Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club – a very special place


Washington Duke Inn and Golf Club
3001 Cameron Boulevard
Durham, NC 27705

What Makes a Hotel Special?

You do. What you know, don’t know, and the level of interest you play in life.
That’s what makes a hotel experience special – not all the bells and whistles a hotel brings out for show.
Washington Duke Inn and Golf Club, to me, is a very special hotel.

My specialty in corporate business meetings has taken me to the best hotels throughout the USA. No matter how grand they all are, their level of uniqueness seems to fall into the same level of expectation by now.  The brag is always about the same.  That is all good – really.  Who doesn’t want to lounge by a spectacular pool, with gorgeous views and have the latest soft goods in their guestroom?  And this is perfect for the groups that come to hold their very important meetings.

Washington Duke Inn and Golf Club, to me, is a very special hotel.  Because of me.  Because I did not know anything about it, staying there was all new and fresh for me.  Because it is located on Duke University property, naturally serving a largely academic world, was something, again, new to me. The environment and milieu is unique unto itself.  There is no “sell” going on here.  This place is needed.

 There is a serenity going on at the Washington Duke Inn – sedateness. It feels like a step back in time even though the Inn was built only in the mid 80’s. Old World tradition, cordial sitting areas and history intermingles with today’s students gathering in the lobby to party before the big rival football game.  They remind us of what is really important.  The Future.

If you are looking for inspiration and a success story, the legacy of the Washington Duke family quietly hangs with their photographs throughout the hotel hallways. No fanfare; just there for you to see, if you wish.

Their Meeting rooms and Boardrooms are perfectly made. I like that no space is too big or overwhelming, including their grand ballroom. The design totally supports the ambience of good and greater thinking.

Maybe it is because you just feel so relaxed when walking through this place.  There is a feeling of spaciousness and intimacy both at the same time.  The carpet is right, the wall color is right; the sun is streaming in from windows everywhere.

The pool is simple, small and inviting.  I can’t speak to the Golf Course; not my area of expertise, but being November, there was not a lot going on.  Still the Golf Course made for a lovely view from the Jr Suite I stayed in.

What did I bring to this hotel stay?  As I said – not much.  Yet, how did I feel so right at home in this laid back, yet eloquent Jr. Suite?  I wanted it to snow for days just so I could just curl up and read my book.  Every guest room gives that feeling – yet they are none alike.  No cookie cutter décor here.

When I was at the Washington Duke Inn, it was in its Christmas splendor, giving the warmth, comfort and security of old fashioned Christmas tree ornaments, angels hovering in corners and real fires in the fireplaces.  I am sure the Washington Duke Inn celebrates every season with such sensitivity and grace.

The dining room is quiet and sunny and lends itself to conversation.  Again, you just feel so comfortable; you don’t want to leave. Even the detail of having castors on the bottom the deep, soft chairs makes it easy for you to get up (again) for more at the Breakfast buffet.  The Buffet is so enjoyable.  It has everything you could want without being  too much – that takes a lot of pressure off you when you think about it!

The dinner menu selection is a treat to behold.  I do recommend consulting with your server – they will guide you to the right choices. I am still not over the dessert I had based on the server’s recommendation.

What makes this Hotel special?  The blend of modesty, class, comfort and understated greatness all rolled into one.  Why is it special to me?  Because I learned this style of relaxed hospitality can thrive so well by just being itself.  Very rare air indeed.

I would recommend anyone to hold their meeting at the Washington Duke Inn and Golf Club.  In fact, I would be happy for them.

The Washington Duke Inn offers over 20 individual meeting rooms ranging from 20 to 350 people depending on purpose and function.  Their largest space is the beautiful Presidents Ballroom at 7,680 sf.

Randal Kolls is General Manager of the Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club.