William Mortensen Vaughan at the Biltmore House, Christmas Day, 2018

As of:  7:10 p.m. E.S.T., Friday, January 4, 2019
My wife (Libertad Green) and I spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, 2018, at the Village Hotel, on the Biltmore Estate, as part of a Biltmore Christmas Vacation package.

Bottom line up front:  It cost about $1,500, but I felt it was worth it; my wife enjoyed our stay, but thinks we should have lodged somewhere cheaper, in Asheville, North Carolina, and visited the Estate during the days we were in town.

We did spend the night of December 23rd at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, for about $80, and that was, we agreed, well worth the price! Review to follow...

The Good:
  1. All of the personnel who attended us in Biltmore Village and at the Biltmore Estate were professional and pleasant.
  2. There were so many beautiful things, two nights and three days were not enough time to see it all!
  3. Thanks to signs and guards, it was easy to find the Village Hotel, even though we'd never been on the Estate before.
  4. The Village Hotel had plenty of self-parking spaces near it!
  5. There were plenty of shuttle buses to get us to and from the Biltmore House and the Deerpark Restaurant.
  6. Our room at the Village Hotel was adorable, comfortable, and sensible!
  7. The snack stand in our room was amazing, with a drawer just for the Keurig coffee maker, and a cabinet for the refrigerator, and shelves and drawers, it seemed, for everything we needed!
  8. Our room was designed for four people, two to a bed, with a wall lamp and large light switch on each side of both beds.
  9. Our window provided a perfect view of the heated, outdoor swimming pool.
  10. A built-in couch and adjacent counter had lots of drawers that opened and closed easily.
  11. A desk tripled as a desk, dining table, and my wife's vanity.
  12. The Village Hotel had a decorative fireplace and staircase, like a home I dreamed about as a child, reading 'Twas the Night Before Christmas in a tiny, single-story hovel.
  13. The lobby of the Village Hotel had a silent television on which Christmas movies with subtitles played constantly; these movies included How the Grinch Stole Christmas, starring Jim Carrey, and Christmas in Connecticut, starring Barbara Stanwyck.
  14. The Village Social, where our breakfasts were included, was on the second floor of the Village Hotel, down the hall from our room, so we could have a meal and/or a drink almost any time we wanted, without needing to go outside.
  15. The Village Hotel kept serving the best hot cider we'd ever had, for free in the lobby!
  16. The Village Hotel served the most delicious sugar cookies I've ever had, free with the hot cider! I kept eating the peppermint flavored ones.
  17. Our dinner Christmas Eve, was served at the Antler Hill Barn, less than half a mile from our hotel.
  18. My wife's Coca-Cola was free at the Deerpark Restaurant.
  19. There was lots of free, live entertainment at the Village Hotel and the Inn, including singers and musicians who played various instruments. My wife was so fond of the banjo playing at the Antler Hill Barn on Christmas Eve, that, when I told her I was ready to leave, she asked me to stay for "just one more song!"
  20. Cedric's Tavern proved to be my favorite place to eat, with its pretzel balls and ploughman's board, which happened to feature bison on the 24th, when we ate there.
  21. There were lots of great places to shop for souvenirs. I bought a Biltmore ceramic mug, coin, and patch. I also bought a Biltmore Christmas book, and I kept the Biltmore corkscrew from our room, which costs $6. My wife talked me out of buying one each of all the Biltmore Christmas Tree Ornaments to go with the "free" one we received at the front desk when we checked into the Village Hoel.
  22. The heated, outdoor swimming pool was warm enough for me and another man to swim in on the 26th, even though the local temperature was 31 degrees Fahrenheit!
The Bad:
  1. Although our breakfasts and dinners, including 20% tips, were prepaid, and hosts checked our tickets against rosters at the Village Social and the Deerpark Restaurant, our waiters still gave us checks, as if we were supposed to pay again before we left.
  2. Although my wife's Coca-Cola was "free" at the Deerpark Restaurant, on Christmas Day, it was overpriced at the Antler Hill Barn on Christmas Eve.
  3. Although both of the steaks we had for breakfast on Christmas Day, at the Village Social, were perfect (well done), my wife's was rare the next day.
  4. Some of the sidewalks led to dead ends.
The Ugly:
  1. The shuttle driver who drove us from the Deerpark Restaurant to the Village Hotel on Christmas Day insisted that we sit down, even though we were in formal attire (I was wearing a tuxedo), and the seats were all occupied, so we sat on the floor, and my wife broke one of her heels off when we arrived and she struggled to stand up.
  2. The price of gasoline in Asheville, was about a dollar more expensive than in any of the other cities we visited in North Carolina, between Danville, Virginia and Asheville.
  3. Numerous bums were pan-handling at intersections near the Goodwill store, Walmart Supercenter, and the Asheville Mall.
Recommendations:
  1. Install handrails on all of the shuttle buses so people can stand safely when all of the seats are taken.
  2. Ