New spot to sleep, eat, sip and stare at the mountains in Asheville, North Carolina.
By Hope S. Philbrick
The newest hotel in Downtown Asheville, North Carolina, is officially open.
Boasting 136 guestrooms—all with mountain views!—Cambria Hotel Downtown Asheville is part of the fast-growing Cambria Hotels brand. This new hotel is located in the heart of Asheville, within walking distance of award-winning restaurants, craft breweries, art galleries, music venues and more. It’s also just a short drive away from other Asheville attractions, including Biltmore Estate. The parking deck is adjacent to the hotel; valet service is provided so that you can spend more time having fun and less time trying to remember where you parked.
The hotel has a contemporary décor style that’s quickly gaining traction as the new norm in hotel styling: Standard guestrooms have hard floors (no carpets or rugs), step-in showers (no tubs), minimal clutter, efficient space-saving storage areas, white linens. Cambria Hotel Downtown Asheville has also made certain its guestrooms have much-needed tech (like plug-ins) as well as touches that make you say, “Oh, that’s cool!” like a strip of mood-lighting along the top of the headboard.
My bed was positioned in the middle of the room with a work station tucked behind the headboard. That positioned the bed closer to the window, which made it easier to admire the mountain views from a reclined position.
The spacious room design is sleek, clean and modern but feels warm and cozy, thanks in part to a brick wall—that accent wall looks like and adds the ambiance of genuine brick, but is actually an eye-tricking wallpaper….I admit that I had to touch it to be sure, it’s that realistic. Everything else about the room is real, though, including the cushy mattress, fluffy pillows, absorbent towels, sweet-smelling soaps, convenient microwave and mini ‘frig, and high-tech Bluetooth bathroom mirrors.
“We want every guest to feel like they’re receiving something more than the standard hotel stay,” Antonio O. Fraga, Sr., president and founder of FIRC Group, Inc., which developed this hotel, is quoted in a press release. “They are experiencing our unmatched Fraga family hospitality and we are proud to be a part of their memories of Asheville.” Thoughtful, uncommon services include chocolates upon arrival and honey upon departure—foodie treats made locally in the Foodtopia/Bee City that is Asheville.
You don’t have to leave the Cambria Hotel Downtown Asheville property to find tasty food and drink: Hemingway’s Cuba restaurant and bar is on site.
The restaurant seating is laid out such that different sections have different vibes—so depending on your needs and mood you might opt for a romantic table for two, a big table where you can whoop it up with friends, a booth to meet with colleagues, a solo stool at the bar, or whatever. The bar is dramatic and faces the rooftop terrace that offers sweeping mountain views. The whole space is spectacular, and there’s top-notch service and delicious menu items to match.
The menu is Cuban because the Fraga family is, too. To ensure that the food is authentic Cuban, Chef Duane Fernandes went to Florida for hands-on training with Cuban chefs and Fraga family members—of course, he was already an accomplished chef whose résumé includes stints at Omni Grove Park Inn.
Start with garbanzo frito, a tasty combo of chickpeas and chorizo. Then dig into the tostones rellenos board, which is great to share with your dining companions—mainly as a strategy to help you save room to eat more menu options (of course you want to taste as much as possible!) and also as a conversation starter. The dish pairs twice-fried plantain cakes with shrimp tomato salsa, pulled hickory and nut gap pork, and heirloom tomatoes—good luck choosing a favorite topping among those three, but debating their merits will make for some interesting discussions! In a head-to-head competition between that pork and the vaca frita pan-fried shredded skirt steak with garlic mojo and onions, nobody at our table could choose a favorite because they were both divine devourables. Don’t miss the black beans and rice. Desserts are heavenly, especially the traditional flan.
In keeping with the way things are done in Asheville, ingredients are sourced locally to the extent possible and and local craft beer is featured on the menu alongside cocktails—including Cuban Daquiris, including a spicy mango pineapple concoction that is so lip-licking yummy that I wish I were drinking one right now (and that’s true whenever you’re reading this).
- Smoke-free hotel
- Free Wi-Fi
- Restaurant and bar on site
- Meeting space
- Fitness center
- On-site parking with valet
- Spa-style bathrooms with Bluetooth mirrors
- Plush bedding
- State-of-the-art fitness center
- Guestrooms equipped with mini-frig, microwave & coffee maker
- Rates from $180/night
- Odds of Encountering Children: Possible, but lower than at most national chain hotels since Asheville in general lures more adult than family travelers…which is just one of the things we love about it.
Cambria Hotel Downtown Asheville
15 Page Avenue
Asheville, NC 28801
— Photo Credits: structure Cambria; food ©HSP Media LLC
Featured products, services and/or travel arrangements may have been complimentary in part or in full; this affords the research opportunity but does not sway opinion.