Did you know that there’s a dreamy LGBTQ+ destination in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains? This is Asheville, the ‘gayest city in North Carolina.’ Now, Western North Carolina is quite conservative, but the progressive Asheville is an LGBTQ oasis and packs a lot of punch for its small size. The LGBTQ+ set is well integrated into the populace that there’s no “gayborhood” per se in the town! That being said, West Asheville, especially Haywood Road, is becoming something of a gay hotspot with gay-friendly restaurants, bars, and businesses. Add to that the many gay friendly hotels in Asheville NC, a lush mountain setting, \rich arts, beer, and culinary scene, tattooed hipsters of all gender identities, and a famously progressive mindset, and you get the fantastic destination that Asheville is.
Besides being amazingly gay-friendly, Asheville’s location makes it one of the USA’s best mountain cities. If that wasn’t enough, it also happens to be one of the best US winter vacation spots. That, and a walkable downtown, hiking opportunities galore, a glorious food scene, and lots of pretty sights make it one of the most well-rounded gay destinations in North Carolina. To that end, here are the 11 best gay friendly hotels in Asheville, NC.
Table of contents
- 1889 White Gate Inn & Cottage
- Kimpton Hotel Arras
- Renaissance Asheville Hotel
- The Reynolds Mansion
- DoubleTree by Hilton Asheville Downtown
- Cedar Crest Inn
- The Lion and the Rose Bed and Breakfast
- Beaufort House Inn
- Haywood Park Hotel
- The Foundry Hotel Asheville
- Hilton Garden Inn Asheville Downtown
- Best Gay Neighborhoods in Asheville
- Best Gay Bars / Clubs in Asheville
- Best Gay Saunas in Asheville
- Best Gay Events/Shows/Tours in Asheville
1889 White Gate Inn & Cottage
The romantic 1889 White Gate Inn and Cottage is one of the loveliest gay friendly hotels in Asheville, NC. This 11-room AAA Four-Diamond inn is tucked in a verdant corner of downtown and sits on the prestigious National Register of Historic Places. The attention to detail will impress even the most discerning of travelers, right from the lushly landscaped gardens with a koi pond to the solarium’s classic white wicker chaises. Interestingly, the rooms and suites are spread across the inn, the carriage house, and the bungalow. Moreover, they’re named after famous wits and poets – think Dorothy Parker, Emily Dickinson, and Oscar Wilde. Each room has antique furnishings, cozy sitting areas, and plush king/queen beds. For an extraordinary holiday, go for the suites with stone fireplaces, private rocking chair porches, and even two-person Jacuzzi tubs.
Begin your day with a lavish three-course breakfast with fresh fruits, egg dishes, coffee, tea, and juices. After a day of exploring, don’t miss the hors d’oeuvres and wine social hour that allows you to mingle with other guests. The best bit is that Asheville’s gay scene is a 20-minute walk.
Kimpton Hotel Arras
The famously LGBTQ-friendly Kimpton brand has an outpost in Asheville in the form of the towering 128-room Kimpton Hotel Arras. It boasts one of the most buzzing and desirable locations in town, located smack dab in the heart of downtown’s Pack Square. A visually striking metal-and-stone Art-Deco exterior welcomes you within the hotel, which was a BB&T Bank building earlier. You’ll love the elegant and comfy rooms with pleasing white stonework accenting the gray palette. The views are particularly stunning, with the mountains in the distance. Besides breakfast, do dig into other meals at the main restaurant, Bargello, which serves Mediterranean-inspired fare. And, do leave some space for the decadent and aphrodisiacal brownie sundae dessert! Wrap up your day with a nightcap at the outdoor patio of the District 42 cocktail lounge.
Renaissance Asheville Hotel
The Renaissance Asheville Hotel is one of the chicest and largest gay friendly hotels in Asheville, NC. One of the top draws of the hotel is its fabulous downtown location, which is just a 10-minute walk from the gay clubs of Scandals and O.Henry’s. What’s more, it boasts some great city and mountain views, especially from the floor-to-ceiling windows from the rooms. All rooms and suites here are impressive and come with cloud-like beds, flatscreen TVs, and sitting areas, but the marble bathrooms with the chic vanities and bathtubs are the highlight.
