Let me start by saying that Biltmore itself is a very special place for my wife and myself. I can still remember my first visit as a child with my parents in the 70's. Years later as an adult, myself and my soon to be bride would tour the mansion and gardens every few years, finding something new (additional rooms opened, a fresh adjustment to the winding path through the house, the stable area caringly transformed into a restaurant and shops) with each visit. Back then the tulip poplars lining the drive were the same age as the home and they towered overhead. Back then the estate literature and the employees referred to the garden adjacent to the formal italian garden as "the ramble" rather than "the shrub garden." In all seasons we have seen and been enchanted by this lovely estate. We have glimpsed a deer family frolicking (appropriately enough) in the deer park at the rear of the house, even as no one else on the terrace at the time seemed to even notice. I proposed marriage among hundreds of pink roses in the walled garden as the staff presented a bouquet of a few more. Our one and only candlelit Christmas tour thus far would by shear luck coincide with a 6" snowfall (an event not at all common on the southern Appalachians) making for a truly beautiful evening. A return trip for the final night of our honeymoon in a nearby bed and breakfast would provide the news that an inn on the estate itself was in the works. On yet another visit we would stroll through the ramble and (again by chance) experience a humongous yoshino cherry tree in full bloom... at least forty feet tall... billions of tiny white and pink petals being blown around the garden. The yoshino that we subsequently planted in our front yard confirms for us each year of the luck we had in viewing that site - full bloom lasts no more than 72 hours or so.
All of these things forever link our hearts and minds with the estate, and it is with this background that I offer a (longer than I intended) review of our stay.
The hotel - a modern architectural interpretation of Biltmore House itself and set high on a hill overlooking the winery, fields, french broad river, and the pisgah national forest beyond, the ambiance is really very, very nice. Almost all of the inn's amenities are oriented around the "backyard" and the view. An outdoor pool and whirlpool is tucked away off to one side minimizing the number of rooms and guest areas exposed to marathon "marco-polo" games. It is very refreshing to see that the hotel pool IS NOT the center of the hotel universe. In fact, the pool is accessed by the third floor room corridor and non-obtrusive signs indicate that pool attire is not approved of... well outside of the pool area basically. You do not see wet guests with coolers and float toys traipsing about the rear patio nor the lobby. Menus and a phone for placing room service orders are conveniently located at the pool area as well as fresh towels. From the large outdoor patio you can see Biltmore House in the distance (the far distance) and even at 1/16 it's original size it dawns on you the size of the estate. Walking paths with Adirondack chairs and manicured lawns and landscaping make for a relaxing place to take in the view (always the view). I must admit that a slight detraction exists in that adjacent to the winery Biltmore has installed a "village" of sorts and the parking lot for that village can be seen... it is in the distance and not a huge problem though.
The amenities - everything you would expect from a "high end" hotel. valet parking, doormen, room service, a spa (newly renovated and expanded, much larger apparently than an earlier review here tagged it) full service dining room, lounge type bar with live piano player each night, shuttle vans on the half hour to and from all other areas of the estate.
The room - We stayed in a "grand king" and though that is a few rungs up the room type hierarchy, it certainly is not the nicest accommodations available. Very spacious, and nicely appointed I cannot even fathom the idea that this room is less than adequate in someone's eyes. A beautiful view through a very large window and comfortable seating makes even staying within your room a very pleasant experience. Ask for a room on the winery side of the facility as all you can see from the opposite side (the front) is basically a nearby hill and the pull in driveway for guests and shuttle vans to and from other areas of the estate. It is not awful by any means as every inch of Biltmore seems to be landscaped, but I do think a discount for rooms on this side should be in order. The bath is also quite spacious with a separate tub and shower adding to the feel of "special" accommodations.
The staff – Friendly and accommodating. Knowledgeable and polite. NEVER any hint of attitude or weariness. ALWAYS a smile. I can honestly say in all of the trips over the years that we have made to Biltmore I do not remember a single problem with ANY employee. The spirit of Biltmore (and of George and Edith Vanderbilt) is alive and well within the Inn. Very professional.
The negatives – There are a few. (1) It is all quite expensive. Gratuities are not included, so the line about “vacationing like a Vanderbilt” is a little far fetched. (I don't think George and Edith's guests were shown how much their meal "would have" cost them had they not been a "guest") An all-inclusive pricing structure for the various packages would be better in some ways. It probably is overpriced, but it is also unique in my opinion… there isn’t another place “like Biltmore” to compare it to. My advice is to abandon all pretenses that you can scrimp here or there - decide you are going to spend the money and make spending it part of the fun. Throw a little cash around, Do something you never do in everyday life (carriage ride, spa treatment?) Charge this or that to your room. If you go, you wont get away with a "bargain," so make it part of the fun. (2) Biltmore has an odd habit of being completely non-uniform in their hours of operation for the various activities around the estate. One restaurant is open nightly till midnight, others will close at 2:00 and only serve lunch (or are closed to public for special events) The ice cream shop at the stable closes at 4:30 but the one at the village is open till 8:30. You cannot assume anything will be open when you think it will. (3) Biltmore Estate is a self-sustaining private enterprise (no government funding of any kind) and I applaud them for that. They have attempted to control crowding by requiring “reservations” to tour the house, but they still allow an awful lot of people in the home at any given time and bottlenecks do occur. You have to arrive very early to avoid this. (4) One of the most impressive rooms in Blitmore House is the library. Some of the inn literature mentions a "library" for relaxing. The lounge or bar and the "library" are one in the same, that is to say that the lounge (with table service) has some bookshelves in it. This is not at all the same thing in our opinion. (5) Plain eaters will have a very hard time finding something on any of the menus.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Experience Biltmore's tradition of warm, gracious hospitality as an honored guest at the Inn on Biltmore Estate. Choose from 210 beautifully appointed guest rooms including nine elegant suites. Flawless service. Fine dining. Marvelous mountain views. A relaxing veranda. Afternoon tea in the library. Other amenities include an outdoor pool and hot tub, fitness center, access to Biltmore--America's largest home--and much more. Concierges eager to assist you. Carefree transportation around the 8,000-acre estate. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Inn On Biltmore Estate Hotel Asheville
- Hotel On Biltmore Estate
- Biltmore Inn Asheville Nc
- On Biltmore Estate Asheville
- Inn Biltmore Estate