On the southwestern plateau of North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, Old Edwards Inn and Spa is a mountain retreat that is woven into the community and culture of downtown Highlands, North Carolina. It’s symbiotic with the town in many ways including incorporating local music and informing our restaurant menus with organic ingredients grown at our local farms. What started as Highlands first boarding house in 1878, called Central House, Old Edwards now cascades along several hillside blocks with heated pools, jacuzzis, bars, restaurants and other amenities that are surrounded by guest rooms, suites and cottages.
Old Edwards is a family-owned company, and those values resonate throughout our culture. We have funds set up for employees that are going through difficult situations, and we have programs in place to facilitate their wellness and quality of life. All this ultimately creates an experience for our guests that makes them feel like family as well, and we have a long list of loyal guests who return to Old Edwards often to regroup and re-center when they feel the need for comfort and rejuvenation among people who care about them.
We want them to get swept away in moments of the simple things that just arose spontaneously because they are in an environment that is created around their needs, so they can just relax into it, be themselves and let things evolve. We constantly monitor their visit and mood and try to customize their experience around that. We want them to feel like they can just melt their cares away around the pool while being catered to or let us curate an outdoor adventure—whatever it is that gets to the heart of why they are here. We want them to remember the feeling of an environment where everyone is here to see to their happiness, so they can shed their personas and be themselves with no pressures or expectations. That’s the effect of these mountains, and it’s what we embody at Old Edwards.
Highlands is described as having a juxtaposition of sophisticated experiences in terms of food, shopping, social scene, activities and lifestyle against the disarming backdrop of ancient mountains and national forest. We want guests to feel the experience of that in whatever way is personal to them. There’s a connection to the land and the surrounding mountains that can be enjoyed just sitting at a table in the wine garden listening to local music and tasting the terroir, teeing up on the panoramic 10th hole at Old Edwards Club, taking in the Rainforest Rejuvenation experience at the spa, or venturing out to cascading waterfalls and trails that lead to awe-inspiring views. So much of the lifestyle that we enjoy here, and that our guests come to us for, is the sense of beauty, peace and the energy that emanates from our mountaintop paradise. Old Edwards embodies all of that through the experiences and culture that we cultivate here.