South by South America
The Kessler Collection’s latest addition, the Grand Bohemian Hotel Charlotte, is an elegant, funky-meets-luxury art haven in the heart of Uptown Charlotte’s financial district. It debuted in the midst of the pandemic after months of delays, but the 254-room hotel is now buzzing with guests checking in and visitors looking to spend an evening at Argentine restaurant Mico or Búho Bar on the hotel’s rooftop. The hotel lobby’s stark white marble floors, black and red furniture, and Lucite accents give way to the bold teal-and-dark wood dining room of Mico. Throughout both spaces, a series of paintings depict well-dressed museum patrons taking in famous works of art. At the outdoor Bohemian Garden, hot pink and sage green filigree chairs offer an outdoor respite for a quick lunch, best enjoyed with a Cava-topped Garden Spritz.
THE NEIGHBORHOOD: With the Grand Bohemian as a home base, it’s a quick walk to the Charlotte Convention Center, Truist Field (home of the city’s minor league baseball team), the Carolina Panthers’ stadium, and an exceptional duo of art museums: the Mint Museum Uptown for global works and the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art with pieces from the twentieth century.
THE FOOD SCENE: Under the dim, gold glow from several crystal chandeliers, Mico offers diners a wood-fired taste of Argentina. Choose from a selection of steaks topped with chimichurri, merguez-spiced lamb shoulder with coriander labneh, and local shrimp over house-milled polenta and spotted trotter ‘Nduja. The star, though, is the wine list, which boasts some two-dozen bottles of Argentine Malbec grown at exceptionally high altitudes—opt for a flight to mull over the nuances across four varieties. For a nightcap, head up to Búho Bar, an open-air cocktail lounge with sweeping views of the city. The gold-wrapped bar functions a bit like theater-in-the-round, putting the mixologists on center stage as they craft over-the-top cocktails that are more sensory experience than libation. Take the Machu Picchu: Clipped to the glass with a miniature clothespin is a flower that ancient Mayans used medicinally for its numbing properties. For the full effect, imbibers are instructed to take a small bite of the flower, then a nibble of the honeycomb skewered across the glass, then a sip of the cucumber-and-lime vodka cocktail. The result is lightly sweet and botanical with a tingling coolness that keeps you coming back for more.
THE DIGS: Plush velvet accents and rich jewel tones make each room feel luxurious while high-tech touches—touchscreen keypads outside each elevator bank replace the interior buttons; the wellness center is outfitted with Peloton bikes—make your trip effortless.
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