North Carolina: Grand Bohemian Hotel Asheville
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Address11 Boston Way28803Asheville, North Carolina888/717-8756bohemianhotelasheville.com
The four wooden columns standing beside the oversized stone hearth in the lobby, crafted by artisans in India, are embellished with inlaid animal bone.
The Viennese-inspired ballroom has a grand piano designed by iconic Austrian piano manufacturer, Bösendorfer. The hotel will even let you play it, if you're willing to pay the tuning fee.
The lighting isn't just on the ceiling at the Red Stag Grill: the menus themselves are backlit.
- Fitness center
- In-room dining
- Pets welcome
- High-speed Internet access
There's art everywhere, with individualized fine art pieces and artifacts—many from Mr. Kessler's private collection—hanging on walls, peeking out of unexpected corners, and featured in the art gallery off the main lobby. Upstairs, the Grand Bohemian's rooms echo these same themes, with cozy beds and oversized bathtubs offset by antler lamps, Bavarian busts and oil portraits of rustic hunting landscapes.
But don't let the Old World vibe fool you. The Grand Bohemian Hotel is fully equipped with modern amenities including a gym, the full-service Poseidon Spa, and The Red Stag Grill. This last is the hotel's farm-to-table restaurant, led by executive chef and North Carolina native, Adam Hayes. Named after a type of deer found in middle Europe, the restaurant merges European-inspired comfort food—house-made knockwurst with pickled red cabbage, elk tenderloin paired with chestnut mashed potatoes and wild berry demi glace—with meat, dairy, produce and beer sourced from North Carolina farms and breweries. It's phenomenally good. After dinner I happily stumbled up to my room, gave my antler lamp a friendly pat and filled the tub with bubbles, fully relaxing into Grand Bohemian's Bavarian take on Southern charm. — Leah Koenig
In the Area
- The Biltmore: America's "largest house" was built in the late 1890s by George Vanderbilt - a socialite, bon vivant, and heir to the Vanderbilt family fortune. Buy a day pass ($44-69/adult) and stroll around the ground's massive gardens, designed by Central Park's landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted.One Lodge Street; tel: 800/411-3812; biltmore.com
- Blue Ridge Parkway: Hiking, biking, waterfalls, camping and scenic overlooks every few feet - the 469 mile parkway which connects Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina and the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia can keep a nature lover happy for days (or, in the case of locals, years!) blueridgeparkway.com
- Battery Park Book Exchange & Champagne Bar: Sate your inner bookworm at this winding fun house of 60,000 new, used and rare books. Cozy up on a couch or in a private nook for a read and a snooze. And if you get thirsty, head to the champagne bar for one of 80 wines (sparkling and otherwise) and champagnes served by the glass. 1 Page Avenue, Suite 101; tel: 828/ 252-0020; batteryparkbookexchange.com
- Highland Brewery Happy Hour: Asheville has been crowned "Beer City USA" for its booming microbrewery scene. Spend your trip swilling stouts and IPAs at as many breweries as you can, but don't miss happy hour at Highland, the brewery that got it all started in 1994. They open up their warehouse to the public every Thursday-Friday from 4-8pm for what is likely the city's best and biggest happy hour scene. The food trucks, local bands playing bluegrass and rockabilly, and delicious beer seem to bring out just about everyone in town. 12 Old Charlotte Highway, Suite H; tel: 828/299-3370; highlandbrewing.com
- Cúrate: Husband and wife team Félix Meana (from Spain) and Katie Button (a neuroscientist-turned-chef who spent time at the famed elBulli in Spain) recently opened this cozy tapas bar in downtown Asheville. The menu features simple, beautifully executed dishes ranging from pan con tomate (the Catalan bread and tomato dish) and croquetas de polo (creamy chicken fingers) to ensalada verda, a sunchoke and fresh pea salad drizzled with a startlingly delicious brown butter and sherry vinaigrette. 11 Biltmore Avenue; tel: 828/239-2946; curatetapasbar.com