Uptown used to have a department store on North Tryon. Ivey’s Department Store was established in 1900 and developed a reputation for being one of the region’s most visited and upscale department stores. George Ivey, Jr., President of Ivey’s, was instrumental in The Odell Plan: a plan that aimed to curb the drain of people, businesses and revenue from Uptown.
Follow these steps for my perfect staycation at The Ivey’s:
Pick your room for a retreat
For a little more than the price of a fancy dinner and drinks out for two, you can forget about your laundry, yard work, etc. and unplug for a night in a swanky uptown hotel on a staycation. A one-night stay starts around $250.
Ivey’s is also offering 10 percent off your stay with breakfast included if you book seven days in advance. If you really want to go big, they also have Suite Dreams and Culinary Experience packages that include a bottle of champagne with a late (1 p.m.) checkout and $100 to spend at 5Church and/or Sophia’s Lounge, respectively.
Depending on your goal — relaxation vs. being in the middle of it all — The Ivey’s has both quiet atrium-view rooms that face their completely redecorated atrium or city-view rooms that let you sleep in the heart of uptown.
Explore the history in the hotel
Putting the building’s history aside, there is a plethora of details throughout the hotel that offer their own interesting, quirky, and charming stories. Look around and you’re sure to find a design element with a story.
For example, the wooden floors under your feet are no ordinary boards. They are actually the reclaimed 400-year-old-oak wallboards from a French winery. Simply cruising through the lobby of Ivey’s or taking in the scenery at Sophia’s Lounge gives you a glimpse into the painstaking procurement of the hotel’s décor. It’s mostly authentic Parisian flea market finds that were collected by Brett Krueger, MRK’s VP, over the course of two years.
Much of the art pieces are enlargements of French magazine ads hotel management personally ripped from stacks and stacks of old magazines. They have archives of the originals in the business office.
Even if you’re not a watch enthusiast, the 10,000 watch faces scattered throughout the hallways and common areas in interesting framed arrangements are a highlight of the Ivey’s décor.
The furniture is all custom-made in Miami and oozes luxury in deep jewel tones and rich, buttery fabrics.
Visit The Library Lounge
After check-in, I’d make my way to The Library Lounge for a wine and cheese welcome. French flair with Southern hospitality reign at The Ivey’s.
Take in the arts
After dropping your bags in your room and resisting disappearing into the soaking tub, make your way down to First Ward Park for their Friday Night Summer concert series Live on the Green (hurry, there’s only one left Aug. 25!). If you miss the boat on summer concerts, Uptown Crawl is an excellent monthly alternative that gives you free access to many nearby galleries and museums.
Walk to dinner
Mosey to dinner along The Liberty Walk for a walking history tour from Third Ward through Uptown.
Then take your pick from Essex, Sea Level, 5Church, and 7th Street Public Market, which are all favorite recommendations from hotel staff.
I recommend Poplar, a cute wine bar with tapas and live music on weekend evenings in a repurposed historic Fourth Ward home.
Have a nightcap at Sophia’s Lounge
Top off the evening in the luxe atmosphere of Sophia’s Lounge, on the ground level of The Ivey’s. The space holds expensive art, velvet sofas, custom chandeliers and craft cocktails.
Finally back in your room to unwind, set your eyes on that soaking tub and fluffy bed.
Photos: Nicole Brantley