Besides room service, the hotel boasts one of the most gorgeous and expansive indoor swimming pool areas in the town. After a swim, you can enjoy a lounge on the sun chairs poolside while enjoying views from the huge window wall. If that wasn’t enough, you have the options of two restaurants for meals, namely the Lobby Lounge, which also serves cocktails, and the Writer’s Bistro that serves delicious farm-to-table cuisine.
The Reynolds Mansion
The beautifully appointed Reynolds Mansion: is easily the best bed and breakfast in Asheville. It also has a rather storied history and was once the home of the (in)famous Hope Diamond. What’s more, this iconic Asheville landmark is also an 1847-built pre-Civil War home and sits on the National Registry for Historic Places. Begin your day with a coffee on one of the many massive porches, followed by a delectable gourmet breakfast in the grand dining room. Choose from 13 rooms, the carriage house, and the cottages, all of which come with claw-foot bathtubs or jacuzzis for long and romantic soaks with your partner. You’ll also find LCD TVs, fireplaces, and private baths in all of them. The rest of the mansion is impressive and boasts spectacular lush gardens and phenomenal views.
DoubleTree by Hilton Asheville Downtown
The DoubleTree by Hilton Asheville Downtown is one of the most conveniently located gay friendly hotels in Asheville, NC. This hotel is perfect for gay travelers who want to explore the town by day and the gay nightlife later. That’s because it’s just a couple of blocks down from the gay bar O.Henry’s and a little farther than that from Scandals as well. Despite that, the hotel’s area is a quieter part of downtown, which means that you can have your fill of zzzs as well. For the best views in the house, go for a corner room with downtown views.
But, if you want to indulge a bit, the suites with city or mountain views are truly decadent. And of course, all rooms come with freshly-baked (and complimentary, might we add) chocolate chip cookies. Breakfast is a grab-and-go affair, but it has an entire range of hot and cold items. Finally, a fabulous bar and restaurant complete the amenities here.
Cedar Crest Inn
Cedar Crest Inn looks like it’s straight out of a modern Disney fairytale. The 1891-built bed and breakfast sits in a Queen Anne mansion with a bubblegum-pink exterior and has a storied past. It’s been everything from a socialite mansion and a sanitarium to a boarding house before finally becoming what it is today. Choose from a host of opulent rooms spread across the main house, a 1960s-built carriage house, and two 1920s-built cottages. On the inside, the place is full of Victorian decor, period antiques, and lavish interior woodwork. Choose 14 rooms and suites, all of which come with exquisite bathrooms. Of them, six have fireplaces, and two have Jacuzzis. A full gourmet breakfast awaits you to begin your day on a high note. What’s more, the hosts also offer afternoon and evening beverages as well as delicious desserts post-dinner. What more could you want?
The Lion and the Rose Bed and Breakfast
The Lion and the Rose Bed and Breakfast is one of the loveliest gay friendly hotels in Asheville, NC. The bed-and-breakfast sits at the top of a lush, sloping garden and is painted a pale-pink rose, much like the Cedar Crest Inn. Every corner of the 1898-built Georgian/Queen Anne-style residence is gorgeous, right from the golden tiger oak staircase and foyer to the original stained glass windows. You’re plied with your personal jar of moonshine and stash of gingerbread cookies before being led to the stunning rooms. For gay couples, we’d highly recommend the gorgeous Craig-Toms Suite, which has a reading nook with a fireplace, a separate dressing room, and a private outdoor patio. Your days are all about delicious and decadent à la carte/American breakfast spreads, cycling and hiking all day long and relaxing with a glass of wine on the sun-kissed terrace.
Beaufort House Inn
How would you like to stay in a place once the home of famed actor Charlton Heston? That’s what we thought! Welcome to the Beaufort House Inn, an 1894-built Victorian mansion that lies a hop, skip and jump from Asheville downtown. Your days at this stately yet laidback hotel begin with not a one but a two-course freshly-prepared gourmet breakfast. Evenings are reserved for wine tasting and soaking in the gorgeous garden setting, complete with fountains. On the inside, the inn effusively melds old-world charm with modern luxuries. Choose from 11 rooms, each of which comes with luxury beds, fresh flowers, fireplaces, and two-person Jacuzzis for a romantic and intimate stay. While you’re staying here, you also have access to a stunning wraparound porch, a DVD library, and free Wi-Fi.
