by Lissa Poirot
Arriving at the mountaintop resort that is The Omni Grove Park Inn, located in Asheville, N.C., is certainly impressive. The granite boulder-covered resort, acquired by Omni Hotels & Resorts in 2013, stands majestically before sweeping views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It recently underwent a $25-million restoration and renovation, which included the opening of EDISON, a new restaurant.
One of the Historic Hotels of America, Grove Park broke ground in 1912 and flourished in the 1920’s, in a time when guests were not allowed to consume alcohol and were discouraged from bringing children. F. Scott Fitzgerald took up residence in the hotel’s halls in the summers of 1935 and 1936, and the resort languished in the golden age of the 1950’s. Through a number of restorations and renovations, the resort remains an old-fashioned, yet luxurious destination resort, though it’s now one that welcomes children wholeheartedly. Today, the children’s programs keep kids 5 to 12 outdoors and having fun, while parents enjoy the slope-side golf course, the beyond-believable spa, and drinks from the sunset terrace.
During the resort’s long history, 10 presidents and countless celebrities have stayed in the very rooms your family can stay in today. Doors are fastened with small plaques announcing which famous person rested their head inside the room, and in what year. Guests have included magicians Harry Houdini and David Copperfield; actors Anthony Hopkins, Danny Glover and Gene Hackman; writers F. Scott Fitzgerald; dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov; Olympians Dorothy Hamill and Viktor Petrenko; presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and Franklin D. Roosevelt; and even a beloved mouse by the name of Mickey.
The hotel’s mascot, Major Bear, is featured everywhere in The Omni Grove Park Inn, from children’s books sold in the resort’s stores to stuffed bears kids will want to take home, along with appearances from the fuzzy bear himself.
Our Editor Loves
- Children's programs for ages 5 to 12
- 50,000-square-foot sports complex
- Indoor and outdoor pools
- Children Programs
- Connecting Rooms
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
Guestrooms and suites can be selected in the Historic Main Inn, which was opened in 1913, the Vanderbilt Wing, the Sammons wing and the Club floor. Rooms feature free Wi-Fi, microwave, refrigerator, coffeemaker and pay-per-view and video games. The Main Inn rooms are furnished with craftsman-era furnishings, while the newer wings feature more spacious rooms. Rooms vary by view, with panorama corner rooms in the Main Inn and Sammons Wing boasting the best mountain views and more space. Mountain view rooms are found in the Contemporary wings and Main Inn, facing the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountain ranges and the resort's golf course. Property view rooms overlook the spa or property. Value rooms are small rooms with one bed in the Main Inn -- charming, yes, but not meant for families.
Selecting a Club Floor room will provide you extra amenities, as well as complimentary spa access, but alas, they are only for guests 18+.
Located in the historic Main Inn or Sammons Wing, king, queen or double beds are available here.
Overlooking the spa gardens or Main Inn's courtyard, king, queen or double beds are available here.
Located in the Vanderbilt Wing, this suite offers a separate sitting area and balcony. A connecting room to this suite is also available.
Located in the Sammons Wing, this oversized room can serve as the bridal dressing room.
I didn't stay in the hotel, just came to visit and the grounds are absolutely stunning. It's a vast ground with golf, pool, spa, shopping, piano bar, restaurant, and beautiful fireplace in hotel lobby. The outside terrace is great to get apps and a drink while looking at the view of the mountains. Highly recommend at least checking this place out.
The Grove Park Inn was an amazing few days right after our wedding. We have a trip planned to Hawaii later in the year but wanted a few days away after the wedding. Couldn't have chosen a better place to do just that! Thank GPI team members!
Families can choose the Tennis Fun Camp, which provides tennis instruction for children ages 4 to 18, as well as swimming, or the Summer Fun Camp, which provides week-long programs for kids 5 to 12 under supervision, including arts and crafts, movies and swimming.
Cub's Adventure Camp
Children ages 5 to 12 can join in daily, supervised camp-like activities that include arts and crafts, games and sports, as well as lunch for full-day attendees. Camps run half day from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. or 1 to 4 p.m., or full day from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for a per day fee.
Kids' Night Out
A Kids' Night Out program is available for children 5 to 12 Friday and Saturdays, 6 to 10 p.m., from Memorial Day to Labor Day. There is a fee, which includes a movie and dinner at the end of the evening. For an additional fee, children can stay until midnight. Reservations must be made in advance, and children must be potty trained.
