Eight presidents stayed here. Will Rogers, George Gershwin and Thomas Edison stopped by. Author F. Scott Fitzgerald spent summers on its glamorous premises nursing writer’s block — and a drink. Welcome to The Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa.
Nearby are the Great Smoky Mountains, the Cherokee Indian Reservation and the Biltmore House, the largest private home in the United States, constructed from 1889-1895 to imitate France’s Chateau de Blois.
The resort offers the visitor lots to do and the chance to get away from it all. The Inn overlooks the city of Asheville, refuge of the rich and stressed for a hundred years, which abounds in history.
Once home to writer Thomas Wolfe (1900-1938), author ofYou Can’t Go Home Again, Asheville features streets lined with galleries full of works by local artisans.
Still, if you never left the property, a stay at the inn would be a perfect vacation in itself. The newly renovated 510-room establishment, which opened for business in 1913, is one of America’s premier mountain resorts, commanding grand views of the legendary Blue Ridge Mountains.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it was the dream of Edwin W. Grove, the wealthy entrepreneur behind a turn-of-the-century hit called Grove’s Tasteless Chill Tonic, a health/body restorative kind of drink like a smoothie today. He first came to the area, with its pure mountain air, on the advice of his doctor to escape harsh northern winters.
Working with his son-in-law and co-developer Fred L. Seely, Grove oversaw the flurry of activity that created the Inn, situated at an altitude of about 2,000 feet (610 m). Grove saw the hilltop masterpiece overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains as a retreat from the hustle of his era. Charles and Elaine Sammons, who purchased the Inn in 1955, continued that vision.
The Inn’s old-world charm, impeccable service and stellar amenities set it apart. It’s the perfect tonic à la Grove, for mind and body. An 18-hole golf course, redesigned in 1924 by master architect Donald Ross, delighted such greats as Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Ben Hogan. Enjoy a game of tennis or racquetball, or swim in the indoor or outdoor pools.
Flex your muscles at the 18-station fitness center or try the 40,000-square-foot (3,700 m²) spa. You might also try out the sauna and whirlpool, or choose skin, massage and body treatments. The inn also offers a beauty salon and a juice bar.
Kick back on the plush-top mattress in your recently refurbished room and listen to music on a CD player or watch a movie. You might even stay in a theme suite; they include nods to the fabulous 50s, the swinging 60s and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Great Gatsby.
If you’re looking for a way to entertain the kids while you focus on your spouse, the Inn can help. It offers a variety of children’s programs, including arts and crafts, campfires and pizza parties. While the kids have fun, have drinks in the Great Hall Bar, then enjoy dinner at Horizons, chosen by Food & Wine magazine as one of the best hotel restaurants in the nation. Additional choices include Sunset Terrace and the Blue Ridge Dining Room, with its mountain vistas.
Pull up a rocking chair and take in the view. Pretend it’s 1913 again. The Grove Park Inn is still a retreat from the hectic world — just as it was then.
If You Go
Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa
290 Macon Avenue
Asheville, North Carolina 28804
800-438-5800 (toll free)