Pinehurst Golf and the Carolina Hotel – Part 1 Lodging and Dinning

This was my second trip to Pinehurst.  Pinehurst is 97 miles and a two-hour drive from my home in Charlotte.  I made this trip with a friend from college and law school days.  We booked the Summer Tee package that included three nights’ lodging, daily buffet breakfast and three-course dinner, four rounds of golf, and unlimited use of the practice facilities.  The total for the package was $982/per person, double occupancy.  Playing Pinehurst No.2 was an additional $195. The resort requires a $200 deposit at booking.  All in all, a very good bargain.

Founded in 1895 in the Sandhills of North Carolina, Pinehurst has been a premier golf destination for more than a century.  Pinehurst No. 2  is world famous.

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Pinehurst No. 2 from the first tee.

In addition to No.2, Pinehurst offers eight other courses by renowned architects such as Ross, Tom Fazio, Rees Jones, and Jack Nicklaus.  Accommodations at the resort are the Carolina Hotel, The Holly Inn, the Manor Inn and the Condos at Pinehurst.

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Pinehurst map

Part 1 of this post will discuss my lodging and dinning experiences at Pinehurst and cover golf in Part 2.

Lodging 

We booked a double room in the Manor Inn, the least expensive lodging option for our three-night stay.  A few days before arriving, the resort sent an email stating that our accommodations had been upgraded to the Holly Inn.  The Holly Inn is the original Pinehurst hotel.  It was built in 1895.

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Check in at the Holly Inn

I was looking forward to staying at the Holly, but when we arrived, the receptionist told us we had been upgraded again to a room in the Carolina Hotel.  The two upgrades saved over $150 per person for the room in the Carolina Hotel.

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Lobby at the Holly Inn

Although I had stayed at the Carolina Hotel on my previous trip to Pinehurst, the upgrade was appreciated since the Carolina Hotel has an outstanding breakfast buffet.  The Holly Inn also has a breakfast buffet, but it is not as extensive as the one at the Carolina Hotel.

The Carolina Hotel

The historic Carolina Hotel opened in 1901.  It is the largest hotel at the resort.

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The Carolina Hotel at Pinehurst
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Hotel entrance and bag drop
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Carolina Hotel lobby

 

Standard Room

We had a standard double room in the East Wing of the hotel.  The room was adequate in all respects with a classic design and furnishings.

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A standard room with two full size beds

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The room had a large walk-in closet that was as big as the bathroom.  There was also a mini bar with reasonable prices for drinks and snacks.  The room lacked a hairdryer, although I suspect housekeeping would supply one if requested.

Wifi was free, fast and required no password or login. The wifi worked automatically at all of the accommodations and clubhouses at the resort!

Dinning

In addition to several lounges and grills, the main dining options at Pinehurst Resort are, the Carolina Dinning Room and the 1895 Grille.  Each has a buffet breakfast and evening a la carte dinner service.

The Carolina Room

The Carolina Room is the dining room at the Carolina Hotel.  It is located just off the lobby.

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The Carolina Room

The Carolina Room has the best breakfast buffet at Pinehurst.

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Carolina Room breakfast buffet

The buffet is huge, even larger than the photo depicts.  The cuisine is typical southern style but also has healthy options.  Plan on an hour for breakfast.  The food deserves several trips through the line to sample as much as possible.  For those with early tee times, the buffet opens at 6:00 a.m.

Two of the three nights we had dinner here.  The package included a three course meal where we could select an appetizer or soup or salad, an entree, and a desert from the menu.  The Carolina Room dinner menu was:

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Appetizers and soup and salad
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Entrees
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Entrees

In addition to the printed menu, the wait staff offered daily specials.  There is a separate menu for desert.  Wine was not covered by our package, but there was a good selection of reasonably priced wine by the glass, half bottle or bottle.

Here are some of the dishes I tried.  Dinner started with bread.  The cornbread was especially tasty.

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The appetizer followed.  Then the entree and desert..

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Seared scallops with Poblano Grits, BBQ glazed pork belly, and citrus and watercress salad
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Chai dusted rack of lamb
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A towering key lime pie desert

The second night’s dinner at the Carolina Room began with Oysters Pinehurst.

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Oysters Pinehurst

My entree was Surf & Turf.

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Surf and Turf

All of the dishes were quite good although I enjoyed the appetizers best.  The amount of food was just right.  The waitress the first night was very entertaining and knowledgeable.  The second night the waitress got our orders wrong.  She wrote down the wrong steak for my golf buddy and my steak was not done properly.  The manager apologized and comped our bottle of wine to atone.

A classy feature of the Carolina Dinning room was the live music.

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The 1895 Grille

The 1895 Grille in the Holly Inn is more formal than the Carolina Dinning Room.  The dress code requires long pants and a collared shirt and no hats or tennis shoes.  The dress code is mentioned prominently on the website and materials confirming reservations.  Still while we were dinning, I saw several groups turned away who did not meet the dress code requirements.

The 1895 Grille has a dark, Old-English look.  It reminded me of something out of ‘Game of Thrones’.

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The 1895 Grille

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This restaurant provided an experience that would be expected in a four-star restaurant.  The wait staff was knowledgeable but not overbearing, and the food was a tick above the Carolina Room.

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More of a “first class” feel in the 1895 Grille

Here the meal began with an amuse bouche.

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Amuse bouche

The shrimp cocktail at the Carolina Room looked really good so I ordered it at the 1895 Grille.

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Shrimp Cocktail

This appetizer was very good, but it is one dish that I that I would rather have at the Carolina Room.

My entree was a 14 oz. ribeye that was prepared to perfection.

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Ribeye steak

Desert was tasty and decadent but I do not recall the name of the dish.

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Desert

The resort asks guests to make dinner reservations right after booking a room or package.   I  booked one dinner at the 1895 Grille.  I considered changing to two dinners here on arrival, but with the move to the Carolina Hotel (a 10-minute walk to the Holly), it was more convenient to have two dinners there and one at the Holly Inn.

On my next visit I’ll book more dinners here even if I’m staying at the Carolina Hotel.  It is worth the walk.

 

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