There’s something about the Windsor Boutique Hotel in Asheville that has my mind racing. After all, it takes less than a moment to convince myself that suite 301 is actually my apartment.
My apartment, that is, if I had impeccable taste, a flair for combining luxe textures and vintage patina, and the whimsy and vision to ship art and décor—purchased in Parisian antique markets— across the Atlantic. With such detailed attention, the Windsor makes it difficult to distinguish between dream and reality.
The hotel is located on the corner of Broadway and Walnut Street in a black- and tan-painted brick building. Built in 1907, the Windsor underwent an 18-month historic renovation and opened in April 2014, putting a distinctly upscale, French-flavored stamp on Asheville’s bustling downtown.
The Windsor draws upon Asheville’s moniker “Paris of the South”—a nod to the influx of French artisans and craftsmen who helped build the Biltmore Estate at the turn of the nineteenth century—to create an atmosphere of ordinary luxury. The experience starts in the hallways—a veritable gallery of local artists, selected by the Windsor’s own art director and available for purchase. Even the staircase, a centerpiece of the building, has its handrails wrapped in faux ostrich leather.
But the suggestion of richness blooms inside each of the suites. Sumptuous textiles and textures are paired with rugged, rustic elements. Thick-pile rugs with toe-scrunching softness layer across reclaimed hardwood floors (distressed, but worn smooth). Cream-colored leather sofas stand around hardy wooden coffee tables. More artwork—actually purchased in Paris—pops against exposed brick. The suites, in essence, are luxurious to the touch and to the eyes without being overly precious.
Each of the Windsor’s 14 suites is uniquely appointed and has its own set of charms. Suite 301’s calling card happens to be a palette of rich chocolate and ivory, plus a bedroom view of a bustling corner. There are also the practical elements: each suite has a full kitchen and washer and dryer.
The Windsor’s brand of customer service adds to its charming impression. The full-time staff numbers only three: Brandon, Chelsea, and William. And while they make themselves readily available—they know their guests by name and provide personal cellphone numbers for contact—they’re content to let their guests explore and enjoy the accommodations as they see fit. Even the front desk is unobtrusive—it’s just a farm table tucked to the side of the stairs. There’s a real sense of privacy.
That’s the trick—the experience of staying at the Windsor is indistinguishable from the experience of living in Asheville’s eclectic urban center. There’s no sense of temporariness, of needing to eventually go home. And what better compliment could there be? I’m content to let this daydream continue.
36 Broadway, Asheville, NC // (844) 494-6376 // windsorasheville.com
For the months of November and December, rates start at $395 per night.
The Windsor will also be opening a stand- alone restaurant and retail art gallery space adjacent to the hotel in the coming months. [/callout]