I was definitely excited for this little road trip. I was ready to leave work on Thursday at noon and drive the five-and-a-half hours from Frederick to Greensboro, North Carolina and hit the town. I was sure that we’d come away from the trip with loads to tell you about the North Carolina town for this week’s blog post. Well, that didn’t quite work out like we had planned.
We arrived at the hotel around six o’clock and I was exhausted, but still mustered up the strength to accompany Amanda to the cocktail hour with the other speakers, but by the time that was done, I was done, exhausted. We didn’t even have the strength to wait the 45 minutes to be seated at the hotel restaurant. We checked with the front desk and they recommended a pizza restaurant that could deliver to our room. So, after gorging ourselves on a great pizza (the crust was brushed with garlic butter and dusted with Parmesan) we promptly fell asleep.
The next morning we woke up refreshed and ready to tackle Converge South, the social media conference that brought us to Greensboro in the first place. The day was long but we both felt we learned a lot and are looking forward to attending again next year. We ran out to downtown Greensboro and had a bite to eat then quickly found ourselves back in the hotel room and ready for bed.
So, instead of this post being about Greensboro, a place we’d love to get to know but didn’t get the chance, we’ll focus on the place we spent most of our non-conference time, the O. Henry Hotel.
The eight-floor hotel just outside downtown Greensboro is a haven of class and sophistication. The exterior is modeled on the original O. Henry Hotel built in downtown Greensboro in 1919 and demolished in the 1970s. The neoclassical façade and use of brick make the new O. Henry feel like a grand dame hotel of a bygone era. The high ceilings in the lobby with detailed wooden inlay and tapestries hanging from the walls invoke a feeling of majesty and yet make visitors feel welcome, which is due in no small part to the friendliness of the staff.
The porters and door men greet you with a smile and hello and ask you how your day was as you enter the lobby. Staff-members at the desk were ready to help with any question; how do you think we got the number for the Hungry Howie’s pizza? The staff floating around the hotel lobby going to or from one place or another would always great you with a “hello, how are you?” or that quintessential greeting that lets you know you’re in the south “how are y‘all?”
The room was very nice with a large soft bed and feather pillows. A desk, a soft chair and a love seat filled the room but didn’t make it feel crowded at all. The bathroom had both a shower and a separate soaking tub and a large vanity with enough space that you didn’t need a second, but if you did there was an extra vanity outside the bathroom next to the closet. I can’t remark enough about how much I like the bathroom. I would love to redo the one in our condo just like it, but alas I don’t think we have enough space to make it work (and I’ve been told that getting rid of the walk-in closet is out of the question).
The cost of a beer at the hotel bar was about on par with most other upscale hotels. I paid $5 for a Guinness from the tap, which is still $2.50 less than you spend at a ballpark for a watered down Miller Lite. The food at the Green Valley Grill, the hotel’s restaurant, looked good enough to draw a plenty of customers that weren’t staying on site. We did find out that if you wanted to eat at the Print Works Bistro — a restaurant at the sister hotel down the street called the Proximity — you could get a complementary cab ride in one of the hotel’s London-style cabs.
The hotel even takes time in the décor to pay homage to Greensboro native and world renowned short story writer William Sydney Porter, know to the readers around the world as O. Henry. The copper doors inside the elevators are outlined with the titles of O. Henry short stories and copies of his short stories such as “Gift of the Maji” are available on your bedside table to read.
We both would definitely recommend the O. Henry if you are staying in Greensboro. The ease of travel in and out of downtown and the attentive staff are certainly worth the price of the room.