Kimpton Cardinal Hotel in Winston-Salem: A Family-friendly Experience

For our last night in our North Carolina home, we stayed at the Kimpton Cardinal Hotel in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The Kimpton Cardinal Hotel is a boutique hotel in the middle of the downtown that is the ultimate in family and pet-friendly. And if your family is competitive, this hotel will allow you to level up.

I worked at the now-defunct Baby + Co in Winston-Salem for several months while pregnant with our youngest. The experience was incredible with the families and my like-minded colleagues. I feel really lucky to have attended water births in an out of hospital birth center.

However, as they closed the freestanding birth center and transitioned to only hospital births, I resigned. Before coming to NC, I left my family and friends in Ohio to pursue my dreams of a birth center. If I was going to work at a hospital, I’d rather serve my community in Cleveland.

The thought of traveling with our small children and toddler was a bit overwhelming. But, road trips always are. As we bid the eclectic town of Winston-Salem farewell, we planned to go out in style.

Make sure to sign up for your IHG membership before staying at this hotel so you get the most bang for your buck. Unfortunately, valet parking is $23+ tax and tip a night- so make sure to account for that.

As members, this family-friendly hotel met most of our needs:

  • Free Wi-Fi for IHG members
  • Bar credit ($10)
  • Free pet accommodations without any weight and size restrictions
  • Complimentary wine hour each night
  • A yoga mat in every guest room with “roll out service” that you can request
  • Free coffee and tea each morning
  • 24-hour fitness center
  • A playland with a bowling alley, basketball court, ping-pong, and a slide
  • Essential travel items available upon request. Seriously- it’s incredible. They have everything from hair dye and bands to tweezers and curling irons or stain sheets. Check out the list.

Wine Hour

The wine hour is from 5-6 PM in the lobby of the Kimpton Cardinal Hotel in Winston-Salem. There are several different types to choose from and a staff member cheerfully pours.

Fun Fact: Kimpton is the first hotel company that offered a hosted wine hour each evening starting in 1981 (in San Francisco). Bill Kimpton wanted to provide a community for guests at the end of a long day.

Glass of rose wine and water

Wines are occasionally local and they are certainly delicious. There were also some snacks- but they contained gluten so we avoided them. I chose a rosé that I really enjoyed and took it down to the lower level to explore.

The Adult Playground

The space was like nothing else I have ever seen- giant scrabble, billiards and pool, a jukebox, bowling, a huge slide, and a basketball court. Seriously, any fun loving adult’s dream basement!

The jukebox was actually a CD player- so if you have any CDs you dream of playing… you can totally rock out!

My daughter was obsessed with playing basketball on an actual court!

Beyond the pool tables and billiards, the decor is contemporary and attractive.

The slide was so big and twirly for our daughter that she needed help! The two-story chute made for some memorable times.

This spot was absolutely memorable.

Another view of the top of the slide and the open rafters.

Pet friendly

Typically, we say that a hotel is dog friendly. However, Kimpton Cardinal hotels allow any breed. They welcome your pet by name and provide amenities like pet-beds, food, water bowls, and mats. However, if your dog barks, you will feel like you’re living in your own cone of shame. They are not nice and you are unable to leave your room/dog.

The “Director of Pet Relations” prepares a list of nearby pet-friendly restaurants, parks, and groomers. Finally, you’re given a door hanger to alert other guests and hotel staff that your pet is in the room. We thought this was a really interesting touch! Since we basically couldn’t leave our barking dog alone, we were excited to check it out.

Nearby Attractions

  1. Bailey Park is located in the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter in downtown Winston-Salem. It’s 1.6 acres of public green space. Go forth with your kiddos and play hard! they also have yoga, festivals, and food trucks.
  2. The historic West End is an incredible example of the turn of the century streetcar suburbs in North Carolina between 1887 to 1930. At the time, this was the western edge of Winston. Now, it is a central city neighborhood on the western edge of Winston-Salem. The landscape is picturesque, including terraced lawns with retaining walls, hilly topography, and curvy streets. The idyllic setting features lush parks and popular architectural settings from the early 1900s. Grace Court is at the center of the district. Even the asphalt streets are full of sophistication, covering historical granite curbs. There is a memorial marker to Daniel Boone in the middle of a traffic island with a bronze plaque on a mammoth granite arrowhead. The inscription celebrates Daniel Boone.

In memory of trail maker hunter and pioneer Daniel Boone who hunted, fished, and fought in the streams and forests of this and adjoining counties during the middle of the 18th Century”.

Nearby Dining

The Kimpton Cardinal Hotel in Winston-Salem touts family-friendly restaurants with healthy options for children. The restaurant, The Katharine, in the lobby provides high chairs and boosters. However, if you have a kiddo who struggles to sit quietly due to age or special needs, there is also in-room dining Sunday to Thursday until 10 PM and Friday to Saturday until 11 PM. They make it sound super fancy. Honestly, we were not impressed by the food at all.

Due to its proximity to Mellow Mushroom, we escaped. We enjoyed a gluten-free House Special pizza and a large Greek Salad. It was the perfect way to wrap up our time in Winston-Salem.

Sweet Potatoes features soul food with dishes like drunken pork chops and southernly fried chicken. If you’d prefer veggies, consider fried okra and green tomatoes!

Dogwood’s Hops & Crops offers two different experiences- either a whiskey bar or a sports bar feel. There are more than ten craft beers on tap. The menu is limited, but try a panini!

Krankies coffee is a fantastic breakfast spot with delicious coffee and plates of healthy breakfast fare. The portions are perfect! I love their huevos rancheros or the avocado toast.

The Hotel Rooms

The Kimpton Cardinal Hotel in Winston-Salem featured a large television and desk. For freelancers or remote business folk. There is also a luxurious robe for relaxation.

The minibar was ridiculously overpriced but full! Unless you get in at 2am and are looking or a nightcap, there is no reason to pay these prices!

I fell in love with the shower- subway tile, half a glass door, and a contemporary light fixture. The bathroom featured wall paper and a mirror. Fortunately, the space is gorgeously decorated.

If you’re looking for actual glassware for your wine, this place is in luck. See our little pup who is featured thanks to the pet-friendly environment.

The hotel provides an ice bucket and four wine glasses, all together. The bottles of water are expensive.

They also have expensive snacks- but if you belong to IHG you may get money towards your mini bar purchases.

The bed is lovely but felt tiny for us! Here is another vantage point of the bed and the sliding barn door to the bathroom at the Kimpton Cardinal Hotel in Winston-Salem.

Kimpton Cardinal Hotel in Winston-Salem

The Kimpton Cardinal Hotel in Winston-Salem had perks like being pet-friendly and close to downtown attractions. The room and the bed felt super small. The price is excessive and I don’t think I’d ever pay it again.

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aerial view of a blue billiards table at Kimpton-Cardinal Hotel at Wintston-Salem

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