North Carolina adaptive-reuse hotel opens

By Jena Tesse Fox,

The Indigo Road Hospitality Group has opened the Flat Iron Hotel in downtown Asheville, N.C. The property is a boutique adaptive-reuse of one of the city’s first skyscrapers.

The Flat Iron Hotel has 71 guestrooms along with several food and beverage outlets including: Luminosa, an “Appalachia meets Italian” eatery; a rooftop bar; and a speakeasy cocktail lounge, The Red Ribbon Society. The hotel also has private event capabilities, a conference room, and a co-working space available to both locals and guests.

“This hotel has been many years in the making, and I couldn’t be more grateful to the teams who brought the historic Flat Iron landmark to life again, right in the heart of this extraordinary mountain town,” Steve Palmer, founder and chief vision officer of the Indigo Road Hospitality Group, said in a statement. “The Flat Iron Hotel shines a light on the vibrancy and creativity of Asheville’s culture through regionally driven dining, regular community programming, and best-in class amenities, as well as the historic preservation of the building itself, reflected in the restored original design features and thoughtful Art Deco touches.”

Historic Style

Constructed in 1926, The Flat Iron Building was one of Asheville’s first skyscrapers. The building was designed with Beaux Arts motifs and housed Asheville’s first radio station, WWNC, which broadcast from the eighth floor. Today, the building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

To honor the building’s past, the hotel includes the Flat Iron Folks exhibit, a historical preservation project created to share and amplify the stories of the tenants and businesses that were once in the building. The exhibit, which covers the entirety of the property, includes hand-painted window signage and biographical sketches for the former residents, including detectives, doctors, tailors and Jimmie Rodgers, known as “The Father of Country Music.”

Food and Beverage

Adjacent to the Art Deco-infused lobby, Luminosa is an Italian-inspired restaurant serving Appalachian cuisine, utilizing ingredients and produce from nearby farms and purveyors. Led by Asheville locals Executive Chef Graham House and Chef de Cuisine Sean McMullen, the focal point of Luminosa’s kitchen is a wood-burning oven and grill.

Paying homage to the city’s brewery scene, the beverage menu includes an exclusive collaboration beer, the Flat Iron Italian Pilsner, with neighborhood brewery Wedge Brewing Company.

The rooftop bar has views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and will serve a limited selection of Italian-influenced small bites alongside signature cocktails. Red Ribbon Society is the hotel’s exclusive speakeasy cocktail bar in the basement level.

Other on-site amenities and programming include a cafe, a co-working space with podcast recording capabilities and meeting and event spaces.

The project was a collaborative effort between interior architecture and design firm Mey & Co. and local architecture firm Rowhouse Architects. Many of the design elements are true to the Flat Iron building’s original spirit, including the doors and preserved transom windows and classic prewar bathrooms, which are paired with custom furniture and hand-drawn wallcoverings.