One of the most recognized and historical hotels in the United States, the Grove Park Inn rests in the Blue Ridge Mountains, in Asheville, North Carolina. Over the years it’s garnered such accreditations as being named to the National Register of Historic Places and features a world-renowned spa that vacationers flock to year round.
Edwin Wiley Grove and his son-in-law Fred Loring Seely originally came up with the concept for the Grove Park Inn. Edwin, who at one point owned a Paris, Tn medicine company, believed the Asheville climate had health benefits and would be an ideal locale for a resort-style hotel. When his doctors sent him to Asheville to see if the climate change could help relieve him of his hiccups, a seed was planted.
Grove began to buy up parcels of land for the Inn in 1910. Sunset Mountain was his destination as he purchased numerous farms in the vicinity. In 1912 the first shovel struck dirt and 11 months and 27 days later a hotel stood. Workers were said to have been paid handsomely and lived at the site during the almost 12-month build.
The Grove Park Inn officially opened on July 12, 1913. The hotel was built with granite stones and its lobby bears granite fireplaces to this day.
Over the years, the Inn became a vital resource, especially during wartime. First, during World War II it was transformed into an internment center for Axis diplomats. Then, the Navy used it as a rest and rehabilitation center for returning sailors. The Army even took hold of it from 1944-45 as a redistribution station.
In 1955, the Grove Park Inn became a part of Sammons Enterprises. Mr. and Mrs. Sammons expanded the resort and it continues to flourish in the same capacity today as a part of KSL Resorts, who acquired ownership in 2012.
You might also not know that the golf club at the Grove Park Inn was there even before construction began on the hotel itself. The first tee shot came in 1899 before it was redesigned in 1924 and is now a part of the resort. Today, it boasts a par-70 course and is open to members, the public as well as guests.
Still not impressed? If the Grove Park Inn itself doesn’t make you stand in awe, its guest list will. Over the years the Inn has played host to such notable guests as Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone, John D. Rockefeller, North Carolina basketball coach Dean Smith, comedian Jerry Seinfeld, current NC Governor Bev Perdue, Sanjay Gupta, musician Trey Anastasio, Presidents Woodrow Wilson, William Howard Taft, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Herbert Hoover, Dwight Eisenhower, and Barack Obama. Other notables include magician Harry Houdini, author F. Scott Fitzgerald, golfer Bobby Jones, Will Rogers, Reverend Billy Graham, William Shatner, and many more.
The Grove Park Inn in Asheville is an experience like none other. Relax with guests the world over and see why presidents, musicians, farmers, and people from all walks of life have made the Inn a destination in itself.