Lodging in Asheville

 

“Not all those who wander are lost.”

                         -- J.R.R. Tolkien

 

 

The Asheville area has a gorgeous mix of resort hotels such as the Grove Park Inn, chain motels and hotels from most of the major brand families including Hilton, Holiday Inn, Starwood and Marriott, bed and breakfasts, mountain lodges and small owner-operated inns and motels. There are more than 50 B&Bs in the metro area, one of the largest concentrations in the South. Most bed and breakfasts are in the Montford area near Downtown, around the Biltmore Estate and in the Grove Park and other North Asheville areas.

 

With the opening Downtown of the Aloft, Hilton Garden Inn,  Hyatt Place and Indigo hotels, several new urban hostels and vacation apartment/rental condo complexes, the renovation of Haywood Park Hotel plus older existing properties such as the Renaissance, you’ll find a good selection of places to stay Downtown, within walking distance of restaurants and bars. A number of other new hotels are under construction or are planned for the Downtown area, including The Parisian on Patton Avenue, the Hotel Arras on West Pack Square (a conversion of the former BB&T Building), Embassy Suites on Haywood Street, the Cambria Suites on Page Avenue near the Grove Arcade, the Element on College Place, AC Hotel on Broadway and Asheville Foundry Inn, a Hilton Curio hotel on a site on Eagle, Spruce and Market streets.

 

Lodging Options

Our view is that choice of lodging is a very personal decision. Some travelers live by the old adage “sleep hard, eat well.”  These travelers say they spend little time in their room; they’re looking for the cheapest acceptable lodging options so they’ll have more money to spend on dining and activities.

 

Others love the pampering they get at unique small inns and B&Bs. Asheville is fortunate in having some of the best B&Bs in the region, if not the country, in all price ranges. In rural areas around the city are lodges, mountain cabins, small mom 'n pop independent motels and even a couple of dude ranches. The Asheville area also offers several large full-service hotels.

 

Still others like the convenience and standardization of the chain motels. We aren’t among those who sniff that staying in a chain motel is being a tourist, not a traveler. This writer was a Hilton Honors Diamond member for many years, an elite status with this chain that requires a minimum 60 nights a year or 30 different stays. Frankly, we like knowing exactly what we’re going to get in a room and services, and we enjoy the amenities that are becoming more common, especially for frequent stayers, such as included breakfasts, free drinks at afternoon cocktail hours, free internet access and room upgrades.

 

More than 100 chain motel properties are located around the Asheville metropolitan area, with large clusters on Tunnel Road near the Asheville Mall, on U.S. Highway 25 and Biltmore Avenue near the Biltmore Estate and along I-40 and I-26.  While we’ve included listings of some of the best of these, due to their generally standardized facilities and services we don’t attempt to describe each one individually, only calling attention to particularly noteworthy differences, such as location or a heated indoor pool.

 

 

Alternative:  Stay in a Private Home

Increasingly, an option for nightly or weekly (or longer) stays are rentals from private owners. For weekly rentals, including mountains cabins, Vaction Rentals by Owner (www.VRBO) is an excellent source.  There are more than 450 properties in the Asheville area listed on VRBO and well over 4,000 rentals in the Western North Carolina Mountains. You can search rental options by area, number of bedrooms and other characteristics. While VRBO is the best-known service, HomeAway (www.homeaway.com) and other online vacation rental services also are worth checking out.

 

Air BnB (www.airbnb.com) is another popular service for matching homeowners and guests for short-term stays. This online service, with private accommodations in some 34,000 cities in 192 countries, offers both entire houses and apartments and also single rooms.  Asheville has about 500 listings, starting at under $40. Guest satisfaction levels are rated on a one-to-five-star system, based on reviews of properties by people who have stayed there.

 

Another option is couchsurfing. Local hosts offer accommodations in their homes, typically free of charge (although it costs members $25 to sign up and become "verified), in more than 100,000 cities around the world. You can join more than 1 million other couchsurfers, either as a traveler or a host, or both (www.couchsurfing.org). The Asheville area has about 3,500 couchsurfing members; however, not all open their homes to visitors.

