Tee It Up & Rejuvenate!

A Day of Fun & Relaxation at the Omni Grove Park Inn  

By Charlene & Richard Mixa 

The Omni Grove Park Inn Golf Course

The Omni Grove Park Inn Golf Course

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 has water to carry and uphill fairway

Hole No. 6 has water to carry and uphill fairway

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!

No. 18 is all downhill and uphill!

No. 18 is all downhill and uphill!

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.

Ahi Tuna Salad at Grove Park In Cabana Grill & Bar

Ahi Tuna Salad at Grove Park In Cabana Grill & Bar

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!”

The Spa at the Omni Grove Park Inn - exterior view

The Spa at the Omni Grove Park Inn – exterior view

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.

The Spa at the Omni Grove Park Inn - "Ultimate in Relaxation"

The Spa at the Omni Grove Park Inn – “Ultimate in Relaxation”

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
(828) 252-2711

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About Charlene Mixa

Seeing new places, learning about cultures and seeing the sights has always been my dream. Growing up I was blessed with parents that enjoyed traveling and thought nothing of taking a family of seven on excursions. My career in Human Resources and later as a consultant for an international Human Resource firm offered some travel, but I knew as my husband and I approached retirement, my goal was to do more traveling and broader trips. The nine years since retirement has been filled with fantastic adventures from short local one day trips to several week excursions. Living in Florida, it is especially enjoyable to be away in the summer to cooler climates. Multi-week driving trips across the good ol' USA, settling in for a month in the mountains to explore the local area, or a combination of both fill much of our summer season. Our travels are predominantly self-orchestrated, bringing the fun and challenge of getting everything to click. It's all about doing and sharing! Experiencing a travel adventure is exciting. Reliving a special travel moment with a friend or family is exhilarating. I feel my heart race and pulse quicken, as I sharing that special moment. Thank you for joining in my travel adventures and allowing me to hear your stories.