Old world Italy in new world Chapel Hill


By Laurie Paolicelli

The Siena Hotel, Chapel Hill.

 The Siena Hotel will Host a Special Dinner on May 4, 2024

Hotels have personalities. They have histories and stories going back farther than the hotel itself, because the idea of a fine hotel comes before everything. The Siena Hotel and its enchanting restaurant, Il Palio, is a prime example.

Decades ago, inspired by the allure of Siena, Sam Longiotti and his family took a trip to Italy. They discovered magic there and brought that magic back to Chapel Hill, crafting a 79-room luxury haven on Franklin Street. Since then, The Siena Hotel has become a cherished landmark. Its warmth, comfort — and thanks to its award-winning restaurant, the possibility of a delicious indulgence — has turned it into a one-of-a-kind experience.

Group Bocce at The Siena Hotel.

In 2009, The Siena changed hands for the first time allowing another local family, the Chandak’s to deliver the next chapter for The Siena Hotel. The Siena now thrives as part of the Autograph Collection Hotels. It stands as a paragon of originality and luxury, promising an experience exactly like nothing else.

Il Palio Restaurant.

Anthony Carey, the general manager, remains a steadfast pillar. He embodies the hotel’s commitment to offering guests superior lodging and a truly unique experience.

Anthony and Laura Carey.

It begins the moment you walk into the lobby, where there’s a bit of old-world European elegance with a dash of luxury thrown in for good measure. Recently renovated with meticulous care, including the introduction of hand-selected furnishings and authentic Italian marble, The Siena marries Italian heritage with contemporary comfort. 

The Siena Hotel New Lobby Painting.

And then there is the restaurant, Il Palio. Chef Bob Compton strives to emulate the best of the great Italian tradition of hospitality and quality at the table and in the glass. Il Palio’s vision is simple – use the best local and Italian ingredients as purely as possible and serve them with comfort and pride, as an Italian might in North Carolina. All aspects of Chapel Hill life can be found here. Who knows who you’ll see: basketball coaches, Nobel Prize winners, up-and-coming teachers, Pulitzer contenders, all of them engrossed in their meal, enjoying the freshest coffee around while reading about last week’s Tar Heel game. It’s all about taking it easy and being treated like royalty while you do. Il Palio is consistently awarded Four Diamonds by AAA. It would be hard to find better Italian cooking anywhere.

Bailey Brunch at The Siena Hotel.

“I have been a fan of The Siena Hotel for decades and I book many special events there,” says Delores Bailey, Chapel Hill resident and event planner. “From family celebrations to board meetings, I love walking into the Siena and feeling as if I am in a different world for a few hours.”

Longtime employee and doorman Mr. Rich judging a pumpkin decorating contest.

“The Siena Hotel in Chapel Hill holds a cherished spot in my Carolina journey,” says former UNC student and returning visitor, Jennifer Wallace. “As a student at UNC in the 90s, its elegance felt like a distant dream. I remember a wonderful doorman, Mr. Rich, and how he fussed over all the guests and seemingly had at least one connection with each guest. When my parents surprised me with a booking for our graduation celebration, it was a night of sweet memories, laughter and pride that has lingered in our family’s lives to this day.”

Join Il Palio for a Makers Dinner
Celebrating Siena, Italy
Wine, Art & Food

Saturday, May 4, 2024
6:30 pm
Il Palio Restaurant in The Siena Hotel, Chapel Hill

Chef Bob Compton and special guest Carlo Pizzichini, an artist from Siena, team up with Italian wine importer Paolo Pellizzari for a 4-course tasting menu featuring Tuscan delights. $140 includes wine pairings, tax, and gratuity.

Reserve your seat at (919) 918-2545 or click here to reserve it online.

Carlo Pizzichini.

Il Palio’s Chef Bob Compton will team-up with special guests Carlos Pizzichini, an artist from Siena Italy, and Italian Wine Importer, Paolo Pellizzari to deliver an exceptional dining experience.

A few facts about The Siena Hotel:

  • 79 luxury rooms
  • Parking on site
  • 4,000 square feet of special event space
  • Il Palio restaurant Chef: Bob Compton
  • Director of Sales: Michelle Castro

All of this just 1.5 miles from the heart of Chapel Hill and a short 15-minute drive to RDU International Airport, Duke University, and the Research Triangle Park. For more information or to make a reservation, visit www.sienahotel.com or call (800) 223-7379.

The Siena Hotel Junior Suite.

Laurie Paolicelli is executive director for the Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitors Bureau, a position she has held since 2005. Laurie has worked in tourism and marketing for twenty-five years, having served in leadership roles in Houston and California convention and visitor bureaus. She is a native of the Twin Ports of Duluth, MN/Superior Wisconsin. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business and Communications from the University Wisconsin-Superior and graduate certification in Technology In Marketing from the UNC-Chapel Hill’s Hussman School of Journalism and Media.
This reporter can be reached at Info@TheLocalReporter.press

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