Looking for the ultimate girls trip? I recommend the Spa at the Omni Grove Park Inn Asheville for an electronic-free, reinvigorating break from reality- a chance to recharge and relax with your best gal pals.
A few months ago one of my friends, Jaime, moved away. My friend, Danielle, threw her a going away party. While I was so super sad to see her not live down the street from me anymore, I’m not a fan of goodbyes, so big hugs and “see you soon” was the route I took.
And see each other we did! She came in town for our Christmas party and both Jaime and Danielle and their families stayed the night (they both have girls the same age as Hailey and Kaitlyn so the girls all love each other and jumped at the chance for a slumber party)! While hanging out we decided we needed to go ahead and get the next meet up on the calendar. Jaime is a Lumineers fan so when she saw they were coming to Asheville in January we decided to make a girls weekend out of it. I’m so glad we did!
I’m a huge fan of planning in advanced because then once it’s on the calendar, it is going to happen and usually ends up sneaking up on me. That’s exactly what happened with this weekend so before I knew it, I was picking them up and driving us all to the mountains!
We left early on a Friday afternoon and to our shock, it began to snow! I had no idea it was even predicted and while it was beautiful at first, the lack of visibility on the windy highway up the mountain made for a slightly stressful situation. Still, we arrived in Asheville safe and sound and checked into the Hilton Garden Inn downtown, not far from the concert venue.
We had just pulled our luggage into the room when a hotel worker knocked on our door, carrying a tray of goodies and wine. Jaime’s husband then earned all kinds of brownie points and our girls weekend was off to a celebratory note!
We popped open the bubbly and took our time getting ready for the night. We took the hotel shuttle to our 5:15 dinner reservations at Zambras, a tapas restaurant. We all arrived hungry and poured over the menu trying to decide what to order first. The answer was martinis, but we quickly followed up with a cheese plate, warm olives, roasted potatoes, roasted Brussels sprouts and about 8 more tapas before the waitress took away our menus, assuming we must be full. We then tracked her down and asked for a bread basket to top us off. Don’t underestimate how much food girls can put away on a night out!
We left the restaurant and walked to the venue, which was just down the street. We got in easily then learned there were to opening bands meaning we had almost two hours until The Lumineers themselves would come on. So we grabbed a drink and found a spot to chat for a while before making friends with a security guard who let us in to the pit area. It was a fun spot to stand for a while, but we eventually took off to find our seats.
The opener (Mt. Joy) was enjoyable to listen to, and soon enough we were cheering for The Lumineers coming on stage! Like I said, I only know about two songs, but my goodness, they are a talented group so we all had a great time dancing along and singing the words (I rocked it out on Hey Ho, the one I know best!).
We stayed through the encore and found afterwards we had worked up an appetite, so we went for a second dinner at Jack’s Tavern, which was the first place we found within walking distance that had French fries. It worked out well because we enjoyed our late night food and then it was only a two minute Uber ride back to our hotel.
The next morning we all woke up around 7:00 (it’s hard to get away from that #MomLife even after a night out) and decided to check out the hotel gym. It was small but functional and we all did our thing for about 45 minutes. It felt great to sweat and I love girls trip where we’re all on the same page about wanting to get up and moving. We showered, checked out, and tracked down a place a local Instagram friend recommended to me- All Day Darling.
If I was a selfish person (ok, ok, I was tempted), I wouldn’t tell you about this gem because there was no wait when we showed up, and that’s so rare in the Asheville food scene. We got right in, but spent about 10 minutes studying the food and drink menu because everything looked SO good.
I chose the matcha latte (LOVED it) and the recommended local favorite: the Thunderbird: GF fried chicken, harissa aoili, fermented vegetables, roasted kale, and bamboo rice. OMG. I can’t wait to go back and try everything on the menu because our brunch was that good.
With full and happy tummies, we hopped back in the car, destined for the promise land, The Omni Grove Park Inn.
You’ve heard me sing the praises of the beautiful Grove Park Inn before. David and I first went over a decade ago and have been back many times since. We had our family Christmas week getaway there in 2018 and got to see it in the snow, we’ve attended their Big Band weekend and danced the night away, and I went on a girls trip last year as well. Through the years I’ve learned that the magic of the Grove Park Inn does not fade no matter how often you go.
