Photo: Ball & Albanese
Sprawl Factor: 150 acres; 514 rooms
Recent Nip & Tuck: History is woven into every detail of The Grove Park Inn's $25 million renovation and restoration (to be finished in 2014). For example, photographs of the Smokies that now hang in the 150 just-renovated Main Inn rooms (the oldest part of the resort) were taken by George Masa, a circa-1915 Grove Park Inn bellman-turned-photographer and Appalachian trail scout. On the to-do list: an overhaul of the iconic Great Hall (known for its 14-foot-wide granite fireplaces) to encourage old-fashioned lounging—think warmer lighting and no more TVs.
Fame Slept Here: 10 U.S. Presidents have visited, including Barack Obama in 2010.
Resort Lore: Apparitions of a woman in a pink flowing gown are attributed to the Pink Lady, the ghost of a guest said to have fallen to her death in the inn's Palm Court in the 1920s.
White Glove Treatment: One of the resort's original elevators, built into a fireplace shaft in the Great Hall, is still manually operated by an attendant 24 hours a day.
Signature Style: Famed Arts and Crafts company Roycroft supplied most of the inn's original furnishings—including 400 oak dining chairs. The current collection of Arts and Crafts furniture and fixtures is valued at a whopping $4.5 million.
While Away the Afternoon: Soak in one of the 10 pools in the resort's cavernous, 43,000-square-foot subterranean spa, complete with stone arches.
Book this Room: Literature lovers take note: Author F. Scott Fitzgerald holed up in rooms 441 and 443 in the summers of 1935 and 1936 while his wife, Zelda, was in a nearby hospital. Rooms from $279; groveparkinn.com