Inn on Biltmore Estate Review - Disneyland for the Luxury Traveler!
by Heather Holman on Thursday, April 05, 2012
Tucked away in the mountains of North Carolina lies one of North America's finest hotels - The Inn on Biltmore Estate. The Inn is located on the Vanderbilt's 8,000 acre estate in the heart of Asheville. Southern hospitality and extravagant luxury are combined for a lavish experience.
The hotel is located on the estate of America's most famous house, The Biltmore House. The world famous Vanderbilt Mansion which has been used in countless films and productions such as Hannibal with Anthony Hopkins & Gary Oldman, Patch Adams with Robin Williams, Richie Rich with Macaulay Culkin, Forrest Gump with Tom Hanks & Robin Wright, Last of the Mohicans with Daniel Day Lewis & Madeleine Stowe, and Mr. Destiny with James Belushi & Michael Caine just to name a few - click here for a full list of all the famous movies and TV shows filmed here. The estate also is home to the famous Biltmore Concert Series which has featured the likes of BB King, The Beach Boys to Clay Aiken.
My husband and I were lucky enough to stay at the hotel for a long weekend while visiting friends nearby. Upon first entering the grounds you are greeting by a massive gatehouse and a sign directing you to Mansion Parking or to the estate grounds which the hotel is located on. You follow a long winding road through the beautiful North Carolina countryside until you finally arrive at the Inn and get to breathe in the fresh mountain air. After arriving at the covered entryway you enter in to a gorgeous lobby that is inspired by the grandeur of the Biltmore Mansion which includes a library and many relaxing sitting areas.
After checking in, the first thing you will notice in your room or suite is the view of the Blue Ridge Mountains which surround the hotel. Then you will see the simple, yet elegant décor and charming amenities. I say simple because the rooms are not packed with gadgets and high tech trinkets luxury travelers might be used to, but it was actually relaxing. My husband and I stayed in a regular room but there are more elegant suites and cottages you can rent. The bed was very comfortable, the bathroom had lots of space and good water pressure. The hotel does not allow pets so we check our travel companion, Bella, in to a nearby doggy day care named Dog House Daycare, and with help from the concierge we went exploring the grounds.
Based on the working estates of Europe, the French Renaissance-inspired chateau is a site to see. The grounds were built to be totally self-sufficient. Originally the estate contained it's own blacksmith, church, stables, woodworker and farm. All of these have been recreated for visitors today as tourism of how a 17th century estate would work. You can visit the Antler Hill Village and see blacksmithing, herding, woodworking and much more! This is also where the Outdoor Adventure Center is. The Estate offers several adventure excursions on the grounds such as Land Rover Off-Road Driving School, Segway tours, hiking, rafting, skeet shooting, biking, fishing, horseback riding and carriage rides. My husband and I choose a relaxing kayak trip down the French Broad River as it winds through the estate.
The river trip with a van trip that takes you on a 15 minute ride through the back roads of the estate till you reach a little landing spot in the river. Our tour guide was a friendly Iraq veteran named Chris, whose hand was injured keeping him from his real love of being a whitewater rafting guide. Instead he guides tours down the peaceful river that runs through the Biltmore. He knew so much about the estate and the wildlife. The two hour tour shows just how large the estate is and how the Biltmore is preserving all this beautiful land, a stone's throw away from downtown Asheville.
After the excursion we checked out the farmyard/ranch which was doing a herding dog demonstration with beautiful border collies who were impressively obedient. The Antler Hill Village Barn is where the historic reenactments take place. We stopped by to watch the demonstrations and grabbed a bite to eat at the Smokehouse which server Carolina barbeque, quick sandwiches, and light fare. We then head back to The Inn on Biltmore Estate to change for dinner with our friends in town and didn't return until later in the evening.
The next day it was time to check out America's most Famous and Largest House, The Biltmore House. Completed in 1895 after years of construction, George Vanderbilt's chateau is as impressive today as it was more than a century ago. The meticulously restored Biltmore House is truly an architectural and historical wonder. Complete with 75 acres of beautiful gardens, a grand Conservatory, ten thousand book library, indoor pool, bowling alley, banquet hall with a 70-foot ceiling, 65 fireplaces, countless 16th century tapestries and antiques scattered throughout the 250 room mansion. The self-guided tour takes about an hour and a half, while there are guided tours that allow you special access in to the rooms off limits from regular guests. The tour gave me many decorating ideas for my own house and Biltmore.com sells replicas and even gives you paint samples if you'd like to replicate the look! The tour is a must see for anyone visiting North Carolina or America for that matter.
After touring the House and Gardens we headed back to our room to change for the Behind the Scenes Sparking Wine Tour at the Biltmore Winery. The tour gives a backstage look at how their wine is made and lets you sample some of Biltmore's Sparkling Wine. My favorite sparkling wine was Biltmore Estate Méthode Champenoise–Sec which was more sweet then dry, but very tasty. After the tour we got to stomp grapes with our feet, which feels really weird on your feet but was very fun! We then when to the winery's wine tasting which had samples of over 20 wines, different products offered by Biltmore and a very nice spread of foods. We sampled some of their custom salad dressing and I highly recommend the Cabernet Poppy Seed Dressing which is also available for purchase on Biltmore.com.
Finally we head back to the The Inn on Biltmore Estate for dinner in the Dining Room Restaurant. The Dining Room is a multiple recipient of the Wine Spectator -Award of Excellence and winner of Open Table's Diner Choice 2012. The Dining Room is only available to The Inn on Biltmore Estate Guests and Biltmore Estate ticket holders, so the staff is able to provide excellent personalized service. All the courses were excellent but I especially enjoyed the Watercress & Arugula Salad (shown below right). The wait staff was very attentive and the chef was able to prepare my husband something special for his vegan diet. The food was so good I would come again just to dine here! In combination with all the other activities on the estate, you could easily spend a week on the grounds without leaving.
With so much fun things to do I can only describe The Inn on Biltmore Estate as Disneyland for the luxury traveler! Whether you live in America or are just visiting, The Inn on Biltmore Estate is a must.
Tags: famous hotels, inn on biltmore estate, hotel reviews, asheville, north carolina, anthony hopkins, gary oldman, robin williams, macaulay culkin, tom hanks, robin wright penn, daniel day lewis, madeleine stowe, james belushi, michael caine, bb king, the beach boys, clay aiken, united states
Created on: 04/05/12 | permalink Share this article: