NOW OPEN ► Asheville’s famed Art Deco skyline has gained a new icon. The Kimpton Hotel Arras, opened October 2019, is a four-star luxury property with floor-to-ceiling windows offering views of downtown and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Set in the former BB&T Bank building, the tallest building in Western North Carolina, the Art Deco façade is a nod to Asheville’s iconic architecture. The 128- room hotel offers more than 3,000 square feet of meeting space and also has an extensive food focus with two restaurants by local chef, Peter Pollay. Bargello is a Mediterranean-inspired restaurant with handmade pastas, oven-fired pizzas and more. The second space, District 42, is a more casual spot for small bites and handcrafted cocktails.
NEW DOWNTOWN ► The Foundry Hotel Asheville, Curio Collection by Hilton, opened late 2018 on The Block, Asheville’s historical African-American business district, with 3,000 square feet of functional meeting and event space. The hotel’s 100-seat upscale restaurant Benne on Eagle, the newest venture of five-time James Beard semifinalist Chef John Fleer, pays homage to its historic Eagle Street neighborhood and the often-overlooked contributions of African-American cooks to Appalachian and Southern food.
COMING IN 2020 ► Element By Westin will bring 100 rooms and 1,200 square feet of meeting space near downtown.
New Brewery Event Spaces in “Beer City USA”
► Vying for the most breweries per capita than anywhere else in the U.S., Asheville is Beer City USA. The area has a brewery count of over 50, and large groups can also get “hopping” with more options for private event spaces. ► Opening this spring, Highland Brewing’s event center has expanded with The Barrel Room that will host groups of up to 80 people. ► Archetype Brewing’s downtown location can seat 60-80 in its private venue, with a total capacity of 150 including the tap lounge. ► Wicked Weed’s Funkatorium has new space located in the back-barrel area of the facility that can seat 200 for dinner and accommodate up to 300 for cocktail events. It is complete with an in-house catering kitchen, as well as two customizable bars
Cultural Opportunities Expand With Downtown Museums
► Asheville Art Museum reopened this fall after a major renovation with a new state-of-the-art building. Self-guided and guided group tours of its collection and exhibitions, as well as numerous education-program opportunities, are available. The expanded facility has multiple venues for events of all kinds, including social events and conferences. ► The Center for Craft has expanded with The National Craft Innovation Hub, including new galleries, lecture space, classrooms and a co-working space. ► COMING SOON: Opening to the public in early 2020, LEAF Global Arts Center will offer educational experiences for guests rooted in music, art, community and culture via a mini-theater and global-immersion room using virtual reality, unique musical instruments and a stage for performances and interactive artist workstations.
New Team-Building Adventures
► Axeville Throwing Club can host corporate groups of up to 60 who want to try their hands at axe-throwing while enjoying some local craft beer, cider or wine. By early 2020, they have plans to also set up remote locations for off-site events. ► Asheville Detours leads scavenger-hunt-style tours downtown, including “The Team Building Detour” and the NEW “Authentic Asheville Detour,” designed to get guests off the beaten path while they solve clues. ► Groups can take part in archery, sporting clays, off-roading and more on George Vanderbilt’s 8,000-acre playground at Biltmore Estate.
Unique Wellness Offerings for Groups
► Namaste in Nature combines yoga, meditation and hiking experiences, accommodating 10 or fewer but also able to split up larger groups. NEW offerings include mountaintop yoga, waterfall hikes and a “Sunset and Full Moon Yoga Hike” (full moons March through October) on a scenic mountaintop with guided yoga and meditation. ► Asheville Wellness Tours, known for their guided tours to zen-filled businesses downtown, greatly expands their menu to include yoga hikes, sound-healing sessions, forest bathing, food tours, ziplining, flower-crown workshops and group tarot readings. ► Blue Ridge Hiking Company, owned by Appalachian Trail record setter Jennifer Pharr Davis, will begin offering guided daytrips to the Great Smoky Mountains, as well as several new private group options combining half-day hikes with activities such as jewelry-making classes or beer tastings.
Nontraditional Meeting Spaces on the Horizon
► COMING SPRING 2020: James Beard Chef Meherwan Irani and Highland Brewing Co. join forces for a new food and beer hall, The S&W Market, in the iconic S&W Building, to include a separate event space with a “Roaring ‘20s” vibe and room for 40 seated guests. ► COMING SUMMER 2020: Citizen Vinyl will offer an immersive music experience with a vinyl-pressing plant, independent record store and music café and bar with food, coffee and craft cocktails, plus room for private events.
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 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 our 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