORHOOD: From its days as a textile and tobacco town to being the home of Black Wall Street, Durham, North Carolina, has a lot of history—and thanks to a generation of creatives and inventive food folk, a bright future ahead.
THE VIBE: Mid-century modern furniture nods to the building’s origins, while pops of color and modern art keep things fresh.
THE DIGS: A former 1960s motor lodge has been given a new life as cool-kid Unscripted Durham, the debut property of Dream Hotel Group’s newest brand. The hotel’s interiors take a cue from its architecture, with retro furniture throughout. In each of the seventy-four guest rooms, bright, graphic wallpaper meets dark wood wainscoting; with bedroom furniture to match, it all harkens back to the heydayof woody wagons. Still, the kitsch factor is kept in check by urban, eclectic touches like graffiti murals in the lobby and parking garage. It all feels refreshingly Durham, a historic and gritty city that’s buzzing with young, creative energy.
WHERE TO EAT
Given the hotel’s location in the heart of downtown, there are plenty of dining options to explore—starting on site. In the lobby is All Day, a coffee bar, sundries shop, and sandwich counter mash-up. Several floors up on the rooftop, guests will find a charmingly retro pool and open-air restaurant the Patio. Order a cocktail that pairs well with a lounge chair. (Want to make friends? All of the drinks can be ordered as a punch.) The John Daly, a boozed-up Arnold Palmer, is a nice antidote to the August heat. Come mealtime, grab a table and go with the Fullsteam roasted chicken, earning its name from a demi-glace made with the local brewery’s IPA (its tasting room is just a short walk away).
Insider Scoop: While in town, grab a pint of Unscripted India Pale Lager, a collaboration with Fullsteam Brewery.
A few other spots within steps of the hotel worth checking out: Loaf bakery, self-serve beer hall Pour Taproom, the modern diner Jack Tar and the Colonel’s Daughter, and Pizzeria Toro for wood-fired pies. End your evening back at Unscripted’s lobby bar, the Studio, where you can sip a nightcap on a plush mid-century modern sofa while Elvis Costello plays through the speakers overhead.