Nestled halfway between Charlotte and Atlanta, amidst the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains, sits the quaint mountain town of Highlands, North Carolina. A town that is pristinely maintained, with bustling boutiques, inspiring cuisine, and breathtaking views, the Highlands is home to a uniquely European style retreat that spans the town, giving you the feel of staying at a one-room, private bed and breakfast, yet delivering a wide variety of upscale accommodation options. It’s basically a hotel resort spread out and amongst the town, providing a homey feel and an interactive vibe. This winter, enjoy the bare tree beauty and the crisp air that surrounds Old Edwards Inn & Spa, while you retreat to their retreat.
Aged like a fine wine
This award-winning, top rated hotel and spa is anything but ordinary. Not only is the surrounding area stunning – no matter what season – with its natural waterfalls and rolling mountain ranges, but the grounds and interiors of Old Edwards Inn are a close match in beauty. This historic hotel has been gracing the small downtown area of the Highlands since 1878, making it the town’s earliest boarding house, and over the past 132 years it has been handed over to new owners, keeping the town’s tradition alive while also making modern improvements as times evolved. It is proudly listed on the National Register for Historic Places.
Today’s owners, Art and Angela Williams, have invested millions of dollars into renovations to expand the property and make the inn a haven of charm and perfection for all who visit. Using their personal touch and talents, Old Edwards Inn holds a special piece of their hearts; from the decor choices to the level of personal service every guest receives, you can tell from your first step through the door the passion and dedication that emanates from the Williams into their inn.
A Hotel Village
You don’t just roll up to the lobby of Old Edwards Inn & Spa and take the elevator to your room. There are a number of different places to stay at the inn, from the actual first historic building on Main Street to cottages and guest estates a short drive away. Based on your personal preferences and travel crew, there is truly the perfect space for everyone.
- The Historic Inn
- The Lodge Cottages
- The Church Street Cottages
- The Falls Cottages
- The Guest Estates
- Sister Property: Half-Mile Farm
- Sister Property: 200 Main
Each area, cottage, and room is very unique in appearance, layout, and atmosphere, but together, they all form a cohesive retreat that makes you feel right at home.
For example, if you were to stay at The Lodge at Old Edwards, you could choose from a stunning suite in the main building or a cottage nestled amongst winding stone paths and meticulously landscaped gardens.
Inside the main lodge, you can enjoy complimentary champagne and Dove bars, grab a glass of wine at the cozy bar for happy hour, play some pool and darts in The Kelsey Game Room, rest on the wooden Adirondack chairs on the lawn while watching the sun set, and then soak in the outdoor hot tub for an evening rendezvous.
Another example is Old Edwards Inn’s sister property, Half-Mile Farm. A short car ride away from downtown, this beautiful white farmhouse boasts fully renovated guest rooms with complete access to all of Old Edwards Inn’s other venue amenities, including their own heated outdoor mineral pool, complimentary morning breakfast, and a private lake set among vast lawns and pristine landscaping.
On this property are also secluded cabins you can stay in, if you want a more rustic, mountain feel for your retreat. These cabins can be customizable based on how many people are traveling with you, and they feature the most unique and impressive pieces, such as clawfoot tubs, antique stove and oven combinations, primitive antique decor and furniture, exposed beam ceilings, and sprawling farmhouse sinks.
You could truly spend all weekend exploring every nook and cranny of these cabins and keep discovering something new and amazing each time.
Rest Your Head
The utter luxury that Old Edwards Inn & Spa offers its guests is astounding. No matter where on the property you decide to stay for your winter retreat, you can be greeted with hand-picked antique furniture and decor (owner Angela Williams actually travels the world, with a taste for Europe, finding the perfect pieces for each guest room), fine Italian linens and bedding, heated bathroom tile floors, plush spa-like robes and slippers, inviting fireplaces, spacious patios and terraces, and many more fine details and amenities that set this inn apart from all the rest.
Conde Nast Approved
A retreat to Old Edwards Inn & Spa wouldn’t be complete without a day spent at Conde Nast’s Top Hotel Spa in North America. If you aren’t impressed by the extensive menu of unique offerings and packages, then the atmosphere will take your breath away. Decked out in deep, masculine wood and rich dark shades, with layers of stone and plush seating, this spa is the epitome of European luxury. Sit by the roaring fireplace or the trickling fountain while you wait for your treatment or enjoy the mineral whirlpools, sauna, steam room, and 14 shower head Swiss shower rooms for an active pre-treatment. After your session, enjoy a delectable bite and freshly squeezed juice from The Spa Cafe.
A few spa treatments that stand out to us as must-tries are…
- Journey to Bliss with Mountain Quartz Energy Facial
- Four Hand Massage
- Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy
- Indonesian Bath Ritual
- Hot Souffle Manicure and Pedicure
Wine and Dine
With amazing accommodations and award-winning everything, you can be sure that the cuisine and restaurants that surround this magnificent inn are nothing short of extraordinary. Whether you dine at Old Edwards Inn’s restaurants and bars or venture a few steps outside your room to the Main Street strip, you won’t be disappointed by the food options and quality in the Highlands. Here are our top highlights for dining at Old Edwards Inn & Spa.
Madison’s is Old Edwards Inn’s shining jewel. Attached to the historic building of Old Edwards Inn, this AAA Four-Diamond Awarded restaurant features some of the freshest and most innovative dishes by Chef Chris Huerta you’ve ever tried, not to mention an extensive wine list that is enhanced by the knowledge and charm of the restaurant’s sommelier. Attached to Madison’s is The Wine Garden, which is a seasonally opened patio and bar where you can dine alfresco style, enjoying live music and beautiful views.
Also inside the historic building of Old Edwards Inn & Spa is The Hummingbird Lounge, a richly decorated space to enjoy pre- and post-dinner drinks and hor d’oeuvres, while listening to live entertainment and chatting the evening away.
Other Mention Worthies
A brief overview of this stunning Inn & Spa only scratches the surface of what you can find on this property and in the surrounding areas of the Highlands, North Carolina. A few other features worth mentioning are The Fitness Centers that feature state-of-the-art equipment and offer personal training and group classes for guests and locals alike, as well as classic tennis courts.
A hotel worthy of everything mentioned wouldn’t be complete without beautiful pools to enhance the property and bring your relaxation to a peak. There are three seasonal outdoor heated mineral pools on the property – unfortunately, they are closed during the winter months – but the poolside whirlpools are open year-round, so don’t leave your bathing suit at home quite yet!
Old Edwards Inn & Spa loves their regular guests, but they also have a passion for hosting large gatherings, such as weddings and corporate events. With offices and staff dedicated to creating a one-of-a-kind experience for your special day or meeting, there truly is no better place in the North Carolina mountains to host your people.
- Voted a “Best Venue” by Brides Magazine
- Several venue locations available around the property and town
- Vow Renewal and Elopement Packages available as well
It’s the mountains and it’s a spa retreat, so it’s only appropriate for a golf course to have a presence as well. The Old Edwards Club offers guests and its members a pristinely maintained and unique course with incredible views, an outdoor heated mineral pool, tennis courts, and fitness center, as well as The Grill Room, a masculine space for enjoying a post-round nightcap and views of the rolling course.
Take a winter weekend to disconnect and reconnect to nature, your loved ones, and yourself by booking a suite or cabin at this mountain resort, and experience all that it has to offer for your mind, body, and soul.
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Photo Credits: Dani Nicole Photography, Old Edwards Inn & Spa