Hotel Indigo, Asheville NC
Another review of an Asheville hotel, and I’m beginning to think I’m the area’s fussiest visitor. Over 1,000 reviews and a near perfect 4.5 rating?
Are the other reviewers high? As a long-time resident of North Carolina let me assure you that the state has NOT legalized marijuana but you wouldn’t know it by the other reviews.
First let me state that I am not a well-heeled traveler. I am more Lonely Planet than Michelin, and have slept in some unique places like on the deck of a steamer on Lake Tanganyika and a foreigner’s flop-house in Seoul. While I may watch Downton Abbey I do not demand to be treated as if I lived in it. All I require is a clean island of calm at an affordable price. But the more I pay the more I expect and that’s where things go off the rails at Indigo.
First off let’s dispense with the pleasantries. Hotel Indigo is a very clean hotel that is centrally located in downtown Asheville. It is within walking distance of restaurants, shops and nightlife that make Asheville one of the South’s treasures. Its staff was courteous, helpful and friendly – and rates 5 stars on its own. Unlike the Megacorp Grove Park Inn parking is included in the hotel price, and if “weird Asheville” or the downtown business district is why you are there, you won’t have to deal with the roving packs of metermaids waiting to sprinkle your car with parking tickets. The hotel is very well maintained and it is one of the cleanest hotels I’ve stayed in.
So to summarize:
Pros: Location, Staff, Parking, Clean
Now let’s sharpen our claws and tear into this hotel. First off this hotel is often referred to as “chic”. To a person under 30 this may sound cool. Anyone over that age knows that what’s “chic” has a half-life measured in milliseconds. To put it bluntly the decor of this hotel is horrendous. I haven’t seen that much avocado green since my mother redecorated her home in 1973. All that was missing was harvest gold – likely a planned upgrade for 2016. I suppose the stretched blue spandex on the ceiling and the multicolored carpet in the hallways looks great when one is “tripping balls” but it just gave me a headache. A half-wall in our room was covered with a photograph made into wallpaper. At first I thought it was a forest canopy, then it became a head of broccoli. By the end of my stay I believe it was a close up of a piece of moss-covered wood, but mmmm broccoli – steamed covered with cheese sauce. I guess you have to be high to appreciate it – but don’t forget that marijuana is still illegal in North Carolina and smoking is also banned in the hotel. As are firearms, the hotel conspicuously displaying the “Victims Inside” signs at all entrances, and one must sign swearing to abide by the ban at check-in. I suppose prayer will be banned in 2016, and free speech soon after, followed by the rest of the Bill of Rights. Who are the owners of this hotel? The Chinese?
Victim Signs Posted at Hotel Indigo Entrances
Being centrally located is a double-edged sword (not banned at Hotel Indigo), but decent hotels know how to keep the sound at bay through heavy drapes, double-paned windows, and sound-deadening walls. We stayed on the side away from the highway, but it was quiet obvious when the city was waking up. Whatever the secret is for soundproofing, Hotel indigo doesn’t know it. I’m just glad Luck kept us away from the highway side since The Wife hates light and I hate sound so we both had restless nights in the room; I’m sure it would have been much worse by the highway.
The room was small, a feeling made worse by the large picture of broccoli on the corner wall and it lacked a refrigerator. Now this may not be a deal breaker for some, but for those like the Wife who travel to one of the craft beer capitals of the country, one needs a place to chill one’s Green Man or Highlander. Evidently the management believes fridges in rooms would harm their carbon footprints, forcing their guests to hurt their tastebuds by drinking warm stouts and craft ales.
Let’s get something straight. If you worry about global warming you shouldn’t stay in a hotel unless you walk or bicycle to your destination. Flying is up there with setting Smokey the Bear on fire when it comes to CO2 emissions. If you worry about such then stay home.
Which leads to the worst aspect of the stay: value. You can do much better at other hotels in the area. The Renaissance costs the same and has a bigger room, with walls that won’t give you the veggie munchies. It’s also centrally located and has no problem keeping the city sounds at bay. By the time you spend money on the upgrades at Indigo you could stay at the Haywood Park which has an even better location for business/weird Asheville, plus the amenities and luxury one expects for the price.
If you REALLY want a view, you shouldn’t be staying in downtown Asheville at all. The city is surrounded by mountains and you can do much better with hotels located on those. Even the cheap ones have better views than the most expensive downtown hotels.
Cons: Décor, Gun Control, Soundproofing/Lighting, Amenities, Fake Environmentalism (aka Greenwashing), Value
Do NOT book on the highway side of the hotel unless the sound of traffic lulls you to sleep. Also the higher up the better. For couples looking for a “romantic getaway”, avoid everything but the penthouses. Your ‘significant others’ will not be happy (as mine wasn’t).
If I want to camp, I’ll stay in a tent for free. If I’m paying $200 a night I expect a fridge in the room, lights that don’t make everyone look like Kermit the Frog, and hot water that arrives when I want it instead of next Tuesday.