Grand Getaways: Grove Park Inn
A century-long legacy in relaxation and luxury beckons visitors to embark on a romantic winter retreat in Asheville, North Carolina.
Warmth pours from a larger-than-life fireplace as guests at the Grove Park Inn seek respite from the Asheville, North Carolina, chilly winter. A step inside the Grand Hall offers not only ample heat but also a sense of walking into timeless luxury. There are carefully crafted wood furnishings, classic cocktails at the nearby bar, and, of course, views of the surrounding Appalachian peaks.
Since Edwin Wiley Grove opened the doors in 1913, the Grove Park Inn has beckoned the weary to drink deeply of the restorative relaxation that made this corner of the Blue Ridge Mountains famous. Like so many new arrivals to Asheville in the early 20th century, Grove came to western North Carolina for health reasons, hoping to find a reprieve from chronic bronchitis and persistent hiccups. His recovery was so profound that he set about making his experience available for others. Grove created a place at home in its woodland setting, building the inn from the area’s stone and crafting an experience inside that likewise emphasized the natural and holistic.
Visitors to Grove Park a century ago kept conversations in the lobby to a whisper so as not to disturb other guests. Even notable patrons—who included Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and 10 sitting U.S. presidents—were kindly asked not to bathe after 9 p.m. so that the pipes didn’t cause a stir.
Today, Grove Park’s once-hushed lobby adjoins a craft-beer pub named after Edison, which, like the Grove’s other eateries, boasts the farm-to-table flavors for which Asheville is known. Indeed, the inn adds to the city’s appeal as an epicurean destination.
Continuing its legacy as a healthful retreat, Grove Park offers modern luxury with a state-of-the-art, subterranean spa. Director Ellen McGinnis explains that the spa’s design, amenities, and signature treatments are driven by the theme of “fire, rock, water, and light.”
The walls and ceiling surrounding the lap and mineral pools echo the mountainous surroundings with stone features throughout. For an added ethereal touch, when one dips beneath the water’s surface, music plays. On cold winter evenings, spa guests can enjoy fireplaces on the heated pool deck.
Grove Park’s abiding message has been delicately painted on the Grand Hall fireplace mantel since its opening: “Take from this hearth its warmth; from this room its charm; from this inn its amity. Return them not—But return.” With romantic walks in the woods, couples’ spa treatments, and evenings of dining and even some impromptu dancing, the Grove Park Inn continues to give visitors every reason to come back.