We arrived in the pitch black on a January winter night and were greeted with a warm, “Welcome to Hotel Domestique! Can we offer you some bubbles?” And simultaneously, my YES PLEASE was trumped by my husband’s, “Oooo, boys! You want some bubbles?!” And I’m like babe, not those kind of bubbles. And we giggled and toasted to the weekend…with champagne…not soap.
Hotel Domestique is set in the mountains of South Carolina about 30 minutes from Greenville, a quaint town which boasts the world’s only pedestrian suspension bridge and about 15 minutes from Traveler’s Rest, a quiet little community put on the map as a respite for weary travelers back in the day. It’s also about a 45 minute hop, skip and a jump to the south’s beloved Asheville, SC and the Blue Ridge Mountains.
I was originally drawn to this 13 guest-room boutique hotel for one reason; Restaurant 17. Restaurant 17 is the hotel’s one and only restaurant/cafe/bar and prides itself in sourcing almost 100% from local farms and streams to showcase local ingredients and regional fare. These farms include:
- Grow Foods, Charleston, SC
- Apple Brandy Beef, N Wilkesboro, NC
- Beechwood Farms, Travelers Rest, SC
- Split Creek Farms, Anderson, SC
- Tyger River Smart Farm, Woodruff, SC
- Border Springs Farm, Patrick Springs, VA
- Allen Benton, Madisonville, TN
- Springer Mountain Farms, Mount Airy, GA
- Broken Oak Organics, Travelers Rest, SC
- Blue Ridge Creamery, Travelers Rest, SC
- Joyce Farms, Winston-Salem, NC
So when Hotel Domestique offered to host me and my family for the weekend, there was really only one thing to say; YES!
Restaurant 17 offers a full bar pouring up wines from around the world as well as several local craft beers. Their menu changes on a dime to reflect the seasons – locals might not know what they are going to get night to night but they do know it’s going to be locally sourced and prepared to the nines. Check out the four course, gluten free menu sous-chef Michael prepared for me and Jason for dinner on Saturday night. (P.S. I called ahead to let them know it was Jason’s birthday – how cute is this!?)
Chef had no problem whipping up a grilled cheese for Quinn, a grassfed cheeseburger for Cole and a bowl of house-made butter noodles for them to share.
Some cool perks…
We didn’t quite know what to expect from the hotel but there were some really cool perks that stood out to the both of us…
Hotel Domestique has three BMW’s available for guest use. One word; BALLIN! We took this one (above) out on Saturday to drive the family to Travelers Rest so we could rent bikes and hit up the area’s famous Swamp Rabbit Trail. I have to say, we’ve stayed at some nice places but this was a first for us.
P.S. Hotel Domestique is also fully equipped with a helicopter pad. Figures our chopper was in the shop this past weekend…..ha ha! I asked them if it gets used often and they said, it almost got used once by a famous cyclist but when his helicopter went to touch down it would have blown over the event’s portable restrooms so it had to land on the adjacent hill instead. Anyways, FYI it’s there if you need it.
One of Jason’s favorite perks was a set of Pelotons. Available anytime for guest use. He was all over this. You also see a massage table here and the hotel can arrange a massage and/or a 1:1 yoga class for guests either in-room or in this studio.
One of my favorite perks was a warm fire in almost every room and the hospitality nook offering complimentary trail mix, water, coffee and WINE all day.
One of the kid’s favorite perks was the fried french toast with whipped cream and strawberries for breakfast. Made-to-order breakfast is included with the stay. I got this local omelette with carrots, mushrooms and arugula on first morning. The second morning we hit up brunch at Caviar + Bananas in Greenville on our way out.
My family of 4 is rarely comfortable in a standard double queen hotel room. But these guest rooms are oversized and easily fit all of us comfortably. (We also brought a blowup for the kids which is a new move we are loving!)
All the doors to unoccupied rooms are left open so guests can explore. It really felt like more of a big house rather than a hotel. My kids loved riding their hover-board up and down the halls.
One of my favorite things about saying in hotels is turn-down service. Who’s with me!? I’ve always loved it but even more so now that we travel with kids. My kids only need 5 minutes to turn a kept room into a hot mess. And a gluten free sweet treat aside a tidied bed at the end of the night kind of erases all of that. Put it this way; Lady Sybil, Lady Mary, Lady Edith and Lady Lisa…Downton Abbey writers missed a huge opportunity here… HUGE.
The hotel’s salt water pool is only open seasonally unfortunately – this would have kept my kids busy all day! But Hotel Domestique has a partnership with a local wellness center about 10 minutes away where you can swim and use the facility for a nominal fee. They can also reserve a tennis court and/or a tee time at The Cliffs Communities.
On the way home, Jason turned to me and said, what did you think, would you recommend staying at Hotel Domestique? A legit question but it would depend on who was asking. It’s located in a pretty remote area with not a lot to do in the immediate vicinity. No walking trails and bikes require main road navigation and the closest restaurant outside of Restaurant 17 is in Travelers Rest about 15 minutes away. But that being said it’s perfect for the couple who is looking for a quick, quiet getaway, a girls weekend (being only 13 rooms, you could potentially rent out the whole place), a wedding reception, corporate events and the hotel does a lot of business with the cycling world too.
The restaurant though is a treat for anyone who lives in the area or for those passing through. I love that Restaurant 17 goes above and beyond to keep everything as local as possible. And that house-made chestnut flour pasta though! Definitely worth a stop.
And, not to go unnoticed, the hotel’s service is incredible. We pulled up late on Friday to the front door and didn’t move our car until Sunday when we left – talk about easy! Sounds like such a minor detail but when you’re traveling with kids, this is huge. The staff also helped us carry everything to our room and they were available 24/7 for any need or inkling.
The boy’s bikes were stored at the front desk on professional stands and Chad, the bide fitter, even offered to adjust Cole’s brake grip to fit his smaller hands.
We even got a call the day before our arrival to help iron out any last minute travel plans, restaurant bookings and special accommodations/requests.
Jason said this was one of his best birthdays yet. Have you been?
P.S. Check out my Organic City Guide and also all things organic in Atlanta!