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11 Durham Hotels for Your Next Group Gathering

Estimated Read Time:
6 minutes

Memorable stays for every occasion

Posted By Beth Castle on Dec 06, 2023

So you’re booking an event in Durham. Welcome! Just 20 minutes from Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU), the city’s conveniently located downtown is known for its foodie reputation, often earning attention and praise from The New York Times, Southern Living and Bon Appetit, among many others. It’s also home to The Durham Bulls, the most famous minor league team in the country, our vibrant music and nightlife scene, and a rich assortment of local events, all within driving distance of Research Triangle Park (RTP), Duke University, North Carolina State University, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and North Carolina Central University.

Finding things to do in Durham while you’re here for a meeting or event is easy, now all you need is a place to stay. Thankfully, the city’s three main hubs—downtown, near Duke University, and RTP—offer a wealth of group-friendly hotels offering room blocks and in-house meeting, event, entertainment and dining options. Luxury hotels with their own putting greens, central stays within walking distance of downtown’s Durham Convention Center and offbeat boutique hotels housing memorable event spaces all reflect Durham’s overall vibe: a hospitable Southern city with plenty of personality to discover.

Group-Friendly Hotels in Downtown Durham

21c Museum Hotel

111 N. Corcoran St.

21c Museum Hotel oozes cool, from architecture to art. Seated in the 1930s-era Hill Building (designed by the same firm behind the Empire State Building), the downtown Durham boutique hotel doubles as a cultural community hub and gathering place, a 24-hour contemporary art museum and a foodie destination, with Counting House restaurant serving cocktails, brunch and a seafood-forward menu.

Private events shine here, with memorable spaces for intimate gatherings, meetings, and larger parties alike: 10,500 square feet of art-filled exhibition and event space, a rooftop one-bedroom suite with sweeping views of the city, meeting rooms with state-of-the-art audiovisual capabilities, and a bank vault original to the building. It’s no wonder Conde Nast Traveler continues to rank 21c as one of the South’s top hotels.

A speaker in front of a crowd at an event at 21c Durham's main ballroom.

21c Main Event Gallery. Photo: Keenan Hairston

The Durham Hotel

315 E. Chapel Hill St.

There’s a reason locals love The Durham Hotel: On the main level, natural sunlight floods a two-story, living room–esque coffee and dining area while on the roof, live music, cocktails and exceptional panoramic views feel transportive, cosmopolitan even.

This makes the 53-room hotel an idyllic backdrop for any group gathering. The Durham’s Mezzanine Room (seats 24–50) and roof can both be configured to align with your event’s needs, plus there’s additional meeting space in-house for more focused discussions. The restaurant, too, is bookable, seating 100 and 125 reception-style. And with locally sourced catering and the city’s bars, restaurants, and activities steps from the front door, The Durham feels approachably stylish—the kind of place you go to when you appreciate pretty things and a warm Durham welcome.

The Restaurant at The Durham. Photo: The Durham Hotel

Unscripted Durham

202 Corcoran St

Unscripted Durham is as much of a downtown landmark as Major the Bull himself. The mid-century modern hotel opened in the ‘60s as Jack Tar Hotel and, since then, the building has stood firm—and brought its own lore—as the area has flourished.

Shops, restaurants, bars—they’re all walking distance from Unscripted, making this 74-room boutique property perfect for room blocks for large parties that just keep going. Sip cocktails at The Studio—Unscripted’s in-house bar and lounge—or enjoy more than 60 brews, ciders, and wines at Pour Taphouse, a pay-by-the-ounce taproom. Looking for a more scenic experience? Book a casual event, like a reception or meet-and-greet, on Unscripted’s rooftop patio, which holds about 100 guests.

A woman walks into Unscripted Hotel in Durham with a suitcase.

Unscripted Durham. Photo: Eric Waters

Group-Friendly Hotels Near Duke University

JB Duke Hotel

230 Science Dr, Duke University West Campus

Scenic views, abundant natural light, and locally inspired decor—these are the charms of JB Duke Hotel, a sophisticated 198-room stay on Duke University’s West Campus. Surrounded by landscaped courtyards and Duke Forest’s 7,000 acres, the hotel invites in the quiet intimacy of the outdoors while also offering guests plenty of places to gather: 23,300 square feet of meeting and event space, a restaurant and two bars.

Post-meeting, cozy up with a cocktail near the fireplace in the Lobby Lounge, or if you’re feeling adventurous, take the free shuttle to Sarah P. Duke Gardens, a 55-acre escape just a mile from your sojourn.

The Marketplace at JB Duke Hotel

JB Duke Hotel. Photo: Chad M Davis / JB Duke Hotel

Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club

3001 Cameron Blvd.

On the campus of Duke University sits Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club, a picturesque inn where basketball legends, wedding parties, and business travelers convene for resort-style gatherings. Boasting 24,300 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space in 20 individual conference rooms, the 271-room stay can accommodate everything from top-level executive sessions to 900-person galas.

After a round of golf, dine in comfort at the AAA Four Diamond–rated Fairview Dining Room, or catch the big game in the Bull Durham Bar, a full-service bar reminiscent of a cozy smoking salon. For guests searching for entertainment beyond the green, Saturday yoga classes, weekly stargazing sessions, and easy access to the 3.1-mile Al Buehler walking and running trail, which traverses Duke Forest, add the finishing touches to the Washington Duke’s appeal.

