The Ultimate Guide To Asheville and the Western North Carolina Mountains
The Ultimate Guide to Asheville & the Western North Carolina Mountains

The Online Version of the Best-selling Regional Guidebook

Susanna Pantas -"Beautifully rendered paintings of nature, ourselves, and the imagined"

 Omni Grove Park Inn

Pen & Ink Drawings of Biltmore Estate, by Lee James Pantas

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Grove Park Inn Spa Review

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Grove Park Inn
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   The Grove Park Inn was the dream of Edwin Wiley Grove and his son-in-law, Fred Loring Seely, who envisioned the building of a resort hotel in the beautiful and restful mountains of the Southern Appalachians. Mr. Grove, who was the owner of a pharmaceutical company in St. Louis, Missouri, had come to Asheville for health reasons and liked the area so much he bought land here, including acreage on the western slope of Sunset Mountain. It was on this land that he eventually built a unique resort, the Grove Park Inn, patterned after the Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone National Park, but built of native stone instead of logs.
    Over the years, this grand hotel has had many distinguished guests. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his wife, Eleanor, President Woodrow Wilson, F. Scott Fitzgerald, William Jennings Bryan and Will Rogers all journeyed to E.W. Grove’s luxurious mountainside inn. The attraction of the inn was compelling and guests came in great numbers from all over the world. Other noteworthy visitors were John D. Rockefeller, General Pershing, Chief Justice Taft and Thomas Edison.


    The hotel was designed by Mr. Seely and was constructed of granite boulders which were brought from nearby Sunset Mountain or from land owned by Mr. Grove. Hundreds of North Carolina laborers helped in the construction was well as Italian stone masons. Each rock was used only if it fit perfectly where it was needed, and the great fireplaces, which are thirty-six feet wide required one hundred and twenty tons of boulders to build. The hotel was completed in just over a year and was opened on July 1, 1913.
    Originally a guard house protected the main entrance to the hotel grounds. The roads leading up the hill along Macon Avenue were also originally paved in smooth brick and converged on a circular parking area in front of the east porch, now the main entrance. Seven hundred pieces of furniture and over six hundred lighting fixtures were handmade by Roycrofters of East Aurora, New York, and the bedroom furniture was made by the White Furniture Company of Mebane, North Carolina. The rugs were woven in Aubusson, France, and lasted until 1955, when Charles and Elaine Sammons of Dallas came to the resort and refurnished the entire property. In the early years, entertainment at the hotel included bowling, swimming and billiards, and in the Great Hall there were concerts, organ recitals and movies, after which each guest received an apple wrapped in gray paper for depositing the core. Another hotel practice which amazed visitors was the presenting of change at the cashier’s window in washed and polished silver and crisp new paper money.
    The rocking chairs on the porches and terraces were very popular as guests would sit for hours enjoying the mountain views and refreshing air. Walking paths on the grounds were also provided for the guests.
    During the years of the Second World War, the U.S. State Department leased the property for an internment center for Axis diplomats. Later, the Navy Department took over the hotel as a rest and rehabilitation center for soldiers returning from the war, and the Philippine Government in exile functioned from the Presidential Cottage on the hotel grounds. For a decade after the war, the hotel was operated as such by the owner, Ike Hall.
   The complete restoration and modernization, begun in 1955, included private baths in every room, electric and water lines replaced, American fabrics and rugs installed and furniture cleaned, restored and reupholstered. A beautiful swimming pool was added, tennis courts were resurfaced and a putting green constructed. In later years, wings were added to the original stone hotel body to provide needed guest accommodations.

Wild & Furry Animals of the Southern Appalachian Mountains, by Lee James Pantas

    In 1917, the Biltmore Industries, a cottage craft industry started by Mrs. George Vanderbilt, was sold to Mr. Seely who installed it in the Old English type shops at the edge of the Grove Park Inn grounds. Visitors to the Grove Park Inn could watch the spinning and carding of wool and the looming of cloth. These cottages still operate in much the same spirit and are home to the Grovewood Gallery, the Estes-Winn Memorial Automobile Museum and the North Carolina Homespun Museum.
    In the early 1980s the famous resort hotel was converted from a seasonal enterprise into a year-round resort and convention center. Refurbishing of all the guest rooms, public areas, dining rooms and meeting rooms was undertaken, and the electric and plumbing system fully modernized. New wings included complete meeting and conference facilities.
   Today, the Grove Park Inn, owned and operated by Omni Resort & Hotels,  is the epitome of a world-class resort. This grand lady has it all—superb facilities, a rich history, overwhelmingly beautiful mountain setting, a Four Diamond Restaurant, and championship golf course. The hotel has over 40 meeting rooms offering 50,000 square feet of space, complete in-house support services, 510 guest rooms, including 12 suites. Deluxe accommodations are also provided on the Club Floor, a concierge-attended floor which features oversized guest rooms with jacuzzis, newspaper delivery and a private Club Lounge. There are six outdoor tennis courts and three indoor plexipave courts, as well as racquetball, squash, Nautilus and aerobics facilities.
The Spa at the Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa   Recent renovations and additions to the resort include an updated Sports Center with indoor pool, the restoration of the historic main Inn’s roof, new outdoor tennis courts and an extraordinary 43,000 sq. ft. spa complex that is one of the finest in the world A Grove Park Inn Review by writer Liza Schillo will give you an insider’s view of just how wonderful the Spa at the Grove Park Inn Resort really is . These improvements tally over $24 million and further secure the Grove Park Inn Resort and Spa’s position as one of the world’s great hotels.

Website: Grove Park Inn
Asheville NC
Address: 290 Macon Ave., Asheville, NC 28804
Telephone: 800-438-5800, 828-252-2711
Rates: Luxury
Of Note:  Listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Nearby: Thomas Wolfe Memorial, Biltmore Estate
Directions: From I-40 or I-26, take I-240 into Asheville. Take exit 5B, Charlotte Street. Proceed north on Charlotte Street for ˝ miles, then turn right on Macon Avenue. After ˝ mile, take Grove Park Inn entrance on left.


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