As you ride down U.S. 15-501 in rural Chatham County in North Carolina, it may be hard for you to believe that one of the top five-star hotels in the U.S. calls this part of the rural South home.
When you come upon the entrance of Fearrington Village and spot some adorable and rare Belted Galloway cows and goats in the pasture, you may wonder: What am I going to do out here?
Well, I’ve got news for you. Once you check into the Fearrington House Inn in Fearrington Village, you relax and soak up all that this sophisticated country inn has to offer and you may never want to leave.
Fearrington House Inn is only eight miles from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is only four miles from the historic town of Pittsboro with quaint shops. So, in reality, you really aren’t far from anywhere when you check in here. It’s just that this inn makes you feel as if you have escaped to life at a slower pace.
With its quaint gardens and beautiful interiors, Fearrington House Inn is part of the well-respected Relais&Chateaux membership, with its strict standards on hospitality and gourmet cuisine.
Relais&Chateaux, founded in Europe, represents 520 charming properties in 60 countries. Inns in this membership tend to be small, luxurious, and family-owned and make you feel as if you are staying in someone’s home.
These properties are top of the line. With inn rooms at the Fearrington House Inn starting at $325 and suites starting at $545, stays are not inexpensive, but this inn is certainly worthy of special occasions for those who like to splurge now and then on travels. All rates include a gourmet breakfast and afternoon tea.
It’s not the type of property where valets and a doorman swoop down on you upon arrival. That’s what I love about it. It is more understated, European elegance, but first-class all the way. There is not a big hotel lobby, but rather small living rooms for guests to relax and have a cup of complimentary coffee.
Check-in is in a small office with a simple sign. Your host will walk you to your room, or if you are in one of the annex buildings, as we were, you will follow the host in your car while he rides in his golf cart.
There are 32 rooms and suites at Fearrington House Inn, all individually decorated. The inn recently went through a room renovation with new bedding and fabric updates. It was lovely before with a more French provincial look, but I like this new look even more.
Now, let’s talk special occasion. It’s the little things where this hotel completely shines. Will and I stayed here for his birthday and our anniversary, which are about a month apart from each other.
With kids, it’s hard for us to get away without them so we came in between the two events for two nights. Every staff member we encountered wished Will a “Happy Birthday.” We had champagne on arrival in our living room, courtesy of the general manager and some culinary treats made by Chef Colin Bedford and his staff.
The bathroom in our suite was divine. There were robes, heated towels, luxurious bath amenities, basically all the amenities you would expect in a five-star property.
The inn provides turn-down with slippers, truffles and port. I think it’s the perfect way to end an evening before slipping into luxurious Egyptian cotton sheets.
Complimentary afternoon tea is served in the main farmhouse each afternoon for inn guests only. It’s quite gourmet and very good. My only complaint is that each tray has only one item of each tea cuisine, so it’s hard for those individuals like me who don’t like to share. It’s perfect, though, for that afternoon pick-me-up.
The inn offers room service for its guests at a price per entrée, but a gourmet breakfast in the Farmhouse dining room is included as part of your stay. This breakfast is amazing, and you have a full menu to choose from daily.
It is a formal setting, but you don’t have to be formal in the morning. Staff at the Fearrington House Inn wants you to relax and enjoy your vacation. It’s OK to go to breakfast in resort casual attire with little makeup and your wet hair in a clip.
You are so full from breakfast that you will want to skip lunch, but you shouldn’t. The Fearrington Village offers great lunch options at the Goat, a cafe, coffee and wine shop, and the Granary, an upscale, casual eatery with farm-to-table cuisine.
You cannot stay at the inn and not have dinner at the main restaurant. It is the only AAA Five Diamond restaurant in the U.S. to be Green-Certified and to have been ranked a top 10 restaurant in America.
The menu changes seasonally, and once a dish leaves the menu, it never comes back, as Chef Colin Bedford and his team are constantly creating new entrees.
It is impressive, and restaurants like this are why the Relais&Chateaux properties have such culinary accolades. Whether you are spending the night at the inn or not, you must dine at the Fearrington House Restaurant. It has remained a favorite of mine since its opening while I was in college.
The spa in Fearrington Village is a day spa. It has a very shabby-chic vibe about it with pedicures taking place in a tin foot tub. The spa uses Elemis, a leading British luxury spa and skin-care company, for its products. Nail colors are provided by Essie.
I had a classic pedicure and a massage during my stay. I loved the spa, and it was the best pedicure I have ever experienced. I will certainly drive back over to the Fearrington spa to have another one. The spa is located about 45 minutes from Raleigh, so if you have lunch in the village and a spa treatment, then, in my opinion, that makes a great day excursion.
There are also some adorable shops in the village, so Fearrington Village is a great place to explore.
Fearrington Village also has bike and walking trails. The inn offers complimentary bicycles for guests to use during their stay. Guests can also have access to a fitness center and the use of an outdoor swimming pool at the Fearrington Swim and Croquet Club. Guests just have to present a room key to use the facilities.
Fearrington House Inn is pet and kid-friendly; however, I think it is best suited for romantic giveaways since it's so close to my hometown.
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Disclosure: Opinions about my hotel stays are my own.