The event space at the Washington Duke Inn in Durham, NC.

Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club. Photo: Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club

Hilton Durham Duke University

3800 Hillsborough Rd.

Location reigns at Hilton Durham Duke University. This contemporary, 196-guest room and suite hotel is just 10 minutes from downtown Durham, two miles from Duke University and eight miles from Research Triangle Park.

That’s if you even need to leave. On-site, American chophouse Bluestone Grille serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, and 12,000 square feet of flexible meeting space make the Hilton an easy hub for conference and business travelers. Plus, oversized rooms, an on-site fitness center, and a seasonal outdoor pool keep the “life” in “work-life balance.”

Group-Friendly Hotels Near Research Triangle Park and RDU

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Raleigh-Durham Airport at Research Triangle Park

4810 Page Creek Ln.

At first glance, the most inviting parts of DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Raleigh-Durham Airport at Research Triangle Park are its outdoor spaces—a covered front porch where rocking chairs lull and a cozy, casual dining area overlooking a tree-lined courtyard. Yet, there’s competition. Inside, public spaces exude welcome, with clusters of chairs perfect for quiet conversation, a cocktail bar and a stone fireplace to boot.

With nearly 11,000 square feet of versatile and unique meeting and event space, the DoubleTree is ideal for events as small as 15 and as large as 250. And the location can’t be beat. Just off Interstate 40, the stay is adjacent to Research Triangle Park and easily accessible to Duke University, North Carolina State University, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and North Carolina Central University.

A cozy gathering area at the DoubleTree RDU at RTP

DoubleTree by Hilton RTP at RDU. Photo: Steve Sanacore / DoubleTree by Hilton

Marriott Raleigh Durham Research Triangle Park

4700 Guardian Dr.

Sauna. Need we say more? Well, maybe just the highlights: Catch a free, hotel-provided shuttle from RDU to Marriott Raleigh Durham Research Triangle Park, conveniently close to the Lenovo, Cisco Systems and Fidelity Investments offices.

There, you’ll find 4,300 square feet of meeting and ballroom space, an on-site Americana restaurant, an indoor pool, a 24-hour fitness center and more. And for wellness-minded travelers, this Marriott offers Pure Rooms–aka specially curated rooms with purified air, a hypoallergenic environment and allergy-friendly bedding, all in an effort to help you become your best.

Sheraton Imperial Hotel Raleigh-Durham Airport

4700 Emperor Blvd.

Convenience is the name of the game at the 331-room-and-suite Sheraton Imperial Hotel Raleigh-Durham Airport. Featuring the largest event spaces in Durham, the hotel and conference center is a quick complimentary shuttle ride from RDU and offers over 31,000 square feet of meeting space, catering, and on-site dining options, not to mention access to Fitness Connection, located next to the hotel.

You won’t be alone in the planning process, either. Conference coordination services are available to guide event planners every step of the way.

The front entrance of Durham's Sheraton Imperial Hotel near RDU International Airport and RTP.

The Sheraton Imperial. Photo: Sheraton Imperial

Group-Friendly Hotels in South Durham

Hyatt Place Durham/Southpoint

7840 Hwy NC-751

Tucked into Durham’s suburbs and 10 minutes from RDU, the 164-room Hyatt Place Durham/Southpoint feels comfortable—quite literally. Each room features a signature, plush bed—the Hyatt Grand—and an oversized guest room, which adds extra space and seating for guests to stretch out. Dining options are available 24/7 (breakfast is included), and the outdoor saltwater pool is perfect for basking in the afternoon sun.

With 2,210 square feet of bookable space, catering services, audiovisual features and more, this hotel is ideal for small-scale meetings and events. Plus, based on availability, groups can request a prearranged hotel-provided shuttle service to transport guests to hotspots within a 2-mile radius, like the Streets at Southpoint, an indoor-outdoor mall with a movie theater, restaurants and more than 160 stores.

Hyatt Place Durham/Southpoint offers spacious and modern rooms, studios and suites

Hyatt Place Durham Southpoint. Photo: Hyatt Place Durham Southpoint

Rizzo Center - Destination by Hyatt

150 Dubose Home Ln.

A country estate but make it modern. On a 30-acre hilltop just 20 minutes from RDU, the red-bricked Rizzo Center is equally stately and beautiful as the nearby universities.

While the destination features 30,000 square feet of meeting space (a total of 54 meeting, conference, and breakout rooms), it’s the Rizzo’s ritzy social areas that feel truly decadent. The Georgian-Revival styled DuBose Home, formal gardens, Meadowmont Grill, and Magnolia Room boast a chic Southern flare, and guests can sit pretty en plein air on the DuBose Pergola or, for larger events, the pool courtyard. Not a box left unchecked, the Rizzo is also a 183-room boutique hotel, so all partygoers can stay the night. Chef’s kiss.

About the Author

Beth Castle - Freelance Writer

I’m a sucker for any Durham event with great music, big energy, and an unexpected frozen cocktail. In my off-time, I volunteer at a local community theater, hike, road trip, and take my dog, Olive, wherever she pleases. Contact me at bethcastle.net.