The location of the resort's tennis courts, racquetball courts, lap pool and fitness center is also the location for the children's playground and programming. The 50,000-square-foot Sports Complex features indoor and outdoor tennis courts, racquetball courts, indoor heated pool, Ping-Pong and pool tables, as well as a gym with fitness classes, cardio machines and free weights.
The indoor pool at the Sports Complex is suited for families, along with seasonal outdoor pool. The outdoor pool is open Memorial Day to Labor Day. Children under 14 must be supervised by an adult while at the pools.
The newest addition at Omni Grove Park Inn, EDISON features craft beers and Southern comfort food. It also offers both indoor and outdoor dining, with lovely views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Save this place for a night you're able to get a babysitter. Open for lunch and dinner until 11 p.m. nightly.
Vue 1913 offers guests an American and French cooking flare in an upscale casual setting. Due is open for dinner.
Serving up locally sourced, southern comfort cuisine, Blue Ridge is located in the Vanderbilt wing of the hotel and is the breakfast spot du jour. Brunch, lunch and dinner are also served here, with Friday and Saturday evenings featuring a prime rib and seafood buffet.
This is the place to dine when staying at the Grove Park Inn. With an outdoor patio that overlooks the spa, golf course and the Blue Ridge Mountains, this spot becomes popular at sunset. Indoor dining is also available, and even on a Wednesday night, during our stay, the place was fully occupied at 9:30 p.m. by families. Open for lunch and dinner, steak and seafood are top selections
Attached to the spa, but accessible for all guests, this lunch and afternoon spot provides a selection of healthy menu options, including salads and sandwiches. The Cafe is open 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Cabana Grille and Bar
This poolside, casual and open-air restaurant is open only during the day, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and seasonally. It's the spot for burgers, hot dogs, quesadillas, salads and sandwiches. This is a no-brainer for lunch when spending the day at the outdoor pool with the kids.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
There is a $25 daily resort charge, which includes local calling, in-room Wi-Fi access, in-room coffee and tea, onsite shuttle services, a guided history tour, daily newspapers located in the Great Hall, and access to the Sports Complex.
Babysitters can be arranged through the hotel concierge, especially for children too young for the children's programs.
At such an expansive size, parking can be tricky. If you elect to park in the covered parking that connects to the inn, it will cost you daily. For a couple dollars more, you can valet and let someone else make the trek to the parking. Those who valet receive bottles of water in the car every time you depart the hotel. Free parking is available, uncovered, but drop your bags before you attempt to walk the distance.
A Walk in the Park
Located in the Vanderbilt wing, this hallway of stores include Christmas in the Park, Treasures from the Park, Signature of Grove Park and Tastings of Grove Park, with a great selection of resort gear, cooking gear, boutique clothing and jewelry, Christmas ornaments and more.
The Art of Smart Timing
Asheville is a great destination to enjoy cool mountain summers and gorgeous, colorful falls, both peak times to visit the resort. In the winter, the mountains are blanketed in snow and provide another picturesque setting, although the resort's kids' programs are not available during this time. As spring begins to bring life back to the mountains and the resort is awash in floral colors, families begin to return for the pre-season quiet at the resort.
Asheville Regional Airport, while small, is serviced by AirTran, American, Continental, Delta, United and US Airways. However, a drive along one of the nation's most picturesque highways, the Blue Ridge Parkway, is the best way to arrive in Asheville, with numerous scenic overlooks well marked for stopping along the way. Asheville can be reached via highways I-26, I-40 and I-240.
A shuttle service is available around the property, which is especially helpful when heading to the Sports Complex or outdoor swimming pool.
For Mom and Dad
Elaine's Dueling Piano Bar
Advertised as a "delightfully nightly good time," Elaine's is known across Asheville for being a unique dueling piano bar. Guests are invited to shout out requests and dance. The bar is open Thursdays through Saturdays from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m.
This 43,000-square-foot facility is such a site to behold as a centerpiece of the resort they provide a viewing window to get a peak into the indoor pool that rests beneath a stone ceiling and surroundings. Indoor waterfalls, majestic stone architecture and unique spa treatments make this a must-see for parents. The spa also features an adult-only outdoor pool (season), and guests may purchase daily spa passes to use the pool and saunas, although they can cost a per day fee.