The main draw of this charming hotel is the old fashioned interior and styling. It does a good job of recreating some of the styling and decor from the original glory days of the hotel (which was built in 1908), but lacks somewhat in the original splendor. It's a little bit shabby inside, but somehow this adds to the appeal. Hallways are decorated with quirky pictures and artifacts, which make for an interesting stroll from the bedroom to the lobby. Some are even for sale. The hotel was very clean inside, which for me is a strong plus.
Part of the theme of this hotel is that you are taking a retreat from the every day grind of our busy modern world. Bear this in mind. The hotel is not a luxury mountain getaway. There is WiFi available, but the signal was patchy. Our room had a nice big king size bed, but it was cramped in the room. Decoration was sparse - the walls and ceiling were slat wall and the floor was varnished pine. You get a dresser with a lamp, a couple of rocking chairs and a bedside table. Two classic hot water radiators provided heat for the room, but I did not see evidence of air conditioning beyond the option of opening the window. Since we were there in March, this was not a problem but I am not sure of their provisions during the summer months. Rooms do not have a TV or a telephone, but cell reception was acceptable. There was no closet or wardrobe to hang our clothes, which was also a little inconvenient.
The bathroom was very basic, with a shower or claw tub bath, a toilet, and a small sink with automatic shutoff faucets. The faucets meant we can't leave the tap running, and because hot and cold are not mixed you need to fill the sink even to wash your hands. I'm not sure on the reasoning for this beyond saving water, and I found it to be a little off putting.
The lobby is open plan, featuring wicker furniture and a fireplace to curl up beside. A quaint corner library room offers a collection of old books. Chess and checker boards were set up and ready to play, and other board games are available to help keep the family entertained. I would say that this would not be a good place to bring young children though. Some people brought their dogs, so the hotel is pet friendly. However, the walls are very thin so you might run the risk of getting noisy neighbors. The hotel has a quiet policy after 10pm, but your mileage on that might vary. Our neighbors had a barking dog in the morning, which woke us up quite early.
The location of the hotel is about 15 minutes drive west of Waynesville and an off-ramp from the Blue Ridge Parkway, making it convenient by car. Running along an old country railway line and close to the highway, the hotel sits on a hill and is surrounded by beautiful views of the mountains. A long porch with numerous rocking chairs enables you to make the most of this. There is plenty of parking outside the building, but it is not covered. The road leading up to the hotel is somewhat rough, but manageable - you might need a 4x4 in snowy weather. As far as I could tell, the hotel was not wheelchair accessible.
The hotel has a restaurant with a small selection of dishes to choose from. Most dishes were meat based but there was 1 vegetarian option available. It seemed the same menu both nights, so we went into Waynesville the second evening and enjoyed a change of pace there. Each morning they served a free breakfast and there were two options. A cooked breakfast of scrambled eggs, grits or hash browns, bacon or sausage, then either pancakes one day or french toast the next. The other option was cereal and I believe fruit. Coffee and juice was provided also.
Service at the hotel was fine, the staff were friendly, but the restaurant service itself was a bit clumsy. The wrong plates were taken to a few tables while I was eating and no drinks menu was offered. I personally had to wait a long time for a beer to be served because the drinks cabinet was apparently locked and the key could not be found. The vegetables served with our main course were still raw, but our pork chop was cooked well and was tasty. I should note that this was not because of the trainee waiter - he provided good service. It was just generally lacking from our waitress.
Our two nights stay was a very pleasant experience overall. I would definitely visit again, and would rate the overall quality to be between 2 and 3 stars.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Read, rest, ramble and romp at the Balsam Mountain Inn! Nestled among lofty Smoky Mountain peaks just off the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Balsam Mountain Inn was completed in 1908 to serve the highest railway depot in the east. Restored in 1991, the inn now welcomes travelers with 50 cheerful rooms, rocker-filled porches, a fine library and gracious dining. Plump pillows and soft comforters inspire pleasant dreams! In December, 2011, the Inn came once again to be owned by Merrily Teasley, the innkeeper who restored the structure two decades ago. An experienced rescuer of wonderful buildings, Teasley bought the derelict inn in 1990, and her certified rehabilitation effort helped the inn – already on the National Historic Register – experience a rebirth. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Expedia and Hotels.com so you can book your Balsam Mountain Inn & Restaurant reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Balsam Mountain Inn & Restaurant Hotel Balsam
- Balsam Mountain Inn And Restaurant