If you are looking to add a touch of class to your next NC staycation by keeping it local, look no further than the prestigious Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club — Durham’s only resort-style luxurious destination. It offers large, comfortable, and inviting guest rooms and suites with fantastic views of its perfectly manicured golf course in the heart of the world famous Duke University campus. It’s also convenient to many of the City of Durham’s best spots for visitors, such as the Sarah P. Duke Gardens and the Nasher Art Museum.

The Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club, is a family-friendly and pet-friendly hotel, welcoming guests to a tranquil retreat like setting nestled on 300 acres of tall pines and hardwoods on the edge of the Duke Forest. Conveniently located right on the campus of Duke University, the Inn is designed to reflect the quiet elegance of an English country estate.

Here you will find spacious lodging, world-class golf, and award-winning dining, which have made the Inn a standout destination among local hotels for the past 25+ years. The Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club is also one of the top Triangle area hotels for business meetings and special events such as weddings, with an Executive Conference Center that accommodates up to 600 guests.

” The Washington Duke Inn is an eco-concious hotel located in Durham, NC. The property is dedicated to protecting the lush beauty and natural resources that make North Carolina such a breathtaking destination. To support this goal, we are constantly developing and implementing environmental initiatives that benefit the environment and the local community, while upholding our commitment to exceptional hospitality. From energy efficiency and water conservation programs to waste minimization and environmental purchasing, our sustainability programs are always evolving as new opportunities arise


The Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club opened in 1988 to serve visitors to Duke University and to support Durham’s growing business community. It is named for Washington Duke, a Civil War soldier, who later became the area’s most well-known philanthropist. He supported local churches and invested in Trinity College, which was struggling at the time. Thanks to his investment, Trinity College later became the prestigious Duke University we know today: The crown jewel of Durham!

A Day in Durham

One could easily spend many days exploring the city of Durham. It has a rich history, it’s ideal for sports fans, and is a hot spot for foodies. We could have spent our day taking in a ballgame at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, at the Nasher Art Museum, or on a food tour! We decided to start our day at the Sarah P. Duke Gardens, a beautiful, public garden established in the 1930s. It has grown to 5 miles of gorgeous paths lined with plants, sculptures, and wildlife.

After spending a few hours outdoors, we were in need of a refreshment! We headed to the exploding and always happening Downtown Durham area and decided to pop into The Parlour for some ice cream. We shared a large Drunken Sailor, which is salted caramel ice cream topped with chocolate sauce, chocolate covered pretzels, and crushed potato chips. A salty/sweet delight!

Exploring and Dining at The Washington Duke Inn

After exploring Downtown Durham for a bit, we decided to head over to the Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club. The staff welcomed us, gave us an overview of the hotel amenities (which includes in-room massages!), and quickly checked us in. We were in a Terrace View Suite on the 4th floor, which had a fantastic view of the golf course! We were delighted to have a bottle of wine and cheese plate waiting for us as well. We still had a couple hours before dinner, so a snack was definitely in order.

After a lovely wine and cheese snack, we set forth to explore the hotel. Though the hotel was built in the 1980s, it feels much older. It’s almost like a museum. Throughout the halls, you will find old photos and heirlooms of the Duke family.

After exploring, we found ourselves at Bull Durham Bar, which has an intriguing cocktail list, along with an impressive scotch and whiskey list. It was a tough decision, but I ordered the Seelbach, which includes Knob Creek Bourbon, Cointreau, orange bitters, and champagne. It was strong and delicious! Bull Durham Bar also features a small bar menu, which was tempting, but we had reservations that evening at the Fairview Dining Room.

Fairview Dining Room is an AAA Four Diamond establishment featuring fine American fare. It offers a great selection of wines by the glass or the bottle. Menu items include NC Dayboat Grouper, Braised Lamb Loin, Steelhead Salmon, and Angus Steaks. There’s also a variety of sides to choose from as well. I ordered an 8 oz. Angus Filet with epiphany craft malts asparagus risotto. The steak was cooked to perfection (medium rare), and the risotto was creamy and delicious!

After dinner, we took a stroll on the golf course as the sun was setting. The greens are beautiful and well-kept. The course is highly ranked by Golf Digest, GolfWeek, Golf Magazine, and the Zagat Survey. There are also several PGA professionals on staff that are available for lessons. Perhaps I will take up golf someday!

Coffee and Breakfast in Durham

Though we were tempted by the breakfast menu at Vista Restaurant, another dining establishment inside the Washington Duke, we decided to try a different Durham spot for breakfast. Nosh was close by and proved to be a great choice. I enjoyed a Rocket’s Breakfast (eggs, maple pepper bacon, toast, and fruit) and a fresh cup of coffee while marveling at the eclectic decor.

It was the perfect end to our mini staycation at the lovely hotel located on the Duke University campus! We were able to take in the sights and experience Durham’s growing food scene while staying in a luxurious hotel that made us feel like royalty.

Stay, Play, Enjoy

Whether you are enjoying a family vacation or looking for something to do between meetings, you’ll find it all at the Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club. The luxury Durham hotel is home to the Duke University championship 18-hole golf course designed by Robert Trent Jones, an indoor pool, miles of scenic walking trails and even a fully-equipped fitness center. So whether you are looking to stay active or simply unwind, they are sure to have an activity perfectly suited to your needs.

The beautiful 18-hole championship Duke University Golf Club is the only Robert Trent Jones-designed course in the region. Redesigned by Jones’ son, Rees, in 1994 the course is considered one of the top ten golf courses in North Carolina. The site of the 2001 NCAA Men’s Golf Championship, the course consistently receives top rankings from the most popular magazines and publications.

” With elegant surroundings and impeccable service, it is easy to see why the Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club is regarded as one of the finest hotels in North Carolina. While we pride ourselves on providing memorable experiences for all of our guests, we are equally committed to upholding the Duke family’s spirit of philanthropy through ongoing community partnerships. The Inn has served the Durham community for 25+ years through an array of programs that have touched and impacted the lives of so many…


When you need a breath of fresh air, find yourself along the near-by Al Buehler Trail, a three-mile walking/jogging trail that meanders through the verdant Duke Forest and offers breathtaking views of the award-winning Duke Golf Course.

Stay on top of your workout routine in the awesome fitness center, which is equipped with Life Fitness and Hammer Strength equipment including treadmills, elliptical trainers, recumbent bikes and weight machines. Enjoy a dip in the luxurious indoor pool and leave plenty of time to relax on the interior or exterior decks. If you are interested in tennis, basketball or outdoor swimming, additional guest access is available to the adjacent Duke Faculty Club.

So what is your favorite staycation spot in Durham? Please be sure to hit us up on Twitter @919BlogNC or visit our Facebook page at FB.com/919Blog and let us know! We would love to hear from ya.

This post was created in collaboration with the Downtown Durham Blog editorial team and 919 Blog contributor Amy Howard for exclusive digital publication via TBN