I promised to share with you our Christmas visit to Grove Park Inn. Above is the back of this Grande Dame! She was built from granite boulders hewn from Sunset Mountain, & opened in 1913. It took a crew of 400 men only 12 months to build the majestic landmark, dragging hundreds of tons of boulders up the mountainside with the aid of teams of mules, ropes and pulleys, wagons and a lone steam shovel. They just don’t make architecture like this anymore! Don’t you love the shape of the roofline & the shingles?
The hotel was the vision of E.W. Grove, a St. Louis entrepreneur who made his millions in the 1890s peddling an elixir called Grove’s Tasteless Chill Tonic There have been many American luminaries to have stayed here, a list that includes F. Scott Fitzgerald, Harry Houdini, Will Rogers, George Gershwin, Thomas Edison, Eleanor Roosevelt, Helen Keller and Henry Ford. Not to mention presidents — William Howard Taft, Woodrow Wilson, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard M. Nixon, George H. W. Bush, William J. Clinton and Barack H. Obama.
It’s hard to believe today but, there was a time soon after WWII when the only thing that kept the Inn standing was the prohibitive cost of tearing it down. Fortunately, in 1955, the hotel caught the eye of a Dallas businessman named Charles Sammons. Under the stewardship of Sammons and his wife Elaine, the Inn was fully restored and, in 1973, it was named to the National Register of Historic Places. Mrs. Sammons was a lover of first class spa’s & her dream was to create a 5 star Spa & Resort. SHE DID ACHIEVE THIS! Above you can see one of the two wings added to create the new resort. In the center the stairs lead down to the Spa which is located underground under the glass pyramid.
The photo above is of the Spa seen from our room. A stunning view indeed. Our room was the third one from the end in the photo below.
We were on the Club Floor so we were at the top which gave us a beautiful view of downtown Asheville after overlooking part of the Golf Course.
Looking out the other direction you would look past the Course to see a beautiful old section of Asheville built in what I would guess to be the early 1900’s to 1930’s or so. And the views of the mountains never fail to make this flat lander sigh with joy.
The lobby Christmas tree was huge & always had a crowd around it.
Speaking of the lobby… it is decorated in a bit of Frank Loyd Wright style with the furnishings (really the entire Resort has that feel & decor). The fireplace is HUGE! Big enough that this 6 foot tall Texas Gal could have stood inside of it without having to stoop over! And they had a Yule Log burning every hour of the day while we were there.
Our room also had that feel. Below is our room the first night with our tree glowing in the window. The comfy leather furniture & the inviting fireplace was so lovely.
I’ll leave you with the lights of downtown Asheville twinkling in the sky painted with God’s amazing box of colors.
Did you enjoy this little glimpse of history & some of the photos of this magical place? I hope you’ll come back soon to see some more photos of the spa (my friend Ginger snuck her camera in as you are not supposed to have camera’s or cell phones down there). And I hope you remember this amazing place & if you are ever in the area… GO!!! STAY AT LEAST A DAY OR TWO!