Hotel Growth Continues + New Event Spaces at the Omni Grove Park Inn and Biltmore
Named among Forbes’ 15 Coolest Places to Go in 2018 and one of CNN Travel's 18 Best Places to Visit in 2018, Asheville is a hot conference destination with more to offer meeting planners. Current hotel development and future plans in will bring more than 1,500 additional rooms to the already expanded Asheville inventory.
NEW DOWNTOWN: ► The AC Hotel Asheville Downtown is a nine-story, 132-room hotel located downtown with 325-space parking garage and 2,000 square feet of meeting space. Peter and Martha Pollay of Asheville’s Posana restaurant consulted on the food and beverage program, as well as a new rooftop restaurant and bar Capella on 9. ► The 12-story Cambria Downtown Asheville has 136 guest rooms, a three-level parking garage and 7,440 square feet of meeting and event space including a ballroom, boardroom, hospitality suites and outdoor terrace. On-site restaurant Hemingway’s Cuba brings Havana to the Blue Ridge, and full-service catering is also available.
COMING DOWNTOWN 2018: ► Asheville’s famed Art Deco skyline will get a new icon and a four-star luxury property when Hotel Arras opens. The 128-room hotel will offer an extensive food focus with two restaurants by local chef Peter Pollay + 5,000 square feet of meeting space. ► The Asheville Foundry Inn, part of Hilton’s upper upscale Curio Collection, is set to open on The Block, Asheville’s historical business district for the African-American community, with 3,000 square feet of functional meeting and event space.
NEW AT OMNI GROVE PARK INN: ► The 230-person Seely Pavilion, perfect for weddings and group meetings, offers floor-to-ceiling doors and windows offering panoramic views of the surrounding mountain range.
NEW AT BILTMORE ► Opening this fall, Amherst will be Biltmore’s largest event venue with 11,000 square feet of meeting and exhibit space. The Amherst Ballroom will feature 17-foot ceilings, space for up to 850 people and vast windows displaying the lush forests and fields of the estate. ► Set for February 9 - May 13, 2018, Biltmore’s newest exhibition “Glamour on Board: Fashion from ‘Titanic’ the Movie” marks the first large-scale display of fashions from the Oscar-winning film. In addition to 45 costumes showcasing the elaborate wardrobes of early 1900s transatlantic voyagers, details of the Vanderbilts’ extensive travels will be revealed. ► “Chihuly at Biltmore” brings breathtaking glass sculptures to the historic house and gardens May 17 - October 4, 2018. “Chihuly Nights at Biltmore” will be by reservation only and will showcase Dale Chihuly’s glass sculptures with dramatic lighting.
The Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) is a reliable, well-connected, and easily accessible airport. AIRPORT FACTS ► AVL is located just 12 miles from downtown, offers 40 to 50 direct flights daily to major hubs and is served by four major airlines. AVL is nearing the completion of $80 million in improvements. RECORD YEAR ► 2017 was the fourth consecutive record year for growth – with over 950,000 passengers using the airport. NEW SUMMER SEASONAL FLIGHTS ► American Airlines will offer nonstop service to Dallas Fort Worth International Airport from AVL in summer 2018. Allegiant will offer nonstop service from AVL to Denver International Airport twice weekly through summer 2018.
Summer of Glass Celebration, Beer Painting Tour + Group Glass Blowing
► In conjunction with the Chihuly exhibition, Asheville glass artists and studios are coming together for the Summer of Glass, a celebration of the historical and contemporary context of glass and its talented artists with tours and demonstrations of glass blowing, jewelry making and stained glass May-October. The quartz-rich mountains and Asheville’s passion for creativity give the region a prolific glass art history.
► Painting with Beer joins the palette of uniquely Asheville art immersion experiences via Asheville Art Studio Tours. Explore studios across the Asheville art scene and end with a beer painting lesson at one of 38 local breweries. Groups can book by request for tours of up to 12 people.
► The NC Glass Center offers customized glass blowing group workshops and each participant is able to make a paperweight, ornament or drinking glass.
Beer City USA Offers Large Group Experiences
With more breweries per capita than anywhere else in the U.S., Asheville is Beer City USA. The area offers multiple beer festivals, a plethora of brew tours and a neighborhood known for its concentration of breweries (South Slope). Large groups can also get “hopping.”
► Sierra Nevada can host up to 50 people for a private brewery tour and offers private dining space rental. ► Asheville Brewery Tours can handle private tours for 10 to 150 people. ► Highland Brewing can host private brewery tours of 40. ► Many breweries offer unique event space: Catawba Brewing, Highland Brewing, Hi-Wire Brewing, Green Man Brewing, New Belgium Brewing and Lexington Avenue Brewery.
Explore the Outdoors with New Tours
► The recently revamped Asheville Farm to Table Tours lead guests on an adventure to different farms that ends with a locally-sourced meal. ► Wai Mauna offers a massive, six-person paddleboard, in addition to their stand-up paddleboard tours on the French Broad River. ► Try a Bellyak tour via the Asheville-invented watersport that takes place on a facefirst kayak that you ride on your belly. ► Ascend Adventure Wellness combines hiking and outdoor spa treatments while Asheville Hiking Tours offers waterfall ecotours and private tour options.
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. They’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 these destination experts including attraction value cards for attendees, amenity gifts for meeting VIPs, registration staffing assistance, and when you send your RFP through Explore Asheville, you may be eligible for the Have More Fun on Us incentive program.
“We chose Asheville for our conference not only for the beauty of the setting, but for its rich and diverse culture and support of the arts. As a very walkable city, Asheville provided our attendees a background of entertainment, amazing food, and creative drinks while learning about how to make a living in the field of jewelry and metals. The large amount of galleries in the downtown are provided for a rich exhibition crawl filled with unique and varied exhibitions.
Gwynne Rukenbrod Smith
Executive Director Society of North American Goldsmiths