Asheville is for Lovers

Come for the breweries, stay for dinner

My favorite memory of visiting Asheville, North Carolina, isn’t sipping a remarkable local beer or conquering a challenging mountain hike. The thing I remember most about my recent stay is the hotel turn-down service. I should have known when I was offered a glass of local cuvée at check-in that more nice things were about to happen to me. Later that night, when we returned from an equally as memorable dinner at Benne on Eagle (just downstairs), our beds were fluffed, freshened and turned down. The lights were orchestrated to promote a soothing slip into sleep, the heavy velvet drapes were closed, and a tray sat on the bedside table. Two small porcelain cups on linen coasters hugged a tall stainless thermos. Inside, hot chamomile tea steeped and on a plate were two home-made granola cookies. 
 We paused to admire the still-life before tucking in. It’s details like these that make staying at The Foundry Hotel Asheville, just 3 1/2 hours from Chattanooga, so special.

A former steel foundry—known for forging the steel used in construction the Biltmore Estate—the hotel opened in 2018 and combines three historic buildings with two new builds for a beautiful 87-room boutique hotel. Located in the heart of downtown Asheville on Eagle Street in The Block neighborhood, The Foundry Hotel (Curio Collection by Hilton) pays homage to the foundry’s historic past and the vibrant surrounding neighborhood. For much of the twentieth century, Eagle Street was the place to be on The Block. Local businesses – ranging from record shops and grocery stores to dry cleaners and beauty parlors – lined the street; each one helped weave the collective fabric of the predominantly African American neighborhood. The original elevator pulley system, steel star fastenings and exposed brick, plus immersive localized programming such as private Hood Tours help guests understand more about the building and its past.

Jeremy Martin is the hotel beverage director and he holds court in the Workshop Lounge, an expansive lobby bar housed in a former 1920s woodworking building, serving classic and craft cocktails with organic, locally-distilled spirits. He curates his cocktail menu with classics and riffs on the classics like the julep and Rickey. He makes his own Grenadine and a fig-infused bourbon. “Figs grew in our backyard in Charleston and I’ve also been working on a formula for an infusion, an after-dinner drink, raisiny like port, but more approachable,” says Jeremy. The Workshop Lounge is furnished with deep sofas, mid-century modern lines, conversation nooks, plenty of reading lights and tables for drinks, magazines or your laptop. As soon as I sat down in an oversized wingback armchair to attend to my morning inbox, an ice bucket appeared with a glass bottle of water.

Get a table downstairs at Benne on Eagle for dinner. Chef John Fleer, called “the leader of Asheville’s culinary renaissance,” (formerly of Blackberry Farm and current chef-owner of Rhubarb and The Rhu) oversees the culinary program. Chef de Cuisine Ashleigh Shanti was working her magic the night we dined and kept a parade of beautiful and rich food coming to our table. A pan-fried Sunburst Trout was served on a bed of roasted fingerling potatoes, caramelized fennel, leeks and nettle pistou. The grilled pork chop was mighty, with sorghum-lemon candied yams and collards. Each dish whispered a tribute to the neighborhood’s past and Benne on Eagle will remain one of my favorite dining experiences of the year.

The hotel has a spa partner, Spa Theology, and the house Tesla will deliver you to your appointment (the concierge can help make that happen). I recommend their signature massage with a highly concentrated blend of lavender, rosemary, and menthol essential oils to reduce inflammation and promote circulation. Local brand, Privai Skincare products are used exclusively in this quiet oasis.  Uber or drive 15 minutes to the Biltmore for an afternoon of wandering. Be sure to walk the formal and informal gardens designed by America’s foremost landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted.

While Asheville will always appeal to outdoor enthusiasts who appreciate a local craft beer, thanks to The Foundry Hotel, the destination now offers a stay that will satiate even the most discerning and curious traveler. This month, the hotel is offering two new packages:

For couples: The Asheville Getaway for Two 

*  Complete with breakfast in bed

*  Bottle of Champagne

*  Box of assorted truffles in-room.

-For adventurers: The Are You Curious?

*   Day One: Breakfast at on-site restaurant Benne on Eagle,

*  Half Day Off-Road Land Rover Experience at The Biltmore Estate and Half-Day Experience at The Biltmore Estate.

*  Day Two: Yoga on the Mountain with Asheville Wellness Tours and a 2 p.m. late checkout.

Details CurioCollection3.Hilton.com 828.552.8545 SpaTheology.com 929.255.4171 BenneOnEagle.com 828.552.8833 biltmore.com

Pop a squat in the lobby at The Foundry. Reading lights, tables for your coffee and water (which staff will bring to you), deep velvet sofas and conversation nooks make this former industrial space cozy.

Breweries. Because it’s Asheville. Wicked Weed is an easy walk from the hotel. Their tours include a commemorative Wicked Weed sampling glass, three samples of our beers, a discount coupon for the bottle shop and a personal, interactive, behind-the-scenes look at what makes the Brewpub the second most visited tourist attraction in Asheville after the Biltmore Estate!

Stay in for dinner. Benne On Eagle is the in-house restaurant (lucky for you), earning a reputation as one of the best new eateries in the country. The chefs don’t shy away from flavor. The staff is so very friendly, and the neighborhood’s history is honored.

An immersive exhibition at The Biltmore celebrates Downton Abbey, offering never-before-seen interactive elements that connect you to your favorite characters, as well as the fashions, locations, and historic events of the time period.  Showcased in two estate locations—Amherst at Deerpark and The Biltmore Legacy—Downton Abbey: The Exhibition pairs seamlessly with the real-life story of the Vanderbilt family.

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