A Day of Fun & Relaxation at the Omni Grove Park Inn
By Charlene & Richard Mixa
Choices – teeing it up or pampering oneself? Today we get a wonderful blend of golf on a historic championship course and rejuvenate our spirit at a world-class spa. The Omni Grove Park Inn offers all we desire at one of the American South’s oldest and most famous grand resorts. Visiting for the day we work our way from tee to tee knowing that the Resort’s spa awaits for an afternoon of pampering.
Ah! It’s a beautiful day for golf with a cool mountain breeze and Carolina blue skies on our arrival at the Grove Park Inn Golf Course. Recognized in the past by Golf Digest as “one of the ten best courses in the United States 100 years old or more”, we prepare to tackle this famous course once again. Teeing it up on the No. 1 our minds conjure up positive and negative memories from the past. While the course may appear sublime it will challenge golfers of all levels and is definitely a “contender.”
Accuracy is more important than power on this shot-maker’s course. The front nine initially appears somewhat flat but quickly sneaks in undulating fairways, gentle slopes and difficult greens. Richard is in a groove making some great shots from tee to green. Today, it’s cart path only so we get some exercise on this hilly course. Plus, any ball landing on the bent grass greens definitely leaves a ball mark. As we wind our way around the front nine we find extra challenge with elevated greens, creeks directly in front of greens and drives over waterways to uphill fairways.
Hole No. 6, a par-4, has a hidden lake requiring a drive to carry the water. Ugh, OB is on the right with trees lining the left. A drastically uphill fairway adds to the drama. Richard pulls his drive left, while I luckily land just inside the cart path on the right. Looking directly up at the green with a southern mansion as a backdrop, club selection is a challenge. Luckily we both make it to the green and are pleased with bogeys. The front nine finishes with a fun par-3. A creek runs along the left side and a sloping hillside is on the right of the cart path. Richard lands left of the green, while I hit to the right and get a delightful golfer’s kick off the slope onto the green. Hurrah! An easy par!
The back nine adds more terrain changes and spectacular views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Yep! This is definitely the uphill downhill part of the course. Easy to feel powerful as tee shots soar out and roll down the hill (love that extra roll). Beware the next hole will be all uphill with a green high above the fairway. Fun! Fun! Even if we are not scoring perfectly, it is a great day for golf with beautiful weather and cool mountain breeze. Having left Florida’s 90+ degree weather we will not complain. At No. 17 a par-3, I know accuracy and distance control are crucial from past experience. Finally, I connect with a drive to the green and an easy par. At the tee box for No. 18 we face a huge downhill fairway to a valley that has an approach straight uphill to a large green. The correct way to play the eighteenth hole eluded us previously. Today we both are pleased to overcome this hole making amazing pars.
Now for lunch at the Resort’s Cabana Grill & Bar, a cozy outdoor eatery. The chef is whipping up several new specials. Our favorite is the Ahi Tuna Salad that features fresh tuna and crisp salad greens from local farmers. Topping it off is a cool treat of Chocolate Covered Frozen Banana and Marshmallow with whipped cream and strawberries.
Pampering is a must at The Spa at the Omni Grove Park Inn. After golfing this demanding course, our bodies’ yearn for relaxation, rest and rejuvenation. Our Spa Day Pass allows us to immerse ourselves into 18,000 sq. ft. of amenities in this subterranean spa with its cavernous rock walls. (The Spa is more than 43,000 sq. ft. including their treatment rooms). On our first visit to the Spa, Richard asked, “What can we do for a day in a spa?” Today, he states, “we don’t have enough time!”
An amazing spa with its underground appeal we have choices for relaxation and rejuvenation. We each are greeted and separately toured through the Men’s and Women’s Spa areas. Slipping into my swimsuit and donning the plush robe, I immediately head for the hot tub. Ah, hot water and water jets relax tired muscles. Bravery is necessary to go from the 104 degree hot tub to the 60 degree cold plunge pool. Quickly descending the steps, it is refreshing and COLD! Staying in for a count of 30 seconds, I dunk my head before slowing ascending. Ah! Fantastic! Next is the warmth of the steam room, my favorite. Sipping cool water and placing an iced wash cloth on my forehead, I stretch out to let the steam rejuvenate me. Another cold plunge follows. Each time I get a little braver and stay in longer. In eucalyptus inhalation rooms, I take deep breaths to get these healthy scents into my nasal passages. Still more therapy at the sauna which really brings beads of perspiration. After each therapy, I take the cold plunge. Upstairs, I find some healthy treats and cucumber water where I relax by the fireplace.
Next, I meet Richard in the couple’s area. He won! He has easily stayed in the cold plunge pool a minute each time. We both step into therapeutic waterfalls. Standing under the waterfall the powerful water massages our necks and backs. Hold on to your suit it is a strong flow! More awaits in this cavernous room with its twinkling sky lights as we step in the relaxation pool and then stroll over to the lap pool. Outside chaise lounges providing an inviting respite after a dip in the outdoor hot tub. Looking out over the golf course and views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, we recall the exciting morning of golf. Looking up, we see the charming and historic Grove Park Inn. Our final stop is the Couple’s Lounge with overstuffed leather chairs and fireplace. Hot teas and water are welcome as we relax in this elegant plush room. Our day at the Grove Park Inn ends with a short refreshing nap by a cozy fire. Ahh! A great day of golf and afternoon of relaxation!
If you go: Whether going for a day, a night or longer getaway, the Omni Grove Park Inn will welcome you with its charm and southern hospitality. A unique historical hotel that offers plenty of activities, excellent restaurants, premier accommodations and all close to vibrant Asheville. For our visit we parked at the Golf Course and then took the Shuttle to the Hotel for our Spa visit.
Omni Grove Park Inn, 290 Macon Ave, Asheville, NC 28804