ASHEVILLE – A regional hotel company is nearing the opening day of its second boutique hotel, located in downtown Asheville. The hospitality focus isn’t merely directed at tourists but aimed to attract residents through entertainment, dining and handcrafted beverage offerings.
The Restoration Asheville will be the second property in The Restoration Hotel Collection, which made its debut in Charleston, South Carolina.
In November, The Restoration Asheville will open at 68 Patton Avenue across from Pritchard Park. The construction of the former bank has been ongoing between S & W Market and Melting Pot Social.
The Restoration Asheville is an independent hotel that gives attention to detail in the guest rooms and public spaces, said co-owner Anders Anderson. It also will reflect the local fare, residents, architecture and landscape.
“The way we design our properties, we look at the history, the culture and the nature that’s in the surrounding area, and we try to integrate that into our design and kind of modernize it,” Anderson said.
The Restoration Asheville will offer 60 rooms for overnight stays, plus several areas for guests to hang out and play. The upscale guest rooms will range from 450 to 650 square feet and will be stocked with amenities, including Beekman 1802 products, locally roasted coffee, late-night cookies, Smart TVs and a fully stocked bar cart. Nosh Boxes will be stocked with locally made products to welcome guests to the city.
The layout was designed to create a better flow for guests to get ready for the day without being confined to the bathroom.
“When you look at our rooms what you’ll find is hardwood floors, platform beds, all of our furniture is made by Amish craftsmen in Ohio,” Anderson said. “We have taken the makeup station which can also be used as a desk and put a nice big mirror there with plenty of outlets that can be used for curling irons, hair dryers and anything else that is needed.”
More:New French Broad cabin campground, ‘canteen’ opening with Asheville chefs on board
The public social areas are referred to as Community Outlets and will consist of restaurants, bars, events spaces and more. Menus will be curated toward breakfast, lunch, and dinner guests and bar crowds with each area offering a unique look, feel and menu.
“We believe it is the common areas that can really help distinguish us in the community,” Anderson said.
The Exchange will be an industrial-style, full-service restaurant and bar that blends American brasserie and Low Country with Appalachian cuisine styles, he said. The menu will feature some dishes popular in Charleston, such as crispy fried chicken sandwiches and truffle fries and a signature burger. Appalachian cuisine will feature braises, legumes, freshwater fish and locally sourced protein.
“It’s what I call our mountain-to-table restaurant,” he said.
The Observatory will take over the entire sixth floor. Floor-ceiling glass windows with skylight will let in natural light. It also allows for breathtaking views of the city and Blue Ridge mountains, he said. One side will have a garden-esque rooftop bar serving botanical cocktails and light bites. The other portion will have a dedicated space for private events – such as weddings, large parties and corporate events – which are expected to be major revenue drivers.
The Draftsman will be an underground speakeasy-style lounge with two bowling lanes, a stage for live music performances, pinball machines and arcade games. The basement begins at street level with windows lining the exterior but goes deeper to create a clandestine layer to have local beers and more handcrafted cocktails.
“We designed this for locals. It’s got a refurbished old bowling alley, which is super cool,” Anderson said. “Our playlist, we’ve already gone through and made sure it’s a lot of local talent that’s going to be on our music playlist. We have a massive mural that’s going to adorn one of the walls along the bowling alley with a nod to Asheville history.”
The Library will reimagine the lobby concept with towering bookshelves and art of local landmarks. Visitors may read titles from the reference library, stocked from the Assouline luxury book collection. Books may be ordered and shipped to guests’ homes, too.
The space may be utilized for working remotely or hosting a small business meeting over coffee from the artisanal coffee shop, The Rise. Or guests can hang out with a cocktail from one of the bars.
“It’s better than having a ‘hotel lobby,’” he said. “We want it to feel like you’re at home when you come in.”
The Restoration Asheville is pioneered by Jeffrey R. Anderson Real Estate, a family-owned and operated company based in Cincinnati, Ohio headed by Jeffrey R. Anderson and his two sons J.R. Anderson and Anders Anderson.
In 2016, The Restoration Hotel Collection was launched in Charleston, South Carolina when the group revamped a “failed condo project” and flipped it into a boutique hotel that has since expanded with residential units and a hotel with 54 rooms with a coffee shop and a rooftop restaurant.
More:Visit these restaurants, bars for light, refreshing cocktails this summer
Expanding to Asheville was a decision influenced by the entrepreneurs’ personal experiences from past visits, the size of the city and its rich culture, Anders Anderson said.
“We’re looking for those cool, eclectic places that we know people love to go to, but they don’t talk about it as much as other spots,” he said. “We feel like we’ve discovered a gem but at the same time, that gem’s always been there. That’s what we kind of love about it. There’s something about the intimacy we can create and the partnerships we can create. We love the variety that these smaller towns can have that you can get in Atlanta or a larger city, but it gets drowned out by the bigger voices.”
In Asheville, the company invested in a former bank building that had been vacant for several years.
In their research they learned that the site was originally The Bank of Asheville – later bought out by the Bank of America. It was a three-story building constructed in 1932 and rebuilt in 1972 following a fire.
In 2019, Jeffrey R. Anderson Real Estate purchased the building, and construction began in August 2020. It had been vacant following the bank’s closure around 2012. Setbacks attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as supply chain issues, delayed the construction, Anderson said. The reconstructed site included massive concrete foundations that supplied the support needed to add additional floors to The Restoration Asheville, which will open with six stories, plus a basement and subbasement.
The Asheville site is a modern build and not one of the registered historic sites due to the reconstruction. However, when it came to drawing up the designs for The Restoration, the owners took cues from the past.
Art deco is the leading architecture style for the historic building in downtown Asheville, but that’s not the direction the owners wanted to take with the hotel, Anderson said. They went deeper into the history of the area which led them to examine Biltmore Estate and the Omni Grove Park Inn and the European architectural styles of the 1890s and early 1900s.
“What would they do now if they were still alive?” and “What are the bones that they’ve left for us so that we can then lay something modern on top of that?” were two of the questions pondered during the design development process, Anderson said.
The bowling alley in The Draftsman and the library are examples of how The Restoration Asheville was inspired by the Vanderbilt family home.
The Restoration Hotel Collection is planned to have more expansion to different markets with Asheville setting the example.
“We’re hoping this will become the model of The Restoration and what we’re trying to create,” he said.
The Restoration Asheville
Where: 98 Patton Avenue, Asheville
Tentatively opening November 2022
Info: For details, visit therestorationhotel.com.
Tiana Kennell is the food and dining reporter for the Asheville Citizen Times, part of the USA Today Network. Email her at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter/Instagram @PrincessOfPage. Please help support this type of journalism with a subscription to the Citizen Times.