BACKGROUND The Foundry Hotel Asheville, part of Hilton’s Curio Collection, is located in a former steel forge that turned out steel for some of the city’s most prominent buildings, including the Biltmore Estate. Its industrial history is evident in the framed photographs around the lobby, but these days, it’s all about luxury and southern charm.
WHERE IS IT Within walking distance of downtown Asheville’s shops, cafes, bars and breweries, and close to some of this delightful city’s stellar attractions, both historic and hip.
WHAT’S IT LIKE? With Covid-19 restrictions in place, some facilities were not open, but I was still able to get a feeling for what the hotel is like in normal times. I really loved the high ceilings, exposed brick walls, and large windows everywhere. In the center of the hotel’s four buildings is a grassy courtyard, which was a great place to relax for an impromptu picnic.
ROOMS The room keys here are actually playing cards with different icons of industry like John D. Rockefeller and J.P. Morgan on them; repeat guests can collect the full set. Hilton’s CleanStay program was in full force with the room door sealed with a sticker indicating it had been thoroughly cleaned. The entire hotel demonstrated great attention to the details of the latest coronavirus precautions. The room’s hardwood floors and brick surfaces lend a rustic, yet urbane, feel to the place. Tall, cushioned headboards have built-in reading lights and I appreciated having both power and USB outlets by the bed. Views are of the neighborhood, courtyard, or of the rolling hills behind the hotel. I was really impressed that the curtains were electronically controlled. Bathrooms have excellent lighting, including bright lights built into the mirror, and fragrant Beekman 1802 products. The glass-enclosed shower had excellent water pressure with controls positioned to the side so you don’t get sprayed with cold water when turning it on. My Corner King Suite had a small sitting area that was great for working with a cup of Nespresso.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS Benne on Eagle is the hotel’s main restaurant serving a modern take on Southern cuisine. During my visit, they were operating on a takeout-only system. I ordered the vegetable purloo and creamy macaroni and cheese with a side of collard greens, which were out of this world. The Workshop Lounge is the hotel’s lobby lounge and bar, which was closed during my visit. That’s too bad because many nights a week the hotel staff tells me there are local bands that draw a sizeable crowd.
LEISURE FACILITIES A fitness center is available to guests, but I took a brisk walk through downtown instead. The hotel has a Tesla car service to take guests anywhere downtown or around the River Arts District.
BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES The ballroom has natural light; there is also a boardroom next to reception. Free wireless Internet works exceptionally well including outside in the courtyard.
VERDICT Opened in December 2018, the hotel’s prime location, historic architecture, and southern charm deliver a memorable experience in downtown Asheville.
Downtown location in a unique historic building, great dining and an active bar scene
A ride on one of the building’s original pulley elevators that guests can use
Internet rates for a traditional room start at $169
CONTACT 51 South Market St., Asheville, NC 28801, Phone 828-552-8545. foundryasheville.com