The South's Best Resort 2019: The Omni Grove Park Inn
With a past guest list this famous, it should roll out a red carpet.
In the early 1900s, the Omni Grove Park Inn was the home of a true bromance. Thomas Edison (inventor of the light bulb), Harvey Firestone (of his namesake tire company), and Henry Ford (founder of the eponymous automobile company) spent their summers together at the Asheville mountain resort; they called themselves “The Vagabonds.” A picture of the trio, power posing as if they were taking a prototypical influencer shot for Instagram, hangs in the Vanderbilt wing of the sprawling property, and one walk through shows guests that the Vagabonds were only the beginning of the Grove Park Inn’s famous guest list.
Edwin Wiley Grove built his dream hotel with money from his creation of the first commercially viable cold medicine. Constructed with vernacular granite stone and a concrete roof meant to resemble a thatched cottage, the Grove Park Inn quickly became a must-see destination for the country’s elite from F. Scott Fitzgerald (whose typewriter sits in the Vanderbilt Wing) to 10 Presidents dating back to Howard Taft.
Today, it still endures as Asheville’s catbird seat for azure, awe-inspiring views of Blue Ridge Mountains, but with thoroughly updated amenities, including an 43,000-square-foot subterranean spa with ten turquoise mineral pools under ancient rock arches and two waterfalls.