the exterior of the graylyn estate during the day with big green trees around it

Authentically Winston-Salem

The Story of Graylyn

Located just minutes from downtown Winston-Salem, Graylyn was once the country estate of Bowman and Nathalie Gray, who built the Norman Revival-style Manor House in the late 1920s. Today, Graylyn reigns as one of the country’s most enchanting and historic hotels, doubling as a sophisticated and highly sought-after executive conference center with 85 guest rooms and uniquely distinctive event space.

graylyn estate amenities

Services & Amenities

  • Graylyn Dining Area for formal dining all-day
  • Grille Room for casual dining and cocktails
  • In-room dining (7am - 9pm)
  • Unlimited complimentary ice cream
  • Complimentary refreshments
  • Mrs. Gray’s butterscotch cookies every afternoon
  • Outdoor swimming pool *seasonal*
  • Tennis court & loaner racquets and tennis balls
  • Outdoor pond with fishing poles available for guests to use
  • Walking/jogging maps
  • Graylyn Historic Timeline
  • Lawn games
  • Bicycles available for guests to ride
  • 25,000 sq. ft. of private indoor and outdoor event space
  • 15 meeting rooms
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • Complimentary transportation to/from Reynolda Village
  • Complimentary parking


black and white photo of a woman on a donkey

Bowman Gray, a former president and chairman of R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, and his wife, Nathalie, purchased 87 acres of land previously belonging to Reynolda House, the extensive estate owned by R. J. Reynolds.


black and white image of a building being built

The groundbreaking was on January 15. Built in the Norman Revival style, the Manor House featured steel and concrete construction with a veneer of fieldstone from local quarries. As many as 136 people worked on the construction of the estate at one time.


a black and white photo of the graylyn estate

The Gray family moved into the Manor House in 1932. With approximately 60 rooms, the house was one of the largest in North Carolina, second only to Biltmore. The grounds and gardens were designed by Thomas Sears of Philadelphia, PA.


black and white image of a large ship

On July 7, Bowman Gray died while vacationing with his family aboard a ship in the Northern Atlantic Ocean. He was buried at sea.


black and white image of a historical building

The Grays’ sons, Bowman, Jr. and Gordon, and their wives moved into the Graylyn Estate. In 1938, Nathalie Gray married Mr. Benjamin Bernard, and moved into what is now known as Bernard Cottage, where she lived until her death in 1961.


a black and white photo of a large building and trees

Mrs. Gray and her sons gave the estate to the Bowman Gray School of Medicine, Wake Forest University. The estate served as an academic hospital facility until 1959. From 1959 to 1972, it housed many academic programs for the medical school.


black and white image of books on a shelf

Gordon Gray purchased the estate from the medical school and, on the same day, donated Graylyn to Wake Forest University.


a fire being put out at the estate

On June 22, a fire ignited on the third floor of the Manor House during an outdoor concert by the Winston-Salem Symphony. The following day, the president of Wake Forest University, Dr. James Ralph Scales, announced that the home would be restored to its original splendor.


the driveway and the estate from a distance

In January, Graylyn International Conference Center opened following a $6 million renovation. Thomas Alexander Gray, grandson of Bowman and Nathalie Gray, was the preservation consultant for the restoration.


a floral couch and pink velvet accent pillows in a library

Graylyn was named to the National Register of Historic Places.


the driveway and the fountain at the graylyn

Restoration began on the Mews, a Normandy-style farm complex on the estate, thus adding another dimension to Graylyn. The project included 35 guest rooms alongside lounges, meeting rooms, and a dining room, doubling guest capacity.


a bedroom with light green walls and low lit lamps

In October, Graylyn renovated the Gardener’s Cottage, thereby making available four additional guest rooms.


a gray and black spiral staircase

Graylyn became a member of the Historic Hotels of American, a program affiliated with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which was once chaired by Gordon Gray.

The Highlights

The Manor House

The Manor House features countless architectural and decorative treasures found by Bowman and Nathalie Gray on their frequent travels, including Egyptian tapestries, ornate paneling from a French chateau, and a set of intricately carved wood panels from Damascus that is believed to be the oldest in the world.

brown and gray stone building
The Highlights

Artisan Craftsmanship

To create what would become one of the largest and most lavish private homes in the state, the Grays employed the country’s preeminent craftsmen, including Joseph Barton Benson, a well-known ironsmith from Philadelphia, and Thomas Warren Sears, a noted landscape architect. As many as 136 people worked on the construction of the estate at one time.

an indoor spiral staircase with green plants
The Highlights

Wake Forest University

Graylyn is proudly owned by Wake Forest University. In 1946 Mrs. Gray and her sons gave the estate to the Bowman Gray School of Medicine, of Wake Forest University. In 1972 when Wake Forest University was preparing to sell Graylyn Gordon Gray, Bowman and Nathalie Gray's youngest son, purchased the estate from the medical school and on the same day donated Graylyn back to Wake Forest University. Through the coming years, the estate had many uses, but mainly housed university programs and served the community, until it was restored as a historic hotel and conference center. Graylyn continues to support Wake Forest University's motto of "Pro Humanitate" by supporting the Graylyn Scholarship Fund, to help support prospective Wake Forest students.

a large building with a steeple