By Gianna Holiday
Boone’s first and only boutique hotel and rooftop bar, the Horton Hotel, has been open for 4 months now, but service on the 900-square foot rooftop bar has recently become available within the month just in time for the summertime.
The building was first built in 1929 by Henry Walter Horton, whose picture now hangs near the entrance of the modern hotel. The original one-story edifice was a Studebaker dealership before it was later replaced with a five-story department store and apartment building.
The 9,000 square-foot-building is today owned by Fulton and Denise Lovin, founders of Boone’s White Fence Farm event venue. The two, who have been married for 21 years, have presented their own version of the Horton Hotel which puts emphasis on local businesses as well as remembering the history behind the building by incorporating a 1920’s aesthetic with a modern spin.
“It was a really tricky mix of the historical nature of the building with more modern approaches to the architecture as well the wall and floor treatments. I think we achieved it by incorporating a little rustic, a little contemporary, a little modern, all with a historical touch,” said Lovin.
Located on King Street across from Mast General Store, all of Boone’s restaurants, shopping, and the Appalachian State Campus are within blocks. The Horton Hotel combines the history of Boone with the comforts and amenities of a boutique hotel such as a rooftop lounge, bar, firepit, and wait staff.
“The rooftop bar was the most difficult part of the project. We built the steel grid and then the elevator that would go up through it, so it was a very intricate construction job,” said hotel owner Fulton Lovin. “There are beautiful 360-degree views up there and soon we will even be having a few bands, including acoustic solos and duos.”
The rooftop lounge, which is available to the public on a first-come-first-serve basis, allows guests to experience views of Howard’s Knob, Appalachian State, as well as downtown Boone. If the rooftop capacity of 49 is full, guests may wait downstairs to order drinks and food until they receive a text alert letting them know it is their turn to go up.
“The public is welcome to come visit the rooftop bar as well. While the hotel guests are able to go up there anytime, the public is able to visit the bar anytime from 4 to 11 p.m with last call being at 10 p.m,” said Lovin.
The rooftop bar and lounge, previously closed on Mondays, will now be open to the public 7 days a week. Guests will be able to enjoy cocktails, craft libations, local beers, and small-batch wines.
Hunter Hallmark is the Director of Food and Beverage and will be serving some delicious wines, beers and small, shared plates to patrons at the hotel and the public. Hallmark was most recently working as a private chef on yachts and has over 15 years of hospitality service before returning back to Boone to handle the food and drink preparations for the Horton Hotel.
The Horton, however, is a hotel first and foremost. It features 15 uniquely decorated guest rooms with king or queen beds and suites overlooking King Street and Boone. Five of these rooms are pet-friendly, with an additional fee, and are all located on their own floor. All of the five floors of the hotel features unique design elements, including custom-made furniture, trimmings, and finishes.
Each hotel room offers free parking in downtown Boone, priority access to the lounges, 50 inch flat screen TV, a mini refrigerator, a heat/AC unit, free wifi, a tailgating spot during ASU football games, complimentary artisan breakfast bar, locally roasted Bald Guy Brew coffee, Beekman Fresh Air shower products, handmade NC bar soap and lotion, essential oils and diffusers available upon request, sound machines available upon request, as well as 100% fine cotton linens and down-filled bedding.
Hotel guests will have available to them a complimentary artisan breakfast bar in the hotel lounge, alongside locally roasted coffee each morning of their stay.
The Lovins have also found inspiration for both their home projects as well as their new business in a unique way.
“In most of our projects, we have somehow always started with the furniture,” said Lovin. “In the case of this hotel, I started with a vintage 1924 foosball game that I bought at an auction which once belonged to Neil Young.”