Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Grove Park Inn Resort and Spa, Asheville, NC

We are participating in MY WORLD TUESDAY.

This four-star resort is a must see for anyone visiting Asheville.

Built from granite boulders hewn from Sunset Mountain, The Grove Park Inn opened in 1913. At its opening dinner, William Jennings Bryan declared that it had been “built for the ages.” In the decades since it has become one of the South’s most famous and venerable resorts.

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. For his Inn, he envisioned a hotel that would be like “a big home where every modern convenience could be found, but with all the old-fashioned qualities of genuineness with no sham.”

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.

The lobby is known as The Great Hall — and for good reason. Measuring 120 feet across, the hall features 24-foot ceilings and two gigantic 14-foot stone fireplaces. It’s famous for the elevators cleverly hidden in the chimneys of the stone fireplaces (put there to conceal the noise of the machinery), which continue to transport guests to their rooms today.

During the summers of 1935 and ’36, author F. Scott Fitzgerald resided in our Room 441. He’s just one of the American luminaries to have stayed here, a list that includes Harry Houdini, Will Rogers, George Gershwin, Thomas Edison, Eleanor Roosevelt 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 Dallas businessman named Charles Sammons. Under the stewardship of Sammons and his wife Elaine, the Inn was fully restored and, in1973, it was named to the National Register of Historic Places.

With the restoration came a new era of hospitality as the resort was perfected for a modern audience. The contemporary wings of the hotel were added, and beginning in 1998, a period of intensive renovation and expansion occurred, culminating in the creation of the resort’s $42 million Spa.

From yesterday to today, The Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa has remained a place dedicated to providing its guests with comfort — and genuine delight.

There are wonderful shops, several bars, and live music in the Great Hall plus plenty of balconies to sit, relax and view the Smokey Mountains. Thankfully it is a bit of history that has survived! Visit www.groveparkinn.com for more info.


NCmountainwoman said...

Nice post on this grand old place. We took our children there when they were small. Of all the things they remembered about that trip, the fireplace at the Grove Park was their favorite.

Baruch said...

Awesome resort - interesting how it was built with boulders

SandyCarlson said...

Yet another reason to love NC!

Tracychele said...

Going there tomorrow for my 13th Anniversary. I am so excited! Thanks for the info!


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