Celebrating 100 Years of The Carolina Inn

By: TLP's Partners

For over a century, The Carolina Inn has been a mainstay of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus, offering refined Southern hospitality in a historic setting. Located just steps from the UNC campus, the Inn is conveniently situated near the medical center, football stadium, basketball arena, and the charming Franklin Street. Recently refreshed and recognized as an AAA Four Diamond Hotel, The Carolina Inn is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, solidifying its status as a longtime landmark in Chapel Hill. 


The Inn boasts a rich history, having hosted notable figures such as President Obama, James Taylor, Andy Griffith, Yo-Yo Ma, and many more. Throughout the halls on each floor, an impressive collection of photos showcases notable UNC alumni, faculty, and North Carolina milestones. However, it is the stories of ordinary lodgers that truly make this hotel compelling, as it has provided a home away from home for a century. 

Originally built in 1924 by UNC alum John Sprunt Hill, The Carolina Inn was designed by Arthur C. Nash in Southern Colonial style, incorporating Georgian, neoclassical, and European influences. After operating as a private enterprise for a decade, Hill generously donated the property to the university in 1935 with the vision of “a cheerful inn for visitors, a town hall for the state, and a home for returning sons and daughters of alma mater.” This act of generosity ensured that the profits generated by the inn would support the North Carolina Collection once expenses were met. 

Lobby at the Carolina Inn

Throughout the years, The Carolina Inn has undergone multiple renovations to restore its original grandeur while offering guests the most modern services and amenities. Recent restoration work has included the expansion and upgrade of the fitness center, and the renovation of guestrooms. The South Lobby and the hotel gift shop have also received renovations, ensuring that guests experience the utmost comfort and convenience during their stay. 

As The Carolina Inn celebrates 100 years of operation, it remains a cherished gathering place for visitors, students, faculty, returning alumni, and local townspeople. Its timeless charm, historic significance, and commitment to exceptional service have made it a beloved lodging destination in Chapel Hill. Whether you’re a visitor, UNC alum, or simply want to be near the historic Franklin Street, The Carolina Inn continues to offer a unique and memorable experience that captures the spirit of this renowned university town. 

100th Anniversary Celebration Events  

Twenty Four – August 17 
Travel back in time during the 1920s Centennial Dinner presented in the iconic Old Well Ballroom. Enjoy an evening inspired by an age gone by, expertly presented with curated décor, a live band, dancing, and entertainment. Feast on favorite dishes with a menu that allows you to journey through the culinary decades beginning with some of the inn’s specialties from 1924. Sip on a hand-crafted cocktail and take a moment to imagine what life was like back in the Roaring Twenties and how delicious it continues to be at the inn today. Reservations Required. Reserved Seating. View Menu. Book Now.

A spring dining room table scape at the Carolina Inn in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Centennial Tea – February 11, March 17, April 14, May 19, June 9 
The legendary afternoon tea will have a twist this year to celebrate the Inn’s centennial anniversary. Enjoy a 1920s-inspired assortment of sweet and savory tea items freshly made by the culinary team. Enjoy the experience in one of the historical parlors and learn how afternoon tea has evolved over that last 100 years. Guests will be sent off with a little surprise to enjoy at home. Reserve a moment with us and make a memory that will last a lifetime. Reservations Required. Seating Limited. Book Now

Kids Centennial Birthday Celebration – March 24, June 15 
To celebrate the Inn’s centennial anniversary, join us in creating, building, and naming your very own commemorative teddy bear. This unforgettable event will be filled with storytelling and birthday treats. Ideal for ages 5-10 years. Reservations Required. Seating Limited. Book Now.

Kids Etiquette Class – March 9, June 1 
Taught by a certified etiquette and protocol professional, your children will learn dining do’s and don’ts during a four-course meal. Each child will receive a certificate at the graduation ceremony to wrap up the lunch. Please dress appropriately. Business casual. Reservations Required. Seating Limited. Book Now

Historic Tours – Graduation Weekend, May 10-12 
Want to know the story behind The Carolina Inn’s history? Enjoy an afternoon glass of champagne accompanied by canapes and sweets as you meander the hallways with a local historian and learn the story of how The Inn became your home away from home. Reservations Required. Seating Limited. 

Plan your stay at The Carolina Inn today at

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