Blue Ridge Mountain Hotels
When it came to thinking of Westward trips, the Blue Ridge Mountains were unavoidable. Sure, it’s close to home as far as Westward-thinking goes, but there’s nothing quite like this area of the country that just so happens to also be our backyard.
The mountain range, whose southernmost portion is in Georgia with the most northward point in Pennsylvania, has captivated generations of travelers, outdoor enthusiasts, and history buffs. The iconic mountains house Shenandoah National Park, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and parts of the Appalachian Trail. Early settlers of Virginia nestled at the foothills of the mountains, various Native American tribes, including the Shawnee and Iroquois, called parts of the Blue Ridge home, and Robert E. Lee moved slowly through the area with his troops to begin the second invasion of the North.
Today, the hazy blue mountain ranges are amongst some of the best places to visit, from North Carolina to Tennessee. They boast unique hotels, inns, and lodges a-plenty, while still preserving that sense of rural wonder and quietude that keeps us coming back every time. To borrow from a famous quote: The mountains are calling, and we must go.
The Grand Bohemian Asheville
Situated just outside the gates of the Biltmore Estate is the unmistakable facade of The Grand Bohemian Hotel, the Asheville chapter of the Kessler Collection’s signature fusion of art, eclectic decor, and luxury accomodations. Every Grand Bohemian has a distinct character, and the Asheville property embraces a European mountain lodge aesthetic with playful fervor. Hunting imagery and relics associated with the outdoors coexist with velvety ultraluxe interiors. And of course, the whole of the hotel is one sprawling showcase for Richard Kessler’s extensive art collection, featuring over a hundred locala and internationally acclaimed artist’s pieces. While you’re there: You’d be hard pressed to stay in Biltmore Village and avoid visiting the largest house in the United States. The Biltmore Estate is a marvel and should be explored at least a few times, but you don’t need to be told that. The Grand Bohemian is also just outside of downtown Asheville, which, you also don’t need to be told, is the beer capital of the southeast. Just up Biltmore Avenue, you’ll find the fabled South Slope, which offers the likes of High Wire, Wicked Weed, Burial, Catawba, Green Man, and (literally) countless others. End your tour of the Slope and its brews at All Souls Pizza, where decadence is served up with surprising speed.
Inspired by the travels, tastes, and lifestyle of legendary cyclist George Hincapie, Hotel Domestique exists at the intersection of two hospitality ideals. Part countryside auberge, part modern boutique hotel, Domestique is the definition of a retreat—it’s even located in a town called Traveler’s Rest. The destination is tucked at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the foothills of upstate South Carolina, allowing for some of the most stunning views in all of Carolina. Enchanting guests in search of peace from across the nation, the hotel’s unique blend of Old World style and contemporary design creates an atmosphere entirely cut off from daily routine (and daily stress). While you’re there: This part of South Carolina has become a sort of base of operations for adventure seekers. You really can’t travel anywhere from this spot without stumbling upon world-class sporting opportunities. Whether you’re into fly-tying and wader-rocking or bait fishing from the trusty old skiff, Dupont State Forest has plenty of rivers and lakes—with loads of picturesque waterfalls, hiking trails, and hunting areas to boot. A little closer to Hotel Domestique lies trout fishing haven Jones Gap State Park, and still more excuses to explore some idyllic wildernesses.
NC BLUE RIDGE HOTELS
Balsam Mountain Inn
This North Carolina gem, in the small town of Balsam, sits 3,500 feet above ground, in between The Plott Balsam and Richland Balsam mountain ranges. Built in 1908 as a railway station, The Balsam Mountain Inn today is the quintessential escape from day-to-day life into the mountains. One of the best ways to enjoy this quiet area is to get out to Richland Balsam Mountain for a strenuous, but rewarding, hike.
The Sourwood Inn is a charming bed and breakfast that sits on 100-acres of alluring terrain. Created to provide a retreat for its guests, Sourwood boasts a well-stocked library, nearby lake access, and an abundance of outdoor adventures.The inn is the perfect place to unplug, recharge, and revel in the beauty of nature. Luella’s Bar-B-Que is just a short drive away, and they’ve got all the smoked meats and house-made sauces you could want. Just don’t skip the smoked wings.
Old Edwards Inn and Spa
Known for its combination of luxury and relaxation, this western escape will leave you happily immersed in the natural beauty of the Blue Ridge mountains. The Old Edwards Inn and Spa offers its guests an array of fine European-style suites, cottages, and private estates. The Inn also provides guests with art, music and pristine outdoor adventures for an unforgettable experience. There’s several spectacular waterfalls in the Highlands area, so we recommend you venture outside the hotel room for a day trip.
The Omni Grove Park Inn
For over a century, The Omni Grove Park Inn has been the perfect destination for travelers to rejuvenate, relax, and breathe clean mountain air. This resort sits atop Sunset Mountain, providing guest with breathtaking views, and is equipped with its own award-winning spa and several restaurants and bars on property to choose from. For a classic mountain experience, visit Grove Park. While you’re there: Downtown Asheville is just a short drive down the road, so once you’ve explored the grounds of the Grove Park, you can explore all downtown has to offer.
