1000 x 90

The Graystone Lodge Celebrates Grand Opening: Modern, Upscale Hotel Captures the Spirit of the High Country

Graystone Lodge celebrated its ribbon-cutting ceremony on June 20. Photo courtesy of Graystone Lodge. Pictured left to right: Patrick Setzer, David Jackson, Tim Futrelle, Selina Patel Bell, Justin Patel, Ben McKethan, Christy Williams, and Rafael Mendez

By Harley Nefe

Inspired by the spirit of the High Country, a beautiful, revitalized hotel is giving travelers even more reason to visit the charming mountain town of Boone. The Graystone Lodge, a boutique hotel located at 2419 NC-105, officially celebrated its grand opening on June 20 with its ribbon-cutting ceremony. 

With a front lobby packed full of guests enjoying a silent auction benefiting the Hunger and Health Coalition, live jazz music, delicious hors d’oeuvres, and tasteful beer and wine, there was much to celebrate about the newly renovated property. 

The Graystone Lodge, formally the Super 8, has been undergoing major renovations over the past few years to become an ideal place for visitors of all ages to stay when exploring Boone. From completely renovating each guest room, all of the common areas, and the exterior to constructing a new outdoor gathering area complete with firepit and a complete overhaul of the indoor pool, the Graystone Lodge has truly been transformed to become a valued destination.

The hotel originally opened as the Graystone Lodge in 1987, then transitioned to a Super 8 in 2006 to meet the needs of the evolving hospitality industry. It has now been re-established to its original name as the Graystone Lodge after receiving an extensive multi-million-dollar interior and exterior renovation.

The Graystone Lodge is owned by Boone natives and siblings, Justin Patel and Selina Bell, who have been in the hotel industry for more than 30 years. 

“I’m so excited  to be here tonight and welcome all of you to the new Graystone Lodge,” Patel stated during the grand opening. “I started this conversion and redevelopment project in March of 2020. I know what you’re thinking – who starts a multi-million dollar project when Covid was starting, and the future was so uncertain? Well, we did. Over the next three years, we renovated this building top to bottom, during off seasons while navigating through Covid.” 

Patel continued, “I want to take the time to thank the many contractors who have worked with us throughout this project. As we worked through the transformation process, we knew that we needed the absolute best, so I would like to thank all of our staff. We couldn’t have done this without all of you. I also want to thank Ben for creating a truly personable experience here for every guest.”

Boone native and Appalachian State University graduate, Ben McKethan, is the new general manager of the Graystone Lodge. McKethan has served general management roles for 20 years and won numerous awards throughout his career.

“The Patel family has very deep roots in the Boone community,” McKethan described. “Justin and Selina’s father is considered the godfather of the hotel industry in Boone.”

“My sister, Selina, and I were born and raised in Boone, and she was actually the general manager of Graystone Lodge 17 years ago today to this date (June 20),” Patel explained during the ceremony. “She was the general manager when it converted from the Graystone Lodge. It’s only fitting that she be here tonight to reopen the Graystone Lodge.”

Bell added, “I worked all the way up from doing laundry and housekeeping at the Red Carpet Inn to being the front desk manager at the Quality Inn that is now the App State sorority dorm. When the Graystone Lodge was originally here, my dad was turning it into a Super 8, and I was not working with him at the time. I was working over in Blowing Rock, and he asked me if I would come back and be his general manager. So, I told him that I would do it, and it was a great decision. I truly loved working with my dad, and in return my brother when he finished college, and to be able to make this into a family business.”

Bell further spoke on the significance of the date of the grand opening, something that she described as fate: “I remembered that I saved one article with my dad and I’s picture in it from when we turned the Graystone into the Super 8, and I pulled it out, and I looked at the article, and the date on it was June 20. So, it was the exact same date that we had this event.” 

Patel continued, “We were introduced to hotels at a very young age – doing everything from taking out trash and linens out of the rooms, cleaning parking lots, working the front desk all the way to manager roles and now owners. This is our true passion, and we hope that every guest that comes to our property can see that, and it’s reflected in the guest experience.”

The Graystone Lodge features 101 rooms with a welcoming mountain ambiance, enhanced modern design, and upscale amenities. Its mission is to provide a casually elegant yet comfortable getaway, genuine hospitality, and personalized service so guests can relax, unwind and enjoy everything that Boone has to offer.

“The new Graystone Lodge honors its past and provides an unparalleled experience for the next generation of guests with modern custom developments,” Patel said. “We’re eager to welcome guests on their next trip to the High Country as they explore everything that makes Boone so special.” 

