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Need to Go to America’s Most In style Nationwide Park With out the Crowds? This Resort Has a Non-public Entrance

As a meals and journey author who lives within the coronary heart of eternally buzzing Manhattan, it’s protected to say that I don’t “flip off” fairly often. And New York Metropolis, with its abundance of stimulation, will not be precisely the perfect spot to chase a second of zen. As I’ve realized over a few years of touring, to unplug, you’ll want to head to a spot that encourages you to take action. That is how I discovered myself a couple of months in the past, slowly winding up a quiet, leafy street in the course of the Nice Smoky Mountains, nostril pressed to the automotive’s window and on my technique to discover The Swag.

The tranquil unfold is a far cry from skyscrapers and sirens, simply what this frazzled New Yorker wanted. Perched 5,000 toes above sea stage (it’s the best boutique resort on the East Coast) and simply 25 toes from a non-public entrance to the Nice Smoky Mountains Nationwide Park, there are few properties I’ve visited with a extra unspoiled, magical view than this one. Evergreens body the resort’s assortment of rustic, wood-clad cabins whereas views of the North Carolina backcountry and mountaintops tumble out in entrance of you seemingly endlessly (on a transparent day, it’s 50 miles).

Chelsea Lane Images/Courtesy of The Swag

It’s this mixture of quiet splendor and charming, pampering rooms that has lured visitors to this pocket of the Blue Ridge Mountains since 1982, when Dan and Deener Matthews based the property. And actually, I met many visitors in the course of the nightly communal cocktail hour who had been visiting The Swag for many years. Since these early days, the resort has blossomed to incorporate standalone cabins, an ample outside eating porch, and a spa. Nevertheless it rose to nationwide prominence when present house owners Annie and David Colquitt took over in 2018, and much more so once they obtained a coveted Relais & Châteaux designation in 2020.

Right now, a go to right here could be as energetic as an all-day hike by way of the Smokies or as chill as an extended soak within the picturesque sizzling tub adopted by a detoxifying mud wrap on the spa (I conquered each, for what it’s value). However no matter the way you select to spend your days right here, what permeates each inch of the property, out of your Polaroid picture at check-in to bonding with visitors over tough Stave puzzles, is a way of neighborhood.

“It’s completely different from different resorts in that we have now one dinner seating; there’s a communal hors-d’oeuvres hour,” says proprietor Annie Colquitt. “It feels extra such as you’re being hosted in any person’s house, to a sure extent, than a standard resort.” Colquitt informed me it’s not unusual for visitors to satisfy throughout a hike and bond so absolutely that each events come again collectively the next yr. Certainly, by the tip of my keep, I’d chatted with almost everybody on the property, whether or not throughout a cocktail-making class or a pleasant spherical of trivia.

Somewhat extra on that Polaroid, too: They really take two pictures, one so that you can hold and one which goes right into a ebook of resort visitors. All volumes, dated again to 1982, are on show on the Swag Home so that you can look over so you may see the way you, too, match into the shared historical past of The Swag.

Learn on for my full overview of The Swag in Waynesville, North Carolina.

The Swag, Waynesville, North Carolina

  • The decor right here is pitch-perfect rustic: cozy with out being twee.
  • The rooms are made for stress-free, due to ultra-plush beds and a few with perks like in-room saunas and copper soaking tubs.
  • All of your meals are included, from steel-cut oatmeal sweetened with apple cider to four-course dinners served on the Swag Home.
  • Nice Smoky Mountains Nationwide Park is on the property’s doorstep, and the non-public entrance means avoiding all of the crowds.

The Rooms

Courtesy of The Swag

The Swag has 18 uniquely designed rooms within the historic Swag Home and Chestnut Lodge, together with seven cabins and suites. An entry-level providing like Danny’s Room begins at $875 an evening and is outfitted with a beamed, vaulted ceiling and steam bathe. On the prime finish, Trinity Cottage, with charges from $2,100 an evening, boasts a 22-foot stone hearth, three main suites, and a non-public soaking tub on the upstairs balcony. All rooms additionally characteristic a small fridge stocked with comfortable drinks, path combine, and mountaineering bars which might be free to take.

