My entire weekend stay was generously comped by The Ritz-Carlton Charlotte as a media preview for its new Pints and Provisions overnight package. I strategically scheduled it on my birthday weekend because I’m not an amateur.
I recently got to spend a jam-packed weekend exploring Charlotte like a tourist.
The Ritz-Carlton has a new overnight package designed to help visitors “experience Charlotte like a local.” So I, a local, took it for a test drive.
The Pints and Provisions package is stacked with immersive activities both on site at the hotel and around town at popular hangouts. As the name suggests, they’re all centered on alcohol.
Our stay kicked off with a Friday afternoon wine blending class at Hidden Wine, the hotel’s lobby wine cellar.
The class (normally $65/person but included in your package) starts with a guided tasting so you can understand flavor profiles before creating your own personal wine blend.
My husband and I don’t even pretend to know anything about wine but Sam, our wine steward, was an abundantly patient wealth of information who helped keep us on track.
The actual blending experience is a fun hands-on activity that’s kind of like chemistry class but much easier and with wine. Each participant will walk away with their own custom blended bottle to take home.
For our first meal, we stayed on the property to dine at BLT Steak.
As the Agenda’s token vegetarian, I have to point out that the BLT team went above and beyond to accommodate me. They made a vegan version of the hamachi crudo appetizer and created a special vegan grain bowl for my entree.
Meanwhile, what you really care about is that my husband went with the braised short ribs, which are presented in the pot and then ceremoniously deboned tableside. Quite the production.
Rest up on night one because Saturday is when things really pick up with an afternoon of off-site excursions.
Your package includes complimentary breakfast (in-room or downstairs at BLT) but I opted instead for yoga at Y2 and a Rico’s Acai bowl. I felt like I had to ready my body for the itinerary ahead.
Even as locals, we’d actually never participated in a tour at either of those places so we got fully immersed. Highlights included sipping cocktails with Great Wagon Road founder Ollie Mulligan at Broken Spoke, his bar next to the distillery, and tapping beer straight from the tank at OMB.
Back at the hotel, we enjoyed the rare treat of a private mixology class with wildly popular mixologist Bob Peters at The Punch Room.
It’s something else to step into the exclusive 15th-floor lounge before the doors open for a one-on-one experience with the man himself.
To counter all the luxury that had been thrust into my life, I opted for a casual birthday dinner on Saturday night.
I dragged my family out to La Shish Kabob for my mandatory falafel birthday feast. (In case it requires clarification, this is not part of the Pints and Provisions package. But if they ever do a Falafel Feast package, I am happy to advise on the itinerary.)
Finally, we wrapped up the weekend back at The Ritz for cocktails at The Punch Room.
The small, 37-seat lounge doesn’t take reservations but the priority seating included in your Pints and Provisions package might just land you in the coveted front row bar seats.
And just in case you think I didn’t sneak some more low-brow action into this high-class weekend, we capped off the night with cheap slices from Libretto’s at the Epicentre.
My only complaint?
I wish we had chilled out a bit more. The looming work week ahead (and some neglected pets at home) sent us packing pretty early on our final day. But the late 4 p.m. checkout that comes with the Pints & Provisions package would have allowed ample time to lay around by the pool, get a facial and take a nap in the relaxation room. (It’s a real thing.)
Definitely take advantage of that if you go.
Alas, we rushed back out to reality, cutting our Charlotte vacation a bit short. But I learned a little something on our travel-free trip.
It’s hard for me to stop and really savor the city we cover so obsessively here. I view everything as a story, a scoop, a sure-fire social hit and almost never as something that I, regular Katie, might just enjoy doing for myself.
Although it still became a story, of course, this weekend staycation helped remind me to make more time for that.
See more Pints and Provisions package details and view the full itinerary here.
Header photo via Facebook