Durham News

New Duke West Campus hotel opens in Durham

The hotel’s 198 rooms overlook Duke Forest, and the hotel offers a full-service restaurant, 21,000 square feet of meeting rooms, 11 suites and a ballroom.
The hotel’s 198 rooms overlook Duke Forest, and the hotel offers a full-service restaurant, 21,000 square feet of meeting rooms, 11 suites and a ballroom. The Herald-Sun

The JB Duke Hotel, a new 198-room hotel located on Duke University’s West Campus, held its grand opening Tuesday, boosting the number of hotel rooms on Duke’s West Campus to 470.

The hotel, named for James Buchanan “J.B.” Duke, the son of Washington Duke, is a $62 million project that will also be the home of the Thomas Executive Conference Center, which is connected to Duke’s Fuqua School of Business.

The hotel’s 198 rooms overlook Duke Forest, and the hotel offers a full-service restaurant, 21,000 square feet of meeting rooms, 11 suites and a ballroom.

The JB Duke is the second hotel on Duke’s campus, joining the Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club. Like the Washington Duke Inn, the hotel – located at 230 Science Dr. – is owned by Duke University and managed by WDI Hospitality, though the JB Duke’s design is modern compared to the Washington Duke.

The JB Duke Hotel is located across Cameron Boulevard from the Washington Duke Inn, and it shares a walkway with the Fuqua School of Business. The hotel is walking distance from many places on West Campus, including Wallace Wade and Cameron Indoor stadiums. It is also adjacent to a new 2,200-vehicle parking garage.

The hotel occupies land that used to be the home of the Thomas Executive Conference Center.

The Thomas Executive Conference Center is now housed within the JB Duke Hotel, giving the conference center a contemporary redesign. The hotel’s conference and meeting facilities will be used by the school’s MBA programs and for working professionals and non-degree executive education courses hosted by the Fuqua School.

The conference center has two classrooms, with a capacity of 65 each, a 5,400-square-foot ballroom, a boardroom and several other meeting rooms.

The JB Duke Hotel’s general manager is Gregg Hilker, who has worked at the Thomas Executive Conference Center, the Carolina Inn in Chapel Hill and the Rizzo Conference Center, part of the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School.

Hilker was selected for the general manager role because of his experience with Duke properties.

“We are two distinctly different properties,” said Don Ball, director of food and beverage at Washington Duke Inn. “One is traditional, the other is contemporary, but we want the culture to be the same. So Gregg [Hilker] got to work with us for a couple years... and got an understanding of what our promises, what our practices [and] what our mission and vision are.”

Hilker said the JB Duke Hotel’s contemporary design is meant to reflect the next generation of the Southern hospitality available at the Washington Duke Inn.

“The father and son aspect of the two properties is a great play on words,” Hilker said. “With James Buchanan being the son of Washington Duke, it really plays a nice part of how (the two hotels) come together.”

Packages for the conference center include a $339-per-person rate, which includes guest rooms, meals and meeting-space amenities, and a $99-per-person day pass to use the hotel’s facilities.

Hilker said he thinks those prices are competitive for a brand-new facility.

The hotel has been hosting guests since Jan. 10 and is already booked to capacity for some upcoming Duke University sporting events.

The hotel’s bars and restaurant, which is called the MarketPlace, is open to guests as well as the public.

Currently 100 people are employed by the JB Duke Hotel, but that number is expected to expand to 150 once the hotel is operating at full capacity, Hilker said.

Eanes: 919-419-6684

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