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Visiting Chapel Hill, North Carolina? The Rizzo Center is the perfect hotel for your stay! We won our overnight stay in a drawing, but all opinions expressed in this post are my own.
Arriving at the Rizzo Center
Living in neighboring Durham, travel to the Rizzo Center was very easy. The ten minute drive took me somewhere I’d never been and had no clue existed. This resort is only three miles away from the UNC campus and hospital, making it a perfect place to stay if you’re visiting either. Located a few minutes off I-40, this is an easy place to get to, whether by car or flying into the nearby Raleigh-Durham airport.
The front desk personnel quickly checked us in. The lobby is so much more spacious than I expected. Multiple seating areas were available, which were repeated on the other guest floors.
Staff gave us maps to the hotel, recommended where to park, and made several recommendations on activities based on what we said we wanted to do. One of the maps included a walking trail through the neighborhood and Meadowmont when I asked for a two-mile loop.
As a 183-room facility, Rizzo is a perfect place to come solo, or as a group for a family reunion or special event. During our stay, we met a couple vacationing from New Jersey, families attending a family reunion, and several families with their business school graduates. The resort is managed by Destination Hotels, who manage 40 highly ranked properties throughout the US. The Rizzo Center is part of a complex operated by the business school at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Conference rooms throughout the resort and classrooms in neighboring buildings make this an ideal resort for companies and other interest groups hosting meetings.
Our seating area, with a sliding door to the balcony.We were shown to a suite! Not only did we have a separate sitting area and wet bar, we had a balcony. Comfy sitting chairs on the balcony made for a nice seating area and though it was warm, ceiling fans made it tolerable. Access to the balcony could be gained through sliding doors in both the bedroom and the sitting area.
The kitchen area had a sink and a small fridge. A coffee machine helped get going in the morning! The sitting area also had a small desk with a work station to plug in laptops.
Each area had a TV. A sink in the wet bar area, including a small refrigerator. While there wasn’t a microwave there, the nearest available microwave could be found a few steps away in the guest pantry.
The king size bed was comfortable and had clean and fluffy bedding. I slept really well! The updated bathroom with luxurious shower felt decadent. I enjoyed the full-sized toiletries, which I feel are more environmentally friendly.
I loved the full size toiletries. The shower was modern and luxurious!
Spacious standard rooms.We peeked into one of the other rooms while it was being cleaned. A king sized bed commanded the space. The room was essentially similar to our room except that it did not have the sitting area. I did not peek into the bathroom, so I can’t comment on the size of it. Other standard rooms feature double queen sized beds, which is what we use when traveling as a family.
The Sports Bar was the crown jewel to our stay, due to our server, Tonya. The cocktail menu was extensive but she guided us well through the draft beer choices. We thought we were ordering a small appetizer, but you can see from the size of my nachos, that I even had enough for leftovers (which went into our mini fridge). If you’re a tar heel fan, you’ll enjoy the decor which features lots of memorabilia. A pool table provided entertainment for some youngsters with the wedding party. Some graduates celebrated. Tonya either knew everyone or remembered some guests from the previous night. I love a bar where you feel like a special guest!
Our stay included a buffet breakfast, which helps in planning your travel budget. The options were extensive. We went full breakfast by taking some eggs, bacon, sausage, and potatoes. Healthier options included yogurt, fruit and oatmeal. The pastries looked deliciously tempting! We enjoyed the outdoors since it wasn’t too hot. The quiet of the woods and the sounds of nature really made it feel as if we were far away from civilization!
Wait, what?!? Ever feel like you need a soda or a snack but since you’re in a hotel, you have to hunt down a vending machine? Guests floors feature “guest pantries” where you can get some popcorn or an ice cream, or pick up a drink. We enjoyed a night watching movies in bed while eating popcorn!
Staying for a lengthy stay? Or visiting your son or daughter at school and they want to do laundry? I’m one of those people who spills everything on herself, so accessible laundry facilities are a great plus. The Rizzo Center has multiple laundry facilities throughout each floor – perfect for long-term or short term stays.
With a well-equipped gym, you can maintain your workout while you’re staying at the Rizzo Center. Both water and clean towels were plentiful. Some loose weights were available in a corner in addition to the cardio and strength machines.
I debated making the pool its own category! We visited during warm weather and were able to enjoy an afternoon of sun. Unlike most hotel pools, there was plenty of seating options available. The towels by the pool are super fluffy. If you like to swim laps, this is a great pool to do so. I saw several guests swimming laps both in the evening and early morning. Most importantly, this pool is handi-accessible for guests with mobility issues.
The property was donated to the school by the Barbee family. Cool little signs tell you about some historical aspects throughout the grounds. And if you want something more active than walking around, a basketball court is available to guests.
The DuBose House is also on the property and available for special functions. How great would it be to celebrate a special event here? And it would be so convenient for guests of the event to stay across the street at the Rizzo Center.
Raining and forgot your umbrella? Fret not! Rizzo has you covered with an umbrella stand by the front lobby doors. Water fountains that allow refills of water bottles are found throughout. And there is free WiFi throughout the resort – including in the pool area.
Visiting Chapel Hill
The Rizzo Center is located down Meadowmont Lane, in a residential area. But you wouldn’t even realize that you are just outside of a major growing area. Meadowmont Village features several restaurants, studios, and boutiques. Some medical offices for UNC Chapel Hill (including my cardiologist!) are found at Meadowmont, making access to the facilities from Rizzo Center super convenient.
Our driver during the visit was Dawuud. He explained the different dining options and offered to drive us to wherever we wanted. When we finished our Meadowmont visit, we called Dawuud to pick us up. Five minutes later, we were in an air conditioned van going back to our suite to enjoy watching a movie in bed!
Why You Should Stay Here
I highly recommend going to a local hotel for your staycation – it helped to feel like we were away from our ordinary commitments at home. And if you’re in this area, consider a stay at the Rizzo Center! You can make reservations through their website.
Annick, The Common Traveler