Where to stay, shop and dine
By Christy Evers
Here’s what you need to know if you’re looking to stay at Cambria, downtown Asheville.
Cambria has a great location if you want to be in the heart of downtown Asheville activity.
Before we go into the hotel let’s check out what’s in the surrounding area.
Down the road a few blocks is the Pinball Museum where you can play unlimited games for a small fee. It’s great way to spend part of your day if you have kids or are a retro gaming enthusiast.
It’s not hard to to find a variety of shopping and dining options just a hop, step & holler outside the hotel lobby.
Directly across the street is the Grove Arcade, a popular hang out for both locals and tourists. The Grove Arcade is a historic architectural landmark combining a mix of shops and restaurants that reflect Asheville’s quaint but quirky characteristics while paying respect to the buildings history.
One thing I really love about the Grove Arcade is the Makers Market. When the season and weather is agreeable there’s an outdoor bazaar with dozens of stalls filled by local artisans selling their crafts. You’ll find handmade jewelry, paintings, clothing, soap, and musical instruments, local honey and farm products, and all kinds of fun and creative handmade goods. The Makers Market is the perfect place to dive into local culture and take in the charm of Downtown Asheville.
If you’re looking to enjoy Asheville like a local, and you’re here on a Friday night you can walk a few blocks over to Pritchard Park, where locals gather for a drum circle when the weather is nice.
Some of my favorite nearby places to grab a bite that you may want to check out for your self are Babette’s, a New Orleans style coffee shop in the Grove Arcade that specializes in savory and sweet sandwiches made from beignets.
Also in the Grove arcade I adore The battery Park Book exchange, a used book store and champagne bar. Here you can grab bite to eat or sip on a wine or champagne and enjoy dishes with cleverly themed names . Some of my favorites . . . “The Secret Life of Cheese” and “The Hummus Games. I love that! So funny. Bonus! They do offer dairy free, vegan and gluten free options.
Meander through the maze of 3 story book shelves as you sip a glass. Enjoy people watching on the outdoor patio right next to the Makers market. When you’re done they bring the receipt in a book, mine was in a Dr. Suess Cat in the Hat book. I’m in love. People who have been here before have signed it, so I did to. My glorious time spent with bubbly, books and bites is now forever commemorated in a children’s classic.
A couple blocks down the street in the opposite direction from the Grove Arcade, is Isa’s French Bistro, the sister restaurant of Cambria’s onsite dining venue, Hemingways. It has a lovely ambiance with the choice of indoor or dog-friendly outdoor seating. I highly recommend their mouthwatering steak and fries.
No matter how you arrive, rental car, uber/lyft or walking, you’ll enter Cambria on the lower level parking garage directly across the street from the Grove Arcade on Page Ave. This where you’ll find the guest entrance as well as the entrance for the parking garage. Parking is Valet only and is currently $17 per night with no option for self parking on property.
As you enter the lobby there’s a chic, minimalistic but cozy vibe that reflects the hip, modern feel of the city and combines it with the relics of time past to honor the original purpose of the building. Even though we’re on parking garage level the big open windows give it a bright and open feel.
The lobby has a small sundry shop with a microwave, snacks and beverages. This is also where you can find an ATM machine and front desk. This is also where they greet you with a smile and chilled champagne reception upon check in. Nice touch Cambria! I give you extra points for welcome glass of champagne.
The work out room has the basic cardio and weight equipment and is adequate for the size of the hotel.
Hemingway’s Cuban Restaurant and bar is the crowning glory of Cambria Downtown Asheville. The mountain and sunset views are one of the best in the Downtown area The Owner, being of Cuban descent, insures that the authentic Cuban menu is one of the few and best in the area.
Palm trees, distant mountains, an air of light hearted laughter mingled with a southern breeze. . . the magic of the open aired patio transports you into Cuba itself!
Even if you don’t stay at Cambria as a guest, you’re still welcome to dine in the restaurant or enjoy the bar and terrace even when the restaurant isn’t open. You’ll find Hemingway’s on the 4th floor. Current hours are typically 7AM-2:00 for breakfast and lunch and 4:30PM-10 for dinner. If you’re a sunset chaser, this is one spot you’ll want to add to your list. It’s best to have a reservation. Click here to reserve your table.
