The Ballantyne Hotel: A Luxury Family Resort
Have you ever wondered about staying at a luxury hotel but were apprehensive because you have young children? Us too!
Rated as one of the best hotels in Charlotte, NC, The Ballantyne Hotel is a place where high class, superior service, and family-friendly combine.
With summer break drawing to a close, we felt the itch to squeeze in one final, epic family vacation. AND, while we were at it, we were going out in style. The Ballantyne Hotel, a luxury family resort seemed fitting. Despite there not being many other families with small children, the staff made us feel welcome and our needs were addressed.
Read on to hear the full review of our stay at ’The Ballantyne Hotel: A Luxury Collection Hotel.'
I've stayed at plenty of hotels in my lifetime, but the accommodations at the Ballantyne? They're truly out of this world. And with three lodging options (The Ballantyne, The Lodge, and The Cottage) there's something for everyone.
We opted to stay in the center of the action at The Ballantyne, and let me tell you, it was fancy! From the moment you enter the main lobby, you're greeted with rich decor and luxurious white furnishings. My first thought, "Oh no, this is wayyy too exquisite for our wild crew." (But, to my delight, I was wrong! More on that later.)
We chose a 'Grand Deluxe Room' and no lie, it was the 'perfect' room for us. Not only was it spacious, but it also provided gorgeous views of the golf course and water fountains. But the best part? The amenities. The separate, over-sized marble bathtub, upscale bath products, plush beds, robes, slippers, and a fully stocked mini bar were all divine! So what the peanuts in the mini bar were $16! They were the best darn peanuts I've ever had!
The only downsides to our room were that it did not include a mini fridge or coffee maker.
The Lodge at the Ballantyne is one-block from the main hotel and offers an 'atmosphere reminiscent of a North Carolina mountain-style hunting lodge.' The rooms are large, comfortable, and include even more sophisticated amenities.The Lodge also has its own fitness center and an outdoor fire pit.
This option would be ideal for wedding parties, family reunions, or business events where everyone can be located in one area.
Now if you're really looking to live it up, The Cottage is your answer. This private, 3600 + sq foot charming property has 4 king bedrooms (each with a private bath), a gourmet kitchen, and complimentary golf cart transport to and from the hotel. How fun, right?!
When we travel, we specifically choose resorts that offer enough on-site activities so you don't even have to leave. Because juggling car seats, navigating public transportation, and arranging Ubers (with kids) can be a real pain!
Although it would be difficult to pick a favorite activity at The Ballantyne, I think the kids would agree that the five pools would be at the top of their list. With an indoor pool, two resistance lap pools, a hot tub, AND an outdoor pool - we were BUSY!
The outdoor pool (open April - November) also has a full-service bar and cabanas available for rent. The food at the pool was your average 'pool food', BUT the cabanas were insanely reasonable. Only $50 for the day! The lavender-scented, chilled face towels were a nice touch too.
Ranging from 1.2 to 3.5 miles, the paved walking paths are a great family activity. You’ll enjoy beautiful views while burning off some energy!
*pro tip: Head out early morning or early evening as the North Carolina sun is HOT, and the latter part of the 1.2 mile loop is not well-shaded.
Walking not your thing? No problem! Complimentary bike rentals are available to resort guests. HOWEVER, if you're looking for a family adventure, you'll need to bring your kids' bikes and helmets as these are not offered.
One of things I wish we would've taken advantage of during our stay, the lighted tennis courts! There are only two courts at The Ballantyne, but that's actually perfect. Ryan and I could have easily played a few games while the kids ran around the other. And even though we didn't bring our rackets, equipment is available through the concierge.
What can we say? We LOVE free activities and we also love golf! This isn't particularly advertised on their website, BUT we asked the golf attendant and he gave us the green light. Free to resort guests, the putting green located near The Gallery Restaurant is a fun pre-dinner activity for the whole family.
Unique sitting areas
Have some time to kill? Or looking for a quiet escape? Throughout the halls of the Ballantyne you'll find numerous sophisticated seating areas that overlook its gorgeous grounds. And just steps outside, there are even more options to relax, unwind, and enjoy the picturesque views.
