This is a truly historic property that the past and present owners have really given a great service to our citizens by maintaining and preserving this elegant railroad depo mountain inn in Balsam. Clearly some modern plumbing and other upgrades have been added without giving up too much of the historic nature and charm of such a classic guest inn that was state of the art in it's day. Point being- if you expect the Biltmore or Grove Park, then you should keep traveling down the road another hour and you will find more modern luxury to suit your expecations.
The Balsam Mountain Inn is located by the railroad and served as a luxury mountain getaway back in the day of rail travel. The Inn sits atop a mountain looking over a few small buildings of Balsam and into the deep green forests of the NC mountains. The drive up to the Inn is easy and a improved gravel road. Plenty of parking except when the inn is full. There are three floors with the reception desk and arts and crafts gift shop, common areas and dining areas on the first floor along with some guest rooms. Most guest rooms are up the classic ole stairs or added elevator to the guest rooms on various wings of the inn. Wide hallways, high ceilings, classic woodworks show the true craftsmen of the period that this inn was built.
The rooms are average to large size with a small bathroom that has been built for each room. There are sitting areas in the room and widows for mountain air-conditioning.
Breakfast is usually part of the fare and is served in the smaller dining area looking east or the large dining hall reception area on the west side of the inn. Breakfast was good and service was good if not at the peak period of service.
Innkeepers were very nice and helpful. We have stayed here before and really enjoy this classic old inn but we know what we should expect in historic old inns.
The location in Balsam is ideal for visiting the GSMNP or the Blue Ridge Parkway. We have always enjoyed Waynesville, Dillsboro, Sylva and the other surrounding small towns for events, dining and shopping.
In summary, if you arrive with the understanding that you are staying in an old state of the art for it's day of railroad mountain inns, then you will have a good experience. If you need television, airconditioning, video games, etc or luxury services, then this is not the place for you. However, if you love sitting on a long and classic front porch in comfortable rocking chairs and watching the mist pass through the mountains awaiting the sun rise or the light of the full moon, then this place will stay with you in that most peaceful and reflective part of you.