It’s apples and oranges for these spa rooms

So after climbing mountains and running races, it was time for a break. And word that our favorite resort, the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, N.C., was offering a $99/night room special for Sunday and Monday was reason enough to take a break and hit the spa.

I’ll start by saying I bought Jeff a gift certificate for the Grove Park that I had intended us to use in September, for our anniversary. But they didn’t seem to be doing their BMW Test Drive Weekend this autumn that I had purchased the gift for (a weekend in the mountains, day at the spa, and couple of hours behind the wheel of a BMW of his choice; I know, I’m the coolest gift giver ever). Jeff suggested he’d always loved the idea of the Grove Park in winter anyway, so we put off the gift certificate’s use until now.

I must say Jeff has the best luck in the universe; he asks for a winter weekend, and he gets it. It started snowing during our drive up, which was actually pretty scary for me but the former Marine Corps driver seemed to have it all under control, so nothing to worry about.

Today, I’ll talk about the rooms. Then later I’ll tell you all about the spa and the food and the snow and … ahhh.

The room

Our room was in the Historic Main Inn, I was pretty excited about because I’ve never stayed there before. I’ve stayed on the club floor and in the Sammons Wing on the opposite part of the resort from the Club Floor, but never the Historic Main Inn. We were just a few doors away from the room F. Scott Fitzgerald stayed in while he did some writing in the 1930s. Apparently at one point he was a “troublesome” guest because he wouldn’t stop drinking. Ha!

How do the rooms compare with each other?

Historic Main IHistoric Main Inn roomnn pros:

– Felt like a piece of history, wondering how many famous people had graced the halls over the decades;
– The elevator is inside a huge fireplace in the lobby. That’s right, inside it. Pretty cool (or warm), huh?
– Bathroom was nicely remodeled and felt very spa-like;
– The location was perfect; in the center of the resort;
– There is supposedly a ghost on the Fifth floor (a nice ghost, which is why I put it in pros);
– There is a coffeepot, but it only brews 2 cups. Guess they want you to go out into the hotel to get your fix!

Historic Main Inn cons:

– The thermostat has two options: On and off. When it’s on, it’s sweltering. I didn’t realize what was going on the first night, as it appears to measure degrees and I kept turning it down to no avail. I finally cracked open the window and that solved it, but by the morning the window had blown wide open and it was freezing! The elevator operator explained the next day that despite what the temperature says, if it’s on and it’s cold outside, it will be hot inside. Good to know!
– The view is beautiful, but it’s difficult to enjoy it as the window was kind of tucked in behind the armoire and with the end table right next to it.
– Rooms are small.

Sammons Wing pros:

– Our room had a large window with two swivel chairs – you could either face the room or face the window, and we really enjoyed looking out over the property the last time we were there (which was summertime, I think.) Would have been amazing to have this room while watching the snow fall.

Sammons Wing cons:

– In every other way besides the view, it was pretty much a “normal” hotel room. Even the bathroom bored me. If it wasn’t for the awesome selection of soaps and shampoos, I would have thought we were at a Holiday Inn. Notice I didn’t even bother to take a picture of the room on my visit.
– I don’t recall it even having a coffeepot in the room. I could be wrong – don’t mark my words on that one.

I believe the Sammons Wing rooms and the Main Inn rooms are the same cost. The mountain view rooms are considered a premium, but personally, I prefer the property view: Looking out at the spa is beautiful. I will say I’ve never had a room looking over the parking lot – that would probably be a pretty boring view. I was told by one of the other hotel guests F. Scott Fitzgerald liked the parking lot view so he could check out the pretty ladies – so I guess there is a plus to even that!

Club Floor pros:

Club Floor room– Oh my gosh, how to describe this amazing room in the Vanderbilt wing. Feels like an extension of the spa more than a room.
– Room is extremely large. I could do cartwheels across the floor if I wanted to.
– Fireplace in the room. I didn’t get to use it as we were there in September, but I bet if we’d had it this past trip it would have been amazing.
– Coffeepot is really nice and brews an entire 10-cup pot. One of those “this is so nice I wonder if I should steal it” coffeepots.
– Room comes with complimentary breakfast and cocktail hour on the club floor (which I never got to try because the front desk didn’t realize we were on the club floor when I called to ask about it, apparently, as she told me it didn’t exist.)
– Room comes with free spa access (typically $50/person on weekdays and $80/person on weekends);
– This means they have the spa robes in the room. Much nicer than the thinner robes they put in the other rooms – these are fluffy and warm and you actually think it might be worth it to go buy one from the gift shop …
Beautiful shower– The shower. It’s amazing. Many shower heads in large shower stall – one raining down from above and one “regular” mounted in wall (see picture) and many small ones shooting out lower down. The best shower I’ve ever been in.
– There is what they call an “effervescent bath” – it’s a very long bathtub (yes, you can lie down in it) with all kinds of bubbly effects. Not quite like a hot tub but not unlike it either.
– Lots of other little extras in the bathroom too. The entire thing is tiled/stone. Huge counter space and mirrors everywhere and you could never leave the bathroom and have a perfect weekend.

Club Floor cons:

– The price tag. Not saying it’s not worth it, just saying it can’t be done all the time.

All that leads to this: Always pick the club floor if you can. But most likely, that’s a once-or-twice-in-a-lifetime chance based on the astronomical price. (for the record, the time I spent there was for part of my honeymoon.) I’d recommend the Historic Main Inn over the Sammons wing, but if it’s snowing or something else (leaves changing, etc.) consider Sammons wing simply for the ability to sit by the window.

And really, who spends time in the room anyway? (unless you’re on the club floor.) Because, it’s really about the spa. I’ll get to that tomorrow.