Located in the hotel lobby, The Ryal is a classy, yet inviting space that offers both indoor and outdoor seating. We grabbed a quick bite there each morning and were satisfied with their selection of pastries, fruit, and dried cereals. (However, if you're looking for a bigger meal to start the day, you can order from the main restaurant, The Gallery.)
And despite not having coffee makers in the guest rooms, The Ryal does provide free, unlimited coffee and tea daily until 9 am.
Now if you’re dining at The Gallery, prepare yourself, you’re in for a real treat. Impeccable service and exceptional cuisine await. The staff was prompt and always one step ahead of our energetic little ones. Immediately upon being seated they delivered crayons, plastic cups with water, and cleared all of the extra glasses!
At The Gallery it was the small details that took this meal from a solid A to an A+. Like the choice of cucumber / lemon / lime in your water, or the complimentary macaroons at the end. The food was incredible and overall it was an experience like none other.
One of my newest favorite activities while traveling is enjoying afternoon tea with the girls. Sadly, we didn’t get the chance to partake at The Ballantyne, but look at the gorgeous setup!
Thursday - Sunday 1-4 pm (reservations required)
Normally, I wouldn’t rave about room service, but this was fresh, fast, and delicious! At The Ballantyne, in-room dining is offered 24-hours a day.
Fitness Center + Spa
Like customer service and exceptional dining, a stellar fitness center can take a resort to the next level. Located between the indoor pools and spa, it was a large gym with a wide array of cardio equipment, free weights, TRX and more.
The fresh fruit and cold water upon exiting were a great way to start the day!
The Spa at Ballantyne
Three things I wish we would’ve had more time to experience during our stay at The Ballantyne: 1) afternoon tea, 2) tennis, 3) and the Spa! Aside from standard spa services, they also offer indigenous treatments aimed to enhance wellness and nurture the body. Sign. Me. Up.
Located 11-miles from the Ballantyne, Carowinds Amusement and Theme Park is a ‘must-visit’ when visiting Charlotte with kids. Even the tiniest of travelers will enjoy themselves as there are a variety of rides and activities for kids of all ages. Shaded play areas, train rides, carnival games, authentic southern cuisine, and of course, the water park - this place has it all!
Pack lots of liquids, snacks, and water gear, a fun family day lies ahead. (Stay tuned for the full blog post, ‘Carowinds Amusement Park: A First-Timers Guide’!)
Love shopping? With over 150 stores and 20 eateries, The SouthPark Mall in Charlotte does not disappoint. Located only 9-miles from The Ballantyne, it is also home to an American Girl store, an experience your daughter will remember forever.
And if you’ve got restless little ones in tow, there's also a shaded play area available outside.
If you’ve been following our blog, you know that customer service is priority #1 in my book when traveling with kids (heck, for life in general!). Like the food, rooms and amenities - the customer service at The Ballantyne was one of those rare extraordinary experiences.
Throughout our stay, numerous examples exemplified their commitment to service. The friendly concierge escorted us to our room and the housekeeping staff carefully laid the girl’s American Girl dolls and ’stuffies’ on the beds, to name a few.
Even with three young kids, we never felt like we were ‘outsiders’. If anything, the staff went above and beyond to ensure that we were well-taken care of, making our stay even more memorable.
In summary, if you’re looking for a luxury family vacation with high-class amenities and exceptional service, The Ballantyne fits the bill. We felt there were plenty of on-site activities and enough dining options to keep us well entertained for a 2-day stay. And although The Ballantyne is family friendly, it’s not necessarily a ‘family resort.'
We saw many couples without their kids, so it leads me to think that it draws more people for a couples getaway (and I can see why!) than a family vacation. Either way, we truly enjoyed our time and are already scheming a return for a Christmas shopping trip, just me and Ryan!
Do stay at luxury resorts when traveling with kids? If so, what are some of your favorites! I’d love to hear!