Local elements have also been incorporated into all aspects of the Graystone Lodge to provide guests with a truly authentic Boone experience. For example, the hotel features roasted coffee from Hatchet Coffee.

“We are really proud to be able to say we serve Hatchet Coffee to our guests 24 hours, complementary, which is a big deal,” McKethan said. “When guests come off the elevator, they can smell the coffee as it’s coming out of the grinder.”

Other relationships Graystone Lodge has built have been with Stick Boy Bread Co., where they will have breakfast items like bagels and other baked goods.

Graystone has also partnered with Angelia Fine Art.

“We have an artist, Angelia Wilson, who is a local to the area, and she teaches at Lees-McRae College,” McKathan said. “She owns a business across the street, Let’s Be Artsy. We’ve commissioned her to do a piece of artwork, which is called ‘Reflection of Nature’s beauty.’” 

Other partnerships are with Venture Chocolate & Wine Co., Booneshine, AMB, Lost Province Brewing Co., and more.

“The idea is to give people a taste of something and send them out into the community to fully experience it,” McKethan explained. “We’re really excited about getting behind local brands.”

McKethan continued, “This hotel is really about being the face of the High Country. It’s trying to have pieces of it in the hotel, not to replace what is happening out in the community, but to introduce it to guests, who will get out, and hopefully, extend their stay or come back and be a part of what we’re all about here in the High Country.” 

The Graystone Lodge also partners with Humankind, an organization dedicated to supplying clean drinking water to those in need. Each room includes a complementary 23.7-ounce bottle of water, with additional bottles available for purchase in the gift shop. 100 percent of the profits of each bottled water goes directly towards helping people receive clean drinking water throughout the globe. With contaminated water being the leading cause of death among children worldwide, this is Graystone Lodge’s way of giving back on a global as well as a local level.  

“Boone truly is a charming town with unique shops and restaurants that you won’t find anywhere else. As a native, it’s a part of the Boone spirit to champion other members of the community, and we’re excited to share the local experience with our guests” McKethan said. “Supporting these local businesses and giving back to a good cause are simple ways to connect and create meaningful relationships with our guests and our community.”

In attendance at the grand opening were members of the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce, including President/CEO David Jackson.

“We came into this property about three months ago in the midst of just a massive amount of renovation and planning,” Jackson described. “Not everything you see here today was in place at that point in time, but one thing that stood out to me as we talked about what tonight would be is the vision and the pride that Justin and Selina have for what this could be. And as we walked around the facility, learning about Hatchet Coffee and the various artwork that was commissioned – it was all about getting everything back to here again. We know that we sell our community better than anybody else can, and when you have a property that buys into that, that makes it that much more special, that much more generous. With a property like this, we know that we can raise the bar once again. We have quality places to bring people to. It’s about the entire experience, and this place will certainly be a part of that. Thank you to everyone who made this possible.”

Mayor of Boone Tim Futrelle was also at the event and said, “Thank you to Justin and Selina and everyone who had a hand in putting this together. I think you represent the best of what the High Country has to offer. Being from here, being local, involving all the local businesses, all the local developers, all the local contractors who had a hand in this – it was just amazing to hear that the hotel could be transformed to its former glory. We know how to represent ourselves better than anyone else, and to bring the High Country together and to put together such a beautiful establishment that we have here, there is a lot that Boone has to offer. You guys are just helping us with our local economy. Congratulations, and congratulations to Boone as well. Thank you so much for all that you are doing.”

The multi-million dollar project included the following renovations:

  • Complete transformation of 98 hotel rooms and three suites – two king suites featuring a new Peloton and a family suite with a king and a bunk bed (coming soon)
  • New hardwood flooring throughout the entire hotel 
  • A full exterior building transformation with new rock décor, lighting, painting
  • A redesigned, polished bathroom with glass-enclosed showers in each guest room
  • Resurfaced ceilings with updated walls, electronic additions to the rooms and modern furnishings
  • Brand new, custom made furniture
  • A brand new heated indoor pool and renovated pool facility with new ceilings and an ADA compliant lift
  • A new state-of-the-art fitness center with Precor equipment
  • A new outdoor area with a gas fire pit 
  • A completely revitalized lobby and mercantile
  • Renovated paneling in the elevators
  • A resurfaced parking lot with enhanced lighting
  • The original grand fireplace has been maintained, updated and continues to serve as the historical, signature centerpiece of the Graystone Lodge. It also features a stunning focal point of beautiful artwork of Julian PriceLake by Angelia Wilson.