The space at Hemigway’s is also possible to rent for special occasions and conferences.
That leads us to our formal conference space. Cambria has 10 different conference venues with a capacity of 300 people and 136 rooms with 3 suites. They have partitions that can be added or removed to create space specific to your needs.
Check out the video to see room tours of 3 different categories; 2 Queen room, a corner king room and an accessible king room.
Here are some important things to note about their rooms:
- All rooms have a view
- King rooms have a walk in shower only
- 2 Queen rooms have a tub/shower combo
- Not all accessible rooms have a roll in shower. Some do, some have the tub/shower combo.
Now that we’ve looked in and around Cambria it’s time to rate it on my Happy Scale that goes from meh, sad, happy, happier and happiest. What rating does Cambria get on my scale?
I give them 4 happy faces, which is the Happier rating.
Let’s talk about the pros and cons of the property so you can see what I loved and the few cons that kept them from getting 5 happy faces, the Happiest rating.
Let’s start with the pros. You can’t beat the location. There’s so many shopping, dining and activity opportunities right outside Cambria’s doorstep. This hotel has special details giving it character and ties into the feel and history of the city. You certainly don’t get a feel that you’re in a canned, cookie cutter hotel when you’re in Cambria.
The champagne reception at check in is a really nice touch. I’m also impressed with the quality and size of their conference and meeting space.
While Cambria isn’t cheap, it’s standard in pricing as compared to other hotels in the same category in the downtown area. With the boutique feel and extra special touches, I think it’s a good value for the price.
I love Hemingway’s rooftop restaurant and bar as it has one of the best views of the mountains, city and sunset in the downtown area and is one of the few restaurants in the area where you can get authentic Cuban food.
Now onto the cons:
The first con is that the only onsite parking option is Valet at $17 per night. If you’re looking to save a few bucks by self parking it’s not going to happen in the hotel parking garage.
Next is that not all accessible rooms have a roll in shower. If it’s a necessity for you, it’s important to be proactive and make sure your room has the type of showering option that you need if available.
The 3rd con is that while I love Hemigway’s Cuban cuisine, there isn’t a wide variety of onsite dining if you have a large group or picky eaters in your party. There is a small selection of mac n cheese, chicken fingers and a burger and other things on the kids menu, but other than that, if you need a menu with a wider variety of options, you’ll have to go off property to find it. Thankfully because of the location you won’t have to go far to find something.
Lastly, is that dogs are not allowed outside of the approved service animals. Asheville is known as dog city USA. Being one of the friendliest dog cities in the US, and the only city to have a Doggie Welcome Center that is just a few blocks down the street, I find it unfortunate that our canine friends aren’t welcome there.
That’s really all I have for the cons. None of them are huge and certainly not anything that would be a deal breaker for me. I will definitely come back for a stay.
This hotel is great for those who want to be in the heart of the city, love a hip and trendy vibe or those who need conference or social gathering space for 300 people or less.
This is not a good place for those traveling with pets (unless it’s a service dog) or looking to host a larger conference or gathering of more than 300 people. It may also not be the right place if you’re looking for the cheapest place to stay in the city.
That being said, even if you’re traveling on a budget, Cambria is a Choice hotels property, so if you’re a choice rewards member you can book this property with your points or you can rack up points with your rewards program with your stay.
They also offer some package bundles to help you save some money such as a bed and breakfast package, park and stay package and romance package. They also offer Military and Veteran discount rates and AAA discount rates too.
I have a pro tip for you. If you’re flexible with your dates, you can go to this Expedia site and you can pull up a calendar that shows you the fluctuation of rates for each day. You’ll be able to see exactly what days are cheaper and and which ones are more expensive. You’ll find that some of the days can get up to 40-50% cheaper than their most expensive days.
So there you have it! Cambria Downtown Asheville? What do you think? Is this the type of place you’d like to stay? What was your favorite aspect of this property. I’d love to know! Tell me in the comments.
Thank you so much for joining in! I appreciate you.
#Asheville #AshevilleNC, #Cambria #Hemingway’sCuba