First Look: Skyline Lodge in Highlands, North Carolina
Take a sneak peek at Western North Carolina’s spunky new boutique hotel
Designed in the 1930s by the architect Arthur J. Kelsey, a longtime student of Frank Lloyd Wright, the Skyline Lodge underwent renovation after renovation throughout the last four decades of the twentieth century. It opens this week in its latest iteration, a renovated boutique hotel that channels an upscale Wes Anderson-summer-camp vibe. It’s the first hotel venture from Indigo Road Hospitality Group, which helms restaurants throughout the South including Coletta in Atlanta and Indaco in Charleston and Charlotte. “Highlands’s lodging options tend to skew either very casual or very luxury, and we saw a need for something in between,” says Indigo Road’s founder Steve Palmer. “We fell in love with Skyline Lodge’s history, its architectural heritage, and the surrounding mountain setting.”
The inn’s designer, Carrie Dessertine of Mey & Co., has worked on projects including Atlanta’s Hotel Clermont and Ford Fry’s restaurants in Nashville, but transforming a nearly century-old building with so many past lives was a unique experience. “It suffered from years of being needled with, but the bones of the hotel give us a lot to play with,” she says. “It’s like reading tea leaves of what the building wants to be.” Dessertine followed those inclinations toward a design that plays up the inn’s natural spunk. “Our jumping off point was the original 1930s building and the second wave of renovations in the 1960s,” Dessertine says. “We let those two styles play alongside each other.” The forty guest rooms’ warm wood paneling, the Oak Steakhouse’s massive stone fireplace and cozy vignettes, and the pops of color throughout create a design that’s both retro and updated, with an eye always looking out to the natural beauty of the Blue Ridge.