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

The Kimpton Cardinal Hotel in Winston-Salem is a boutique mid-century modern hotel in the middle of the downtown that is pet-friendly. The hotel room is a little small for families, but there is so much to do nearby that you may not spend any time in the room at all. And if your family is competitive, this hotel’s recreation room will allow you to level up.

Address: 401 North Main Street, Winston-Salem, NC, USA

Phone: (336) 724-1009

The Kimpton Cardinal takes up residence in the old R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company headquarters. Thinking this 1929 art deco skyscraper looks familiar? Believe it or not, this statuesque building was the inspiration for the Empire State Building. At 344 feet tall, it was once the tallest building in North Carolina and is on the National Register of Historic Places

Street view of the Kimpton Cardinal hotel in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Disclosure: I may make a small amount of money from any purchase you make from an affiliate. However, I will only give my honest reviews and recommendations.

What amenities does the Kimpton Cardinal Hotel in Winston-Salem offer?

Make sure to sign up for your IHG Rewards Club membership before staying at this hotel, so you get the most bang for your buck. Parking is not free at the Kimpton Cardinal Hotel in Winston-Salem. Unfortunately, valet parking is $23+ tax and tip a night- so make sure to account for that.

The hotel was way more expensive than we expected! However, if you’re looking for an immersive experience- the Kimpton offers massages and bicycles to cruise around downtown Winston-Salem.

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

  • Free Wi-Fi for IHG Rewards Club 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 to 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 at Kimpton Cardinal wine happy hour

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

The Adult Playground

Bowling alley and shoes at Kimpton Cardinal hotel in Winston-Salem, NC

The 1867 square foot recreation area was like nothing else I have ever seen. The hotel recreation space features giant Scrabble, billiards and pool, a jukebox, bowling alley, a giant twisty slide, and a basketball court. Seriously, any fun-loving adult’s dream basement!

Scrabble and juke box at Kimpton Cardinal in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

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

Free juke box at Kimpton in downtown Winston

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

Basketball court in the basement at Kimpton Cardinal in Winston-Salem, NC

My family was excited to see the pool table before we even got to the space. If you’re looking for a recreational experience in Winston-Salem, the Kimpton Cardinal provides it all including free wine.

Beyond the pool tables and billiards, the decor is contemporary and attractive. The Kimpton Cardinal’s beautiful chandeliers were gorgeous enough that I contemplated googling matching decor for my home.

Billiards and pool table downstairs in Kimpton Cardinal Hotel at Winston-Salem

The slide was so immense and twirly that our toddler daughter needed help! The bright blue two-story chute made for some memorable times. Be honest- every child’s (and MY) wildest dreams include using a slide as a way to move between floors!

Slide from the top of the stairs down to the play area in the basement at Kimpton Cardinal Winston-Salem

This spot was memorable and like an adult wonderland. Although, my children absolutely adored it too. If you’re looking to jump into a book, there are many novels to peruse.

Oodles of books on the bookshelves of the Kimpton Cardinal in Winston, NC

Another view of the top of the slide and the open rafters. The industrial look gave the area a contemporary yet industrial feel.

The blue plastic slide top in the basement of the Kimpton Cardinal in Winston-Salem, NC

Pet friendly

Typically, we say that this Winston-Salem 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.

The “Director of Pet Relations” prepares a list of nearby pet-friendly restaurants, parks, and groomers. Finally, receive 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!

However, if your dog barks, you will feel like you’re living in your own cone of shame. They are not nice, and you cannot leave your dog behind in the room. BringFido provides a list of local dog-friendly attractions which saved us from being stranded in the room for the entire staycation.

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.

Television and desk area at IHG Kimpton Cardinal Hotel in Winston-Salem, NC in standard suite
The robe ironing board, safe, yoga mat, and iron in the closet at the Kimpton Cardinal in Winston-Salem, NC

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

The minibar full of soda, booze, an sparkling water at the Kimpton Cardinal in Winston-Salem, NC

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

The shower in the standard room at the IHG Kimpton Cardinal Winston-Salem, NC
The bathroom with fancy wallpaper and beautiful silver mirror at IHG Kimpton Cardinal Winston-Salem

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

Bottle of water, ice bucket, and glasses at Kimpton Cardinal in Winston-Salem, NC

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

Chips, wine, snack bars, and trail mix at Kimpton Cardinal in Winston-Salem, NC

They also have expensive snacks- but if you are a member of the IHG Rewards Club, you may get money towards your mini bar purchases. We received a $10 voucher for the mini bar, tried a local craft soda, and let our daughter nosh on some candy.

Bed in standard suite at IHG Kimpton Cardinal in Winston-Salem North Carolina

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.

Bed at the IHG Kimpton Cardinal in Winston

Attractions near the Kimpton Winston-Salem

  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. Historic ghost tours in Winston-Salem: The tour is by candlelight, but appropriate for kids. It lasts about 90 minutes and teaches you about the original settlement and Winston-Salem’s Revolutionary war history. The tour goes through the West End Historid District and discusses over 300 years of history. If you’ve followed my haunted adventures in Denver, you’ll know that ghost tours are a passion!
  3. 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.
  4. The hotel is about two miles from the R. J. Reynolds auditorium. It’s not walkable, but is a less than seven minute drive.

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”.

Dining by the Kimpton Cardinal in Winston-Salem

The Kimpton Cardinal Hotel in Winston-Salem touts family-friendly restaurants with healthy options for children. The Katharine restaurant 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 to our all-time favorite pizza restaurant. 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!

If you’re looking to get caffeinated and visit my favorite spot for the short time I was a local, look no further than Krankies. Krankies coffee is a fantastic breakfast spot with delicious coffee and healthy breakfast fare. The plated portions are perfect- not too big nor too small! I love their huevos rancheros and avocado toast.

Final Thoughts on the Kimpton Cardinal Hotel in Winston-Salem

We stayed at the Kimpton Cardinal Hotel in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, for our last night in our North Carolina home. It was truly one of the nicest hotels in Winston Salem, NC. The Kimpton Cardinal Hotel in Winston-Salem had perks like being pet-friendly and close to downtown attractions.

Unfortunately, the room and the bed felt super small. The price is excessive, and I don’t think I’d ever pay it again. However, boutique hotels like the Kimpton in Winston-Salem often command a higher price tag.

Why did you stay at the Kimpton Cardinal Hotel in Winston-Salem?

While pregnant with our youngest, I worked at the now-defunct Baby + Co in Winston-Salem for several months. The experience was incredible with the families and my like-minded colleagues. I feel fortunate 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.

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aerial view of a blue billiards table at Kimpton-Cardinal Hotel at Wintston-Salem: A gluten-free and pet-friendly travel adventure
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