 

 

Other Sources of Lodging Information

Unlike some other guides, we recommend you use the American Automobile Association (AAA) Tour Books to help when making lodging decisions. AAA (www.carolinas.aaa.com) is sometimes a poor source of information on restaurants, but it is almost always reliable in its lodging descriptions and ratings. We would note that it is not always as good, or as comprehensive, on B&Bs as it is with hotels and motels. Inspectors for AAA personally visit listed lodging places regularly – usually annually – to provide first-hand and up-to-date information. There is an AAA Tour Book that covers North Carolina exclusively. The books and also local maps are free for AAA members. AAA members also often get a discount on lodging stays, typically around 10%. AARP members get a similar discount. AARP membership is available to those 50 and over.

 

For crowding sourcing information on lodging, naturally you can’t ignore TripAdvisor (www.tripadvisor.com). Generally, the ratings by TripAdvisor members of Asheville area lodging seem spot on. However, lodging owners and their friends, not to mention competitors, can game the system with phony reviews. TripAdvisor catches some – but definitely not all – of them. The algorithms TripAdvisor uses to rate and rank hotels, restaurants and attractions are not very transparent. Cheaper properties, and those located close to major attractions such as Biltmore Estate, may enjoy higher ratings than perhaps they deserve. Use TripAdvisor to help you decide on lodging, but use it with a healthy dose of skepticism.

 

We list what we consider the best and best-value lodging options in the Asheville area. In no way is this a complete or comprehensive listing of all properties. In some cases we have personally stayed at these properties, and in other cases we have only toured and inspected them. Occasionally we rely on contract employees and friends to provide reports. We do take into account first-person reports on TripAdvisor and other social network sites. For this guide we do NOT accept free accommodations or other consideration, so even if you don’t agree with our assessment, you know it is our candid opinion.

 

Lodging properties are listed alphabetically within each neighborhood. The exception is for rental cabins, which are in a separate section, listed alphabetically, not geographically. Price categories are for two persons (a double) in high season (usually late spring to early fall) for a regular room, not including the sales and accommodations tax, which varies slightly depending on area but generally totals 11%. Service, if any, also is not included in the rate. If the weekend rate is generally higher, we use that as the rate basis. Rates may be higher on certain peak holiday weekends and during fall color season in October; rates may be lower in winter. Lowest lodging rates in the Asheville area are usually January through March. Unless otherwise stated, rates do not include meals, except in those cases where breakfast in included in the room rate.

 

 

Price Ranges

Remember, increasingly, as with airlines and their yield management systems, hotel rates vary considerably from day to day depending on demand and occupancy. They also vary depending on how far ahead, or how near to the stay date, you book. Discounts may also be available for multiple night stays or for membership in AAA, AARP or other organizations. Call the lodging facility or check the property’s website for the exact rates available for the dates you plan to stay. Always ask for the lowest available rate for the room and time of stay. Don’t be shy about asking, “Do you offer any other discounts?” or “Is that the lowest rate available?”

 

Very Expensive Over $300 double

Expensive  $200-$299 double

Moderate $100-$199 double

Inexpensive $50-$99 double

Very Inexpensive Under $50 double

 

(Rates shown do not include sales and accommodations tax, usually a total of 11% for properties with five or more rooms, or service charge, in any.)

 

Listings show address, phone, web address, type of lodging (motel, hotel, B&B, etc.) and typical rate range, along with a review of the property.

 

 

Pets

Many Asheville-area lodging properties, even some B&Bs, do allow pets, though some assess a pet cleaning charge. Most properties now offer only non-smoking rooms, the exception being a few of the chain motels that have some smoking rooms. Wi-Fi is available at almost all properties listed, free at B&Bs, inns and most motels, although a few hotels and motels still charge a fee.

 

The lodgings marked in RED indicates that in our opinion this is one of the best accommodations in Asheville in its category, worthy of a special occasion or a splurge. Obviously, however, more expensive properties generally offer more amenities, so a top-rated budget motel or hostel won’t have the special location or upscale amenities of a luxury property.

 

See also the section on Towns and Villages near Asheville for recommendations on some places to stay outside Asheville.

 

 

 

All content copyright © Lan Sluder except selected photographs used by permission and brief quotations or other fair use text, which are owned by the copyright holder.

We have made every effort to confirm the accuracy of information on this website, and in the Amazing Asheville book and ebooks, but travel information is subject to frequent change, and no warranty is made, express or implied. Please notify us of any errors or omissions, and we will attempt to correct them as soon as possible. All opinions expressed are those of the author, Lan Sluder, unless otherwise noted.