Haywood Park Hotel
LGBTQ+ travelers who want to stay right in the heart of the town will love Haywood Park Hotel, one of the best-located gay friendly hotels in Asheville, NC. The location is this all-suites hotel’s biggest draw, as it’s within walking distance of Asheville downtown and its gay scene. The lilting tunes of piano music welcome you within the lobby. Choose from a host of suites, oversized with flatscreen TVs, massive Spanish marble bathrooms, and even living rooms and kitchens. So, this place is perfect for a large group who’s coming into town to celebrate Asheville Pride or Mardi Gras. Besides complimentary Wi-Fi, you’re also treated to champagne at check-in, indulgent turndown service every night, and have access to a well-equipped fitness center too.
The Foundry Hotel Asheville
The Foundry Hotel is one of Asheville’s newest hotels. This boutique Hilton property might be part of a chain, but with just 87 rooms and suites, it feels like a large bed and breakfast with a ton of perks rather than a hotel! This is partly due to its interesting setup across connected buildings around a courtyard. What’s more, the property was earlier a former steel warehouse and foundry, so the exposed brick and reclaimed wood flooring make for an intriguing throwback. When you arrive, complimentary champagne awaits you.
After a ride in the original elevator, you head into your room, which features a gorgeous exposed brick wall. Cozy seating areas next to huge floor-to-ceiling windows, plush beds, desks, and modern bathrooms make your stay very comfortable. Downstairs, you’ll find the lobby bar and restaurant, which serves delicious cocktails and inventive spins on dishes. Finally, there’s even a Tesla shuttle to take you to attractions nearby.
Hilton Garden Inn Asheville Downtown
Hilton Garden Inn Asheville Downtown is not just one of the best gay friendly hotels in Asheville, NC, but it’s also amongst its top pet-friendly hotels! The downtown location is perfect for gay travelers visiting Asheville for the first time and wanting the town’s complete experience. For one, it’s home to Asheville’s only rooftop bar that serves “garden-to-glass” cocktails. Secondly, it even has a gallery featuring local artists close to the city’s gay scene. And when it’s time to satiate the hunger pangs, the farm-to-table Iron Hen Cafe doesn’t disappoint in the least. While all rooms and suites at this hotel are incredible, choose the corner king rooms or the supremely comfortable “Mountain View” bedrooms for a memorable Asheville holiday.
Best Gay Neighborhoods in Asheville
As we mentioned earlier, Asheville doesn’t have a gay neighborhood or a district per se. Instead, you’ll find a town that’s brimming with a vibrant gay culture that’s part of the town’s culture itself. That being said, West Asheville is slowly but steadily transforming into a queer hotspot for new gay-owned and friendly foodie spots and businesses. Most of them lie along or near Haywood Road, which also has a massive Dolly Parton and RuPaul mural that’s a great selfie spot.
The gay-owned Asheville Rooftop Bar Tours is a great place to begin your bar crawl of Asheville. Also, don’t miss visiting the famed honey bar of Asheville Bee Charmer. It features a superb selection of international and locally sourced honey, which you can also sample. Finally, there’s also the LGBTQ-owned Malaprop’s Bookstore, which celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2022.
Best Gay Bars / Clubs in Asheville
- O.Henry’s: The 55-year-old O. Henry’s is one of North Carolina’s oldest gay bars! This amazing place is primarily known for the industrial dance bar “The Underground,” which hosts a Friday night dance party called ” Total Gold Dance Your Ass Off.” Moreover, it also has a growing drag show scene and boasts a relaxed atmosphere.
- Scandals: This legendary three-floor late-night gay club is one of the best places to go dancing in Western North Carolina. Scandals is famed for excellent music and a state-of-the-art lighting and sound system. Don’t miss their midnight drag show.
Best Gay Saunas in Asheville
Asheville might not have a gay sauna, but it doesn’t need one, thanks to the Old Edwards Inn and Spa Resort. This mountain getaway is one of the most charming gay friendly hotels in Asheville, NC. The Highlands hotel boasts a 25,000-square-foot-huge award-winning and pampering spa, which is very gay-friendly.
Best Gay Events/Shows/Tours in Asheville
- Blue Ridge Pride Festival: Every fall, Asheville’s LGBTQ+ community takes to the streets and celebrates the rich diversity Asheville offers. This weekend pride parade is all about parties, pageants, and a street festival as one of the best places in the world to celebrate pride.
- Asheville Mardi Gras: This glittery, beads-filled and pretty queer celebration and Fat Tuesday parade is a family-friendly celebration, complete with dancers and brass bands.