The Omni Grove Park Inn Asheville, NC

 

 

 

The resort is a great destination for those looking to see the Blue Ridge Mountains, driving the Blue Ridge Parkway and to see Fall Foliage. It is a great historic hotel with a tranquil surrounding. Highly recommend dining at the Sunset Terrace, beautiful scenery and wonderful food.

 

More Fun Facts:

The Grove Park Inn is an historic resort hotel on the western-facing slope of Sunset Mountain within the Blue Ridge Mountains, in Asheville, North Carolina. It is a AAA Four-Diamond Hotel and has been since 2001. It has been visited by many United States’ presidents and many other notable personages. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the hotel is an example of the Arts and Crafts style. It also features a $44 million, 40,000-square-foot (3,700 m2), modern subterranean spa, which placed #13 worldwide in Travel + Leisure‘s World’s Best Hotel Spas in 2008. The Grove Park Inn is a member of the Historic Hotel of America, the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

History

Edwin believed the Asheville, North Carolina climate would have health benefits and be the ideal location for a resort. His doctors sent him there to determine if the climate would help reduce or cure his bouts with extreme hiccups, which would last several weeks at a time.

E. W. Grove began to accumulate the land for the inn and his Grove Park-Kimberly Avenue developments in 1910. He bought several farms and sloped areas all the way to the top of Sunset Mountain. Grove bought and demolished several TB sanitariums in his zeal to change the face of Asheville. Construction began in 1912 and was completed in 11 months and 27 days. This was accomplished by paying high wages to the dedicated workers. Circus tents were erected on the job site to house the workers. Just three days shy of one year, The Grove Park Inn opened on July 12, 1913. Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan delivered the keynote address to four hundred of the most distinguished men of the South, gathered for the opening banquet. He had no idea of how true his words would become when he proclaimed that The Grove Park Inn “was built for the ages.” The hotel was outfitted with furnishings from the Roycrofters of East Aurora, New York, one of the most important designers and manufacturers of Arts and Crafts furniture, metal work and other accessories. The hotel was built of rough granite stones and the expansive lobby is noted for its enormous granite fireplaces and expansive porch with its scenic overlook. It was advertised as having “walls five feet thick of granite boulders”.[1] Four-hundred men worked 10-hour shifts six days a week. With the work of mules, wagons and ropes, and a lone steam shovel, granite boulders, some weighing as much as 10,000 pounds, were hauled from Sunset Mountain to build the hotel. Seely kept his promise to be open for business in less than one year from the ground breaking.

Sketch of the exterior of the Grove Park Inn by Fred Seely, 1912

Grove Park and Biltmore Relationship

In 1917, just four years after the completion of the construction of the Grove Park Inn, Fred Seely purchased Biltmore Estate Industries from Edith Vanderbilt, wife of George Washington Vanderbilt II, the owner of the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. This new venture came in addition to his responsibilities as the manager of the Grove Park Inn. E.W. Grove, his father-in-law and owner of the Grove Park Inn had refused to sell the hotel to Seely though he had eagerly allowed him to construct the building. He instead leased the hotel to Seely to manage and Seely managed the hotel until 1927, the year of Grove’s death and the year Seely lost his legal bid to own the hotel. Grove left his hotel to his wife and son and daughter. Though Seely was married to his daughter, Grove made no concessions to Seely and the Inn passed into the hands of what one advertisement described as “more liberal management.” An interesting annotation by Seely scribbled next to the advertisement found in his files takes issue with that characterization.

 

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