The funny thing about all the times I’ve been is that I’ve never experienced the spa. Yes, the spa, that beautiful grotto for which they are best known for. Because of that, this trip was super special because we were gifted spa day passes. That, coupled with the fact that Jaime and Danielle had neither been to The Grove Park Inn at all before, made this a unique and blissful experience.
We showed up and checked in and were pleasantly surprised to learn our room was already available. Our room had a beautiful mountain view. We took in the vista for a minute before realizing we wanted to squeeze every minute we could out of our spa passes. We took the elevator down and wandered the stone hallway to the spa. We peeked in at all the people eating in the spa cafe in their robes and slippers, then checked in at the front desk.
The Spa at the Omni Grove Park Inn Asheville
Then, I swear we entered another world. We were shown to the locker room where we changed into bathing suits, robes and slippers. Then we toured the facility, which is massive. There are lounging rooms with fires burning, a hot tub with a cold plunge pool adjacent to it, steam room, sauna, waterfalls and more. You’re required to speak in a soft, spa voice, which only adds the the overall enchantment. I swear we all had the biggest goofiest grins plastered to our faces the whole time. The glass of champagne only made our smiles that much brighter.
More about The Spa at the Omni Grove Park Inn Asheville, from their site: Twenty water features, including numerous mineral-based pools, complement our subterranean spa with cavernous rock walls, arches and tunnels. Enjoy 43,000 square feet of peace and quiet along with two therapeutic waterfall pools as well as a lap pool blanketed with 6,500 fiber-optic stars and underwater music.
It’s no wonder it is one of Condé Nast Traveler’s top resort spas in North America.
There are no electronics allowed in the spa. At first I was disappointed I wouldn’t be able to snap pictures to share, it ended up being a perfect rule for me because it forced me to leave my camera and phone behind (which I’m not the best at doing) and just be in the moment. We challenged each other to stay in plunge pool as long as we could, we hung out in the pool under the vaulted sky lights, we chatted in the outdoor hot tub overlooking the mountains, and just soaked in the bliss of not being responsible for anything or anyone for a few hours.
We finally tore ourselves away when we realized we’d have to eat dinner at some point. We walked (floated, perhaps?) back to our room where we showered and changed. We tried to eat dinner at Vue 1913, but out lack on planning worked against us and they were booked for the evening. We ended up putting our name on the list at The Edison and grabbed a cocktail in the lobby while we waited.
After a burger and fries, we decided to wander the halls of the hotel, which is one of my favorite past times since they are lined with photographs and stories depicting the history of The Grove Park Inn and all the famous people that have stayed there. We eventually made our way down to Elaine’s, the dueling piano bar on the lowest level. It was quite busy, but we were tired, so after an LSU fan paid to change the message on the mirror and play “we are the champions” (dedicated to all the UGA fans in the room- lol!) we decided we’d rather be in pajamas and headed back to our room.
The next morning we walked over to the athletic complex to get in a workout. I love how large the facility is, including an indoor pool and ping pong tables. We used the cardio room and the weight room, then walked the short trail up the hill and back to the hotel to shower and pack up. I always drag my feet when leaving, so we wandered in the shop, sat for a while in front of the fireplace, and admired the view one last time before finally checking out.
We decided to grab brunch downtown before hitting the road back home. Several people recommended Mayfel’s, so we went there and were pleasantly surprised to find out that the wait was only about 20 minutes- not too shabby for a beautiful weekend morning in Asheville!
Unfortunately while we were seated fairly quickly, the service was extremely slow. Usually we wouldn’t mind too much, but Jaime had to make the extra four hour drive beyond our two hour drive back home, so when it took 20 minutes to receive coffee and waters, it probably tainted my overall review of the spot. I chose the special for my meal- the blackened salmon Benedict- and while it was good, I don’t think I’d recommend Mayfel’s as a must visit spot.
The less than stellar brunch experience didn’t but a damper on the weekend though. We all returned home feeling recharged, refreshed, and really excited to see our babies. We joked a lot about how happy we were to get away for a girls trip, but how much we miss our crazy kids (and husbands) when we’re apart. I’m so grateful we were able to make this getaway happen though. Girlfriend time is good for the soul!
If you could pick anywhere to go on a girls trip to- where would you choose?