Asheville is known for its luxuriously appointed and warmly welcoming hotels, which range from sprawling resorts with mountain views to sleek downtown towers. And now that the city has become a hot spot for hosting conferences, it’s perfect for both work and play.
Grove Park Inn opened to the public in 1913. More than a century later it remains one of North Carolina’s most beloved hotel resorts. Much of what impresses about this place is its size – hundreds of workers helped to build the hotel, lugging granite boulders down from Sunset Mountain. Topping off the arts-and-crafts-style building is a charming red-clay tiled roof. Two vast stone fireplaces adorn each end of the grand lobby, while views from the restaurants – including Edison, Craft Ales + Kitchen and the Sunset Terrace – stretch over the Blue Ridge Mountains. Grove Park Inn also offers 31 classic meeting rooms. The vast Grand Ballroom and elegant Heritage Ballroom, in particular, are perfect for large conventions, as long as attendees don’t get too distracted by the 18-hole Donald Ross-designed golf course, health and fitness centre, tennis courts and spa, which has a series of underground mineral pools.
Set in a restored steel factory, the downtown Foundry Hotel offers a nod to Asheville’s industrial past. This was where the Asheville Foundry & Supply Co once forged steel for some of the city’s most famous locations, including Biltmore Estate, where you should look out for foundry artifacts when visiting. Hotel highlights include the outside courtyard and its African-American soul-food restaurant, Benne on Eagle, which pays tribute to The Block, Asheville’s historical black business district.
In historic Biltmore Village, Grand Bohemian Hotel is as close as you can get to Biltmore Estate without staying on the grounds. Part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection, the Grand Bohemian recalls Biltmore’s opulent heyday with its large, luxurious lobby fireplace, taxidermy on the walls, grand antler chandeliers and plush velvet sofas.
The city’s former BB&T Bank building has been transformed into a 128-room high-rise with panoramic mountain views. In the heart of downtown, Hotel Arras is the epitome of sleek modernity. It has an airy lobby, a fitness centre and two restaurants: the Mediterranean-inspired Bargello, and District 42, which offers a cocktail bar, shareable plates and a patio with views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.