Rooms away from main building can prove tricky for guests with mobility issues
Wi-Fi service spotty in some areas, such as Spa Suites
Old Edwards Inn and Spa is a luxurious, historic property right on Highlands' charming Main Street, surrounded by shops and restaurants. The 84 individually decorated cottages and rooms are filled with antiques and art, and have heated marble floors in the bathrooms. Features include a spa, outdoor heated mineral pools and hot tubs, a modern fitness center, a game room, and access to a nearby golf club. Guests can dine and drink on the rooftop terrace or relax in the lounge with live music. A rustic barn and a historic cottage make for elegant event spaces, and there are two 24-hour business centers. For a more quaint, smaller-scale experience, travelers may want to consider The Inn at Half Mile Farm, just outside of town.
Old Edwards Inn and Spa occupies a grassy property in the shadow of the western North Carolina mountains on Main Street in the quaint town of Highlands. Woodsy, well-kept landscaping surrounds a series of cottages and larger buildings, including the Historic Inn, originally known as Central House when it was erected in 1878. It's a narrow brick building with wrought-iron railings and hanging plants that was the first boarding house in town. Inside, interiors are decorated in an elegant Old-World style, with oriental rugs over wood floors, wallpapered walls, antique wooden furniture, and oversized stone fireplaces. A grand wooden staircase climbs up from the lobby, where gilt-framed paintings flank the antique wood reception desk. Outdoor seating nooks include beige-cushioned chairs around a stone fireplace bordered by cypress trees. Stone pathways wind around the lawns, leading to different areas of the property, such as the native-wood and stone spa, and the Springhouse, an event facility with light wooden floors, historic photos on the walls, and a tin ceiling. The property is thoroughly charming and has a definite romance, meaning that plenty of couples pass through, though groups of friends and families are frequent guests as well.
On Main Street in Highlands, about two hours from Asheville by car
Old Edwards Inn and Spa offers more than enough on-site facilities to keep guests busy, along with access to the Old Edwards Club, a private golf course that's about 15-minutes outside of town by car. However, should guests want a change of scenery, the restaurants and boutiques lining Main Street are within easy reach, as are grocery stores, wine shops, and a pharmacy. Asheville is about a two-hour drive north. The surrounding area offers plenty of outdoor adventure opportunities, from foraging and hiking in the Nantahala Forest -- about 90 minutes away by car -- to horseback riding at Arrowmont Stables and Cabins, about a 40-minute drive away. Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a 90-minute drive north of Highlands and Black Rock State Park is just over the border in South Carolina, a 15-minute drive from the hotel. Charlotte International Airport is about three hours away by car.
Variety of rooms, suites, and cottages with antiques and hand-picked art
Guests can choose from a variety of individually decorated units around the property, including traditional rooms, suites, and even cottages with multiple bedrooms. Decor throughout is elegant, with hand-picked art and antiques, and color schemes that vary from warm and homey reds and greens, to cool and classic navy and white. The look is classic, though the historic style won't suit everyone's taste. There are plenty of thoughtful details here including free Dove chocolate bars in every room, twice-daily housekeeping, and turndown service.
The Historic Inn holds the base category Deluxe Rooms and the Porch Suites, some of which have private terraces and rooftop views of Main Street. The main building also houses Spa Suites with private elevator access to the spa. Lodge Cottages have direct access to a wrap-around porch with rocking chairs and to the Lodge's coffee cafe and bar, and game and theater rooms; Church Street Cottages have storybook English manor-style interiors and are great for girlfriend getaways. Falls Cottages are the inn's newest addition, situated around an outdoor heated mineral pool and whirlpool with a freestanding fireplace. There are also three Guest Estates, multi-bedroom homes with full kitchens that are suited to group gatherings. All rooms have flat-screen TVs with satellite TV, air-conditioning, coffeemakers, mini-fridges, digital music players, robes and slippers, and high-end Frette linens; bathrooms have heated marble floors and Molten Brown products plus shower/tub combos or separate walk-in showers and soaking tubs. Keep in mind that not all units are part of the original inn and may be a couple of blocks away; additionally some rooms have spotty Wi-Fi and others may be hard for guests with mobility issues.
Stylish spa, outdoor pools and hot tubs, fitness center, farm-to-table dining, and event spaces
The Spa at Old Edwards is a luxurious and stylish space with decor that includes light wood accents, checker-board tiling, and glistening chandeliers. It features a fireside lounge, a ladies' sauna, Swiss showers with 14 showerheads, couples treatment rooms, and a hair and nail salon. The spa also holds a new, third-floor reflection solarium with a fountain and a fireplace. There are three outdoor heated mineral pools -- though one is at the golf club outside of town -- along with outdoor hot tubs. The Old Edwards Club is the property's nearby golf club and has clay tennis courts and outstanding views of surrounding mountains and woodland.
On-site dining options include Madison's, the main restaurant, which uses ingredients sourced from the property's farms and greenhouses, and serves cocktails made with herbs. The Hummingbird Lounge offers cocktails, light bites, and live music on weekend nights. Old Edwards Club Grill Room serves steaks, seafood, and other classic American fare at the golf club. Poolside food and drink options include sandwiches, fruit, and salads along with cocktails, wine, and beer. Items are served in cabanas, poolside tables, or at the long, shaded bar. Art's at the Lodge -- a coffee cafe and bar serving breakfast in the morning and light fare until evening -- offers live entertainment on select afternoons. The Spa Cafe serves juices or alcoholic beverages alongside healthy dishes.
Other features include a modern fitness center with a workout terrace, a game room with billiards, and multiple event and meeting facilities, including five meeting rooms and an elegant barn that's great for weddings. Two 24-hour business centers are also available. On-site boutiques sell women's clothes, home items, and antiques. There is also 24-hour room service, and guests have access to the Butler's Pantry, stocked with snacks and ice cream to satisfy late-night cravings. Wi-Fi is free throughout the property.
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