Surrounded by thousands of acres of rich forest and beautiful mountain views, Leatherwood is a premier mountain resort. One of its most popular resident and guest activities is horseback riding. Guests are also provided with on-site fishing, hiking, and tennis, among many other amenities. Leatherwood promises to keep guests having a great time year round. Grandfather Mountain is nearby, with nearly 2,500-acres of backcountry for hiking, backpacking, and sightseeing.
Chetola is an exquisite 87-acre resort in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Beloved for its tantalizing views and the unique attractions the property houses, Chetola is the perfect destination for every season. The Resort has also managed to fully embrace the stunning natural setting around it, and offers many ways to have fun at the Highlands Sports and Recreation Center, outside at Chetola Lake, and on the adjacent hiking trails.
As a mainstay for generations of guests, the Eseeola Lodge is a unique mountain resort steeped in tradition. The Lodge is known for its high standards in hospitality, and provides great fun for the entire family. Depending on the time of year, guests can find an array of arts, festivals and local vineyards. Whether you’re looking for an exciting night out or just family fun, you can find it all at Eseeola. Plus, if you visit during the summer you get access to The Appalachian Summer Festival, one of the nation’s most well-respected regional arts festivals.
Inn at Crestwood
Whether you’re looking to enjoy a stay or say “I do,” The Inn at Crestwood is the perfect mountain getaway. The Inn provides guest with amazing spa, dining and wedding services. A hidden gem with a spectacular view, the inn is a quaint destination for any guest to unwind. While you’re there: The Gamekeeper, located in a rustic 1950s-era stone cabin, is just down the road—hopefully their locally sourced game includes elk. Regardless of your entrée choice, first order the onion-crusted rabbit with wild mushroom cream & fried brussels.
Mast Farm Inn
Known for its impeccable weddings and historic lodging, the award-winning Mast Farm Inn is a great destination to enjoy mesmerizing views and a scenic atmosphere. With a wide variety of amenities ranging from outdoor activities to fine dining and shopping, the Inn gives guests a great home away from home. While you’re there: Pop over to the original Mast General Store—it’s one of the primary reasons to visit Valle Crucis in the first place. Grab a spicy Blenheim Ginger Ale and linger on the century-old porch, which is always full of oldtimers and banjo-picking.
Applewood Manor B&B
Surrounded by an acre of giant wild cherries, oaks, and a variety of flora, The Applewood Manor makes for the perfect bed and breakfast. Applewood Manor welcomes guests to enjoy what it calls its “garden to gut” philosophy towards food, providing guest with a farm-to-table dining experience. While you’re there: The Manor is a short walk from downtown Asheville, but it’s location is an eclectic stroll in its own right. The Montford district, which is included in the National Register of Historic Places, is full of old Victorian, Queen Anne, and Arts and Crafts homes combined with Neoclassical, Colonial Revival, and castle-like motifs. Don’t miss Riverside Cemetery.
Bent Creek Lodge
This mountainside retreat is the perfect mix of pampering and privacy. Only 10 miles away from the center of Asheville, the lodge allows guests the best of both worlds. From its amenities to its pristine service, Bent Creek Lodge is the essential comfortable and casual getaway. While you’re there: The lodge is just minutes from the North Carolina Arboretum, a spectacular array of gardens, bonsai exhibits, hiking trails, and biking paths with mountain views. Don’t miss it.
VIRGINIA BLUE RIDGE HOTELS
The Omni Homestead Resort
The Omni Homestead Resort provides guests a local feel accompanied by world-class customer service. With eight 1,300 foot zip lines among its many amenities, Omni Homestead makes for an exciting stay. Through authenticity and innovation, this resort leaves its guests with a memorable experience. While you’re there: Hot Springs’ Main Street houses Les Cochons d’Or, probably the best spot in all the highlands for French American fare. We recommend the pancetta-wrapped pork tenderloin with all its carrot confit, forbidden black rice, and balsamic jus goodness.
Aska Lodge B&B
One of the number one bed and breakfasts in the Blue Ridge, Aska Lodge is your ultimate escape. It’s unique mountain experience: This lodge offers serenity and solitude for visitors. You can also find outdoor seating, a speciality woodworking course, and specialty meals among the B&B’s many amenities. For a peaceful atmosphere and enjoyable stay, visit Aska Lodge.
WEST VIRGINIA HOTELS
Known for its environmental consciousness, Primland is the ultimate sporting retreat. Offering unbeatable scenic views, this resort offers guests world-class golf, exquisite dining, and a plethora of outdoor activities. While you’re there: Go hunting. Primland is situated in the midst of Virginia’s highland wilderness, meaning there’s not too much to experience outside the 12000-acre preserve. In other words, don’t leave Primland.
South Holston River Lodge
Located on the seventh mile of the South Holston River, this resort ranks amongst the best fly fishing destinations in the country. South Holston River Lodge offers guest year-round guided fly fishing trips, riverside cabin rentals and customized cuisine. For the sporting enthusiasts, this lodge experience is unmatched.