Art, Antiques, and Luxury in Asheville
If you thought the venerable Grove Park Inn was the height of luxury lodging in the Blue Ridge Mountains capital, Asheville, think again. Located at the entrance to the world famous Biltmore Estate is a boutique hotel that rewrites the rules on luxury, and you don’t need to stay there to experience the finer things in life.
During the construction of the mansion in the 1890’s, George Vanderbilt needed a place to house the hundreds of European artisans who were brought in for the intricate masonry, woodwork, and painting that was required for a true French chateau, and those people needed a place to live. In true Gilded Age tradition, he constructed an entire village for that purpose. The buildings all followed the same Tudor-Craftsman style, and that style is still strictly followed on all structures built in Biltmore Village today. Even the McDonald’s and Hardee’s restaurants must adhere to the rules. When the Grand Bohemian Hotel was built in 2008, it also followed those guidelines.
Photo by Marriott Hotels
Recently I had the privilege to spend a night at the hotel, and what I discovered was a true masterpiece of interior decoration and design luxury. Original paintings and sculpture fill every level of the four story hotel. Priceless antiques are mingled with comfortable furnishings, and the Tudor style is mirrored in the hand carved wall panels, and intricate stone work. The theme is the Bavarian Hunting Lodge, with echoes of a Tyrolean castle. Trophies of deer antlers are everywhere, even in the antler chandeliers over the guest beds, and in the guest baths. Antique beer tankards are displayed, as well as intricately etched hunting long guns. The hotel lobby is a masterpiece with teak columns, and a four sided stone fireplace in the center. Here are the images that I made during an early morning stroll.
A lobby art gallery offers American paintings, sculptures, handmade jewelry, and even feather bow ties…
The Red Stag Bar and Grill has a baby grand piano with live music in a warm European atmosphere. The grill room is as breathtaking as the rest of the hotel, serving local entrees with Viennese desserts.
Tyrolian Mountain Hat…
Guestroom hallways are filled with light and fine art…
The interior atrium and Motor Lobby reflect the style of the Biltmore House stables, with herringbone hand laid bricks, and Craftsman appointments.
The next time you’re in Asheville, go to Biltmore Village for a fine meal and wonderful shopping, and stroll over to the Grand Bohemian for a journey back to the 1890’s. Just tell them, “George Vanderbilt sent me”.