There are few invitations to leave Atlanta I never turn down. Going to D.C. is one, international travel, whether personal or on a media trip is another and less frequent, quick regional hops to fabulous places. The latter, mostly because they’re only for a day or two, have to be nothing short of stellar and worth any amount of driving, especially considering the price of gas these days.
As of late, I’ve been switching up my social activities and aspect in an effort to become better familiarized with the SouthEast. I hardly get out of Atlanta as it is, so any opportunity to travel near by, relatively speaking, is a go!
While you may know by now that I’ve specifically fallen in love with Asheville, I seemingly can’t get enough. I visited the town for the first time only one year ago while attending the National Truffle Fest. From a culinary POV, that has been the best 3 days spent educating myself on fancy food, 2nd to my private tryst with Mr. Robuchon and 3rd to cooking with Emeril. You can read about the festival in these decadent write-ups.
But, even that visit, which was replete with fancy everything, wasn’t enough. There was so much I didn’t have a chance to do or see. So, what’s a girl to do other than make another visit happen.
As I was coordinating my holiday food and travel coverage, the lovely folks at Biltmore House invited me to see the raising of their famed Christmas tree. It’s a spectacle, to say the least. I wasn’t able to make it due to unhappy circumstances, but I wanted to take them up on their offer.
My friends at Biltmore kept their promise and invited me back for a private tasting of wine and chocolate which I raved about. That afternoon alone was enough to occupy one entire post without getting into all the details of my overnight stay. Hardly enough time to indulge in all there is to experience, but sufficient to entice me to let you know how badly you should go.
I stayed at the luxurious Inn at Biltmore, boasting 4.5 stars from Frommer’s and other reliable travel sources. It’s always special being welcomed with personal service. Because I had a 2 pm tryst, I didn’t have time to jump up and down on the fluffy bed (something I do in every room I stay–makes life that much more enjoyable), but I did take time to freshen up in the bathroom. A bathroom any woman would sacrifice a bag or two for. And some Louboutins. That’s what came to mind as I touched up my make up in the powder room big enough to be a kitchen.
(The room I enjoyed. Photo courtesy of Inn at Biltmore)
The Inn offers plush rooms and suites, the former which I enjoyed. After my afternoon of sipping Estate wines and chocolates, I settled in my room and did nothing but flip channels and stare out into the mountains from my patio, which most 3rd level rooms have. The continuous rain proposed a perfect excuse to stay in. The room is designed with a low-key French aesthetic. It wasn’t the fanciest, but definitely on par with a swanky spot in Manhattan.
I’ve seen plenty of hotel suites around the world…and honestly while all have some similar traits, each has a distinct appeal making it their own. In this case, the customer service had me at “hello!” In an era where customer service is a concept erased from our culture, I was appreciative of the reception to my midnight call for an apple.
Si, una manzana a medianoche. A uniform clad man brought me two fresh green apples, a generous sized bottle of water and a pretty red rose, with the following day’s forecast. This, my friends, I’d not seen. Had I allowed my mind to go left, I would have interpreted his delivery as an invitation to a secret encounter in the Spa!
But, I didn’t. So, I reclined in the chaise, bit my apples and tweeted the picture below…
I had an early morning meeting with my host. Naturally, it had to be over breakfast in the Dining Room. The same Dining Room that knocked my dad over last year.
My host and I sat at a window table which se the tone. It was still raining.
The quasi opulent space was warm, yet open. A full buffet serving mostly American staples with minimal French influence, is available for $25, though other a la carte items will fill you up. I made a bee line for the buffet. That word never sits well with me but I was curious to see what the Inn cooked up.
My eyes locked with the salmon. And the pastries.
I took full advantage of the diverse muffin tier and asked for a little box to go. I’m not a huge baker, hence the need to enjoy others’ as much as possible. The pistachio was my favorite, probably because it was a perfect green.
Bearing a beautiful color, the Scottish salmon was served crudo and paired with plenty of fresh herbs and red onion bits. I resisted eating a pound; only because there were pastries, made-to-order omelettes and blintz’s to devour.
That was my menu.
I need not mention the goodness of the cappuccino. I sipped on two before moving on to my white omelette and the cheese blintz. Or three. OMGoodness! Soft, cheesy and apple cinnamon compote on the side… 100% lush.
Rain drops continued to splatter on our window and my new friend and I discussed the evolution of the Estate, what inspires the chefs, annual events hosted on the property and other random chatter.
Everything was in perfect harmony. The food was nothing less than I expected. All was cooked to perfection with seasonal and fresh ingredients. Their approach seems to be simple yet sophisticated. Nothing is overdone or overstated. The balance of aesthetic and flavor complemented each other well. The buffet selections are robust enough to satisfy in one visit, eliminating that third and questionable fourth trip to the bar. And for great measure, breakfast proved another instance of stellar customer service…. albeit our server was oblivious we were in-house guests. A testament to consistent and unbiased attention.
An ideal breakfast for me isn’t worth talking about unless I’m able to finish with a 3rd cup of espresso! They say the 3rd time around’s a charm. You know I had to go in for it.
We left our table 90 minutes later and made our way to an expedited tour of the House before a 4.5 hour lunch at Bistro, the property’s French joint. Yes, the rest of the day entailed more eating…a formidable review of that experience coming soon.
Like my father so appropriately stated in his review of our truffle-themed dinner at the Inn last year, ‘Eating at the Inn on Biltmore does not come cheap, but then again, “good life is expensive; there is one cheaper, but it is not as good.” ’ While I was hosted and all accommodations were taken care of, I say with assuring conviction that any stay at Inn at Biltmore will result in pleasures only those that enjoy a good life can appreciate. It’s just that kind of place.
You can only eat at the Dining Room if you are a guest at the Inn or you hold a visitor pass for the Biltmore Estate.
Inn on Biltmore Estate
1 Antler Hill Road
Asheville, NC 28803
W: www.biltmore.com | P: 800-411-3812 or 828-225-1600
Breakfast served from 7 am. – 11 am.
* this is not a formal review as others here on Flanboyant Eats™, therefore is not subject to the same criteria I would normally use. It serves more of high recommendation as a result of a lovely experience during an overnight stay at the Inn.