Meals and Drink

One of many main attracts of the resort is its culinary program, and, as an all-inclusive, all your meals are included within the every day charge. Menus right here change every day, relying on the season, however a typical breakfast may encompass made-to-order omelets or conventional, stone-ground Southern-style grits.

Lunch is a extra informal — but no much less scrumptious — affair: Through the week, you place an order the night time earlier than to your brown bag lunch, whereas on weekends, carry the chef’s picnic served on prime of scenic Gooseberry Knob. And are available hungry for dinner, which begins with a social hour to mingle with different visitors earlier than the dinner bell rings for a four-course meal of elevated Southern delicacies.

Actions and Experiences

Courtesy of The Swag

Whereas the (literal) largest draw right here is the resort’s proximity to the Nationwide Park, The Swag additionally presents a lot to do on the property.

Considered one of its most unusual options is its Professional-in-Residence program, which brings anybody from retired park rangers to artists on-site to host casual chats with visitors. Different programming veers, naturally, towards the outside, with choices like horseback using, badminton and croquet, yoga, and mountaineering, however there are additionally organized wine tastings on Tuesdays and Fridays. Indoor perks embody a small gymnasium, library, and a big collection of infamously troublesome Stave puzzles.

Steve Yocum/Courtesy of The Swag

The Spa

On-site spa The Nonetheless presents a small however mighty menu of providers. Friends can select from custom-made massages ranging in size from 30 to 90 minutes, detoxifying mud wraps, quite a lot of facials, together with one particularly for males, and even an hour-long foot therapeutic massage that features a salt scrub and sizzling towel wraps. Within the hotter months, you can even join The Nonetheless within the Woods, a remedy that consists of an natural foot soak and a customized therapeutic massage.

Household-friendly Choices

The Swag helpfully designates which rooms are acceptable for youths beneath six and that are higher left to older visitors. The seven cabins and suites are the best choice in the event you’re touring with young children. The Mountain Laurel Room, for instance, is a two-bed, two-bath cabin that even has its circle of relatives sport room.

And whereas there is no such thing as a particular children’ program right here, the entire household can take part in loads of actions, like hikes by way of the Nationwide Park, horseback using (for ages 8 and up), and a pond full with a rope swing. Don’t miss the on-site treehouse both, good for a day coloring session. Meal-wise, the kitchen workers is used to tiny diners’ requests, but when all else fails, there’s additionally an out of doors cooler at all times stocked with snacks and ice cream.

Accessibility and Sustainability

Deener’s Room, the Swag’s handicap-accessible room has a king mattress, non-public balcony, and handicap-accessible rest room options. It’s additionally a straightforward stroll or roll to the resort’s foremost eating room. Many different rooms could also be accommodating primarily based on wants: A name to visitor providers can information you on one of the best area.

Sustainability can be a vital pillar of The Swag’s ethos. The kitchen prioritizes rising as a lot produce on-site as doable, aided by a newly expanded culinary-use backyard. The cooks additionally forage on the resort’s grounds whereas training sustainable strategies to encourage continued development. Different objects, like espresso and the East Fork Pottery dishware, are deliberately sourced within the Western North Carolina space to maintain the carbon footprint low.


Whereas The Swag feels distant, it’s inside driving distance of many Southern cities, together with Knoxville, Charlotte, and Atlanta. In the event you’re flying in, the closest airport is Asheville (a couple of 45-minute drive), which American, Delta, United, and Allegiant Airways service. The resort can advocate transport choices from there to the property, or renting a automotive on-site is simple sufficient.

How you can Get the Most Worth Out of Your Keep

The Swag’s present companions are Andrew Harper and Relais & Châteaux. Each members will obtain a welcome cheese and charcuterie board upon arrival and might schedule a non-public wine tasting.

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