With the hustle and bustle of life, sometimes, a much-needed getaway is all you need. That’s what Ms. Elsie’s Caribbean B&B offers: a tropical oasis without leaving Charlotte.
Charlotteans may know the story behind the black-owned bed-and-breakfast that sits on almost two acres in the Sherwood Forest neighborhood near Cotswold. But, with nearly 60 people moving to Charlotte each day, I thought it was worth a re-introduction.
Ms. Elsie’s granddaughter, Arubian native Cheryl Watkins, opened the B&B in 2000. She said that she was inspired by her grandmother’s love and teachings. The local hideaway was founded on five generations of businesswomen and Caribbean cuisine.
“[Ms. Elsie] was a phenomenal woman,” said Watkins. “She was our neighborhood caterer, and I grew up in her kitchen.”
Initially, Watkins worked in the commercial real estate business and openly admitted that this path was furthest from her mind in the earlier stages of her career. However, after her grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in early 2000, she decided that she would share her grandmother’s memory and love with the world.
“I’ve been told I’m doing a phenomenal job. I enjoy my work, I really do. I love the people who come through my door,” said the innkeeper who has hosted hundreds of guests including governors and prime ministers.
Prior to arrival, each guest’s stay and cuisine is customized by Watkins. The curated experience makes the B&B a reservation-only operation with three rooms on site: the Bamboo king suite, the Sea Mist room and the Mango room. The Mango room is under renovation and will re-open next year.
Each room was designed to showcase Watkins’ love for the Caribbean, her family and desire to have her guests experience tranquility during their stay. It’s an oasis many guests don’t want to leave.
Dante Miller is a freelance writer who received her journalism and mass communications degree from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. She loves music, reading novels and watching television.