When Matt McAlhaney created City Loft Hotel, he wanted to bring luxurious, modern accommodations to historic downtown Beaufort.
"What did not exist in Beaufort, in my observation, was an upscale hotel that was not a bed-and-breakfast ... something that was not a flagship hotel," said McAlhaney, a local real estate developer. He opened City Loft less than two weeks ago on the booming Carteret Street corridor after 18 months of construction.
The boutique-style hotel with just 23 rooms aims to blend contemporary style with the down-home Southern charm that draws visitors to the area, McAlhaney said.
The sleek, 60s-style design of the hotel's predecessor, the Red Carpet Inn, also played a part in McAlhaney's vision for City Loft.
Flat-screen televisions are in bedrooms and bathrooms, along with iPod lamps and 5-foot soaking tubs. Mahogany beds and traditional Bermuda shutters adorn the rooms, and the staff is trained to serve customers graciously, he said.
"You take elements of modern and traditional and you blend them together to try to create something that's wholly unique," McAlhaney said. "It really is a special place to stay."
Bringing the innovative hotel into downtown wasn't easy, he said. He worked carefully with the city's Historic District Review Board, which reviews the designs of all new construction with an eye for preservation and protection of the area's character.
"There was a great deal of give and take," McAlhaney said. "In the end, I was appreciative of the input of the board, and the building was ultimately approved."
The hotel also works in tandem with the adjoining City Java and News and City Fit. Guests are delivered morning coffee and newspapers from the coffee shop and have access to the private gym.
Several visitors to Beaufort already have chosen to stay at City Loft, McAlhaney said.
"A lot of locals have told their friends and family that are coming in town, and we're just now beginning to get discovered," he said. "Since we've been open, we've had guests from their late 20s to early 70s. It has a broad base of appeal."
OTHER BUSINESS NEWS
Other recent business openings, closings and changes in the Beaufort area:
• Beaufort Lifestyle magazine recently held its grand opening at Habersham.
The reception was also a launch party for the premier issue of the magazine -- a new, bi-monthly publication about Beaufort's history, culture, industries and lifestyle.
WHAT IS ABOUT TOWN?
As you drive around northern Beaufort County, you notice a sign for a new shop, new construction or road work. Or you realize that an old store you once frequented has gone out of business. About Town answers the question, "What's going on here?"
If you have information about something that has changed the local landscape or if you wonder about one of those changes and would like us to tell you more about it, contact reporter Marti Covington at firstname.lastname@example.org or 843-706-8147.