What's New for Asheville Meetings in 2023

Open-air bar and restaurant at The Restoration Hotel

New Openings Are On Trend for Meaningful and Memorable Group Travel Experiences

2023 is anticipated to be a record-breaking year for group travel, as employers and groups seek to foster meaningful connections and integrate wellness into their corporate and event travel itineraries. With 26 direct flight destinations including major hubs, and within driving distance of major cities, including Atlanta, Charlotte and Nashville, Asheville’s abundance of outdoor and wellness experiences, award-winning restaurants and inspiring cultural attractions makes it a top destination for an invigorating meeting that will leave attendees feeling recharged.

Upcoming Hotel Openings in Asheville, NC

  • Opening in spring 2023, The Restoration Asheville (pictured above) is a luxurious, all-suite hotel inspired by Asheville’s free-spirited culture and creative community, featuring local art and craft. The 60-room hotel offers several private event spaces, including a rooftop bar featuring a terrace and unobstructed views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, as well as a private bowling alley.  
  • Embassy Suites by Hilton will be a new addition to Asheville’s skyline in early 2024. The 185-room hotel will include 7,000 sq. ft. of meeting and event space. 

Three additional boutique hotels opening downtown this year hearken back to Asheville’s ritzy Jazz Age, when a boisterous creative class flocked to the mountains looking for an escape:   

  • The Flat Iron Hotel, a prohibition-themed hotel housed in Asheville’s historic Flatiron Building, will feature a rooftop bar and a hidden speakeasy in the basement. (71 rooms; Opening late fall 2023)
  • Zelda Dearest is an ode to Asheville’s ties to Zelda Fitzgerald that will preserve and incorporate three of Asheville’s historic Victorian-style homes. Plans for Zelda Dearest include outdoor spaces such as a wedding and event patio, a game lawn, gardens, and fire pits. (20 rooms; Opening late fall 2023)
  • The Radical is a boutique art hotel in Asheville's River Arts District. Plans include a rooftop bar and restaurant and a hidden speakeasy within. (70 rooms; Opening summer 2023)A-frame cabins at Wrong Way River Lodge & Cabins during sunset

Wrong Way Cabins & Campground is another unique lodging option for groups that opened in 2022. The site features 16 tiny A-frame cabins, just steps away from Cultivate Climbing’s rock-climbing gym and Carrier Park alongside the French Broad River. It offers a unique concierge service for booking excursions, wellness activities and even “voluntourism” activities. The 1,200 square foot event space and 8-person conference room can also be reserved for private event bookings and meetings.

New Asheville Venues + Event Spaces

  • Wicked Weed Brewing's The Funkatorium & Cultura offer four private event spaces in the South Slope of downtown.
    • The 2400 sq. ft. Barrel Room, Funkatorium’s R/D and pilot brew house, can host up to 125 for a seated event and 250 for a reception.
    • Cultura, an award-winning fine dining restaurant, offers an elegant private dinner setting for up to 65.
    • Cultura/FunkatoriumTwo outdoor spaces are also available – The Beer Garden can host up to 125 and the South Bar can host 50.
  • The Mule is Devil's Foot Beverage's new production facility and is also a full-service bar and event space just outside of Biltmore Village.
  • The Outpost is Asheville's newest music venue taking up nearly three acres of riverfront property that can accommodate up to 2,000 people. 
  • Ella is a new downtown venue for meetings and social events with 3,000 square feet of space and is within walking distance to downtown hotels and shops. Ella has an experienced team of event professionals and allows outside catering.
  • S&W Market is an iconic three-story, Art Deco building bringing to life Asheville’s first food hall that recently added its newest food offering -- Mikasa Criolla.
    • The historic S&W Market offers two spaces for special events, including Circa29 (capacity 150) which has a classic Roaring ‘20s, speakeasy vibe with a full-service bar.
  • Asheville's acclaimed restaurant, Sunny Point Café, is expanding its popular café this year with a new bakery and event space, The Rabbit Hole.
  • Another West Asheville eatery, Jargon, is planning to open a private event space in 2023 adjacent to its restaurant. The Argot Room will be available for private events, with catering from Jargon’s seasonally-inspired menu.   

Group Activities & Experiences

  • 2023 is officially the Year of the Trail in North Carolina, and Asheville’s proximity to national and state parks offers endless opportunities to hike, climb, bike and paddle – for all ability levels. Hikers this year can be among the first to catch the breathtaking, multi-tiered cascades of Catawba Falls, when it re-opens this spring with new overlooks. The easy, out-and-back trail is just 30 minutes from downtown and is ideal for group outings.
  • The outdoor tour company  Asheville Wellness Tours has several new additions to its list of experiences. Groups can now book guided forest bathing sessions at the North CarolinaGroup of adults sitting at conference table doing yoga stretch break Arboretum – just 20 minutes from downtown – or arrange a private group yoga sessions at their meeting. 
  • For those seeking to explore Asheville’s thriving beer scene, Asheville Adventure Company offers a guided e-bike brewery crawl that aims to build comradery among co-workers. Additional corporate team-building activities include whitewater rafting trips and an e-bike tour in the mountains.
  • Add joy and authenticity to your event with The Booth Fairy Project - "a mobile happiness delivery service".

New Restaurants & Breweries

  • Eldr – Opened in 2022, this hidden restaurant inside a red-roofed cottage is just steps away from the iconic Omni Grove Park Inn.
  • Asheville welcomed 7 Clans Brewing taproom to its ever-growing brewery scene this year, which now hovers around 60.Picture of a flight of four beers at 7 Clans Brewery Owner Morgan Owle-Crisp is a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.
  • James Beard-nominated chef Ashleigh Shanti’s forthcoming restaurant, Good Hot Fish, is expected to open this summer.
  • Asheville’s Cuban-American community rejoiced this year when Guajiro Cuban Comfort Food anchored its permanent food truck outside Cotton Mill Studios in the River Arts District. Guajiro serves up classic Cuban fare for breakfast, lunch and dinner and also offers catering for large events.
  • James Beard Award-nominated pastry chef Susannah Gebhart opened the second location of Old World Levain (OWL) Bakery in North Asheville. Groups can place advance orders for coffee and breakfast pastries to accompany their morning meetings and conference sessions.
  • New Origin Brewing opened its airy, organic taproom in East Asheville this year, offering contemporary and creative pours, like a fruity Gose infused with hibiscus flowers and lime. New Origin’s garden patio is the ideal hangout for a casual evening social.

Plan Your Meeting with Explore Asheville

The sales team at Explore Asheville is your best first point of contact to find the right fit for your next meeting in Asheville. We’ll save you time and effort by sending your RFP to the hotels that fit your criteria, coordinating your site visits, and will provide insider knowledge into the best venues for any size meeting. You also receive exclusive perks when working with us, including amenity gifts for meeting VIPs, registration staffing assistance, and when you send your RFP through Explore Asheville, you may be eligible for our Have More Fun on Us incentive program.

Ready to get started? Contact our team today.

Photo Credit: 7 Clans Brewing; taken by @abarefootpreacher.