Hotel Intel: The Restoration Asheville

Hotel Intel: The Restoration Asheville
Words by Jennifer Kornegay

The Vibe:

The Restoration in Asheville, North Carolina, operates with a singular goal: to elevate your stay in the “land of sky,” a nickname taken from a novel and an apt Asheville descriptor, as the soft Blue Ridge mountain summits and low-hanging clouds ringing the city make you believe you’re closer to the heavens. But the new boutique property, opened in spring 2023, takes a multi-faced approach to achieve this aim. Combining good eats, true hospitality, super stylish digs and the calming spirit of its host city, it promises you’ll check out refreshed and restored. 

It all starts when you arrive and look up at the refurbished and reimagined bank building downtown. The exterior is modern and sleek, but step inside to find a warm interior packed with design choices that provide an authentic Asheville and Appalachian experience. A massive mural depicting towering trees, a river and mountains rising behind it set the tone. Elegant arches draw from the city’s diverse and historic architecture (including the grand Biltmore estate), contemporary light fixtures bring balance, and organic hues and wood detailing point to the beauty of the nature surrounding outside.

With floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, a library off the lobby boasts plush velvet settees and couches, some tucked into corner nooks inviting you in to sit back with a good book and your glass of wine and small-bite-snacks from happy hour, part of a daily afternoon ritual that makes the hotel feel more like an inn, as do the welcoming smiles of all staff, from the valet to the friendly faces at the reception desk and everywhere in between.

This atmosphere married with multiple restaurants and gathering spaces created to encourage connecting — with your immediate travel partners and other hotel guests – make it easy to never leave the property. But don’t fall prey to this impulse. So much good awaits out its front doors.

The Location:

If you’ve even heard the phrase “altitude affects attitude,” and weren’t sure of its validity, Asheville will help you understand its truth. Its multitudes of fresh mountain air and its relaxed mood can change your outlook for the better. Tucked into the Blue Ridge Mountains, abundant outdoor pursuits in and right around Asheville make up a large part of its appeal. Hike one of the myriad trails leading to breath-taking vistas; cast a fly into the swift, sparkling current of a cold mountain stream in pursuit of a trophy trout; or simply roll down the windows and cruise the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway that runs along the edge of town. 

But the heart of this scenic city is worth exploring too. And The Restoration is in the thick of downtown and an easy walk to all the area offers. Experience a diverse range of works – from folk art and pottery to fine art — in curated gallery spaces, in working studios and shops or with a simple look around downtown where scores of vibrant public art brighten walls and other surfaces. Check out the city’s culinary luminaries, spots like James Beard-Award-recognized Curate and Chai Pani. Indulge in some rich sweet treats from French Broad Chocolate. And wash it all down with a brew or two from one of many craft breweries in town; the lauded Wicked Weed is a local and visitor favorite. 

Your Room Key:

Each of the property’s 60 guest rooms is spacious, but some are roomier than others. The 425-square-foot premier king suites have a sitting area with a full-size (and comfy) couch facing floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking tree-ringed Pritchard Park across the street. 

They all boast wood floors, exposed brick, marble detailing in large bathrooms, full-length, free-standing mirrors, and stunning photography honoring the majesty of the mountains. They’re also bursting with luxe amenities, including smart TVs, soothing Gilchrist & Soames bath products, warm cookies at turndown, locally roasted “Appalachian blend” coffee, nosh boxes filled with locally made products and a mini bar that kicks in-room imbibing up a notch with On the Rocks mixers for purchase. 

Eat & Drink:

Grab coffee and fresh-baked pastries at The Rise. Drink in a cocktail and the view at The Observatory. The chic roof-top bar, with both indoor and outdoor seating, focuses on botanical-inspired sips like the Bouquet, an aromatic blend of hibiscus-infused Absolut, passion fruit, delicate lychee-flavored liqueur, orange and lime, nodding to the nature outside and inside, courtesy of an abundance of plants lining the walls and hanging from baskets overhead.

For dinner, dig into The Exchange’s seasonal menu celebrating Appalachian eats with ingredients sourced from area farms and makers that shine in dishes like smoked trout and chicory Caesar salad, seared scallops with Carolina gold rice and chocolate Cheerwine cake.

Don’t go to bed without bowling a round or two or racking up a high score in skee-ball at The Draftsman, a basement-level speakeasy and game room with live music.

That Something Special:

Thoughtful extras abound, like the aforementioned happy hour wine with snacks, complimentary beverages (beyond water!) chilling in the in-room mini fridge, and a cute little breakfast basket with pastries, fruit and yogurt delivered to your door each morning. And the property is pet friendly. There is a fee charged to check in with your fur-friend, but a portion of what you pay is donated to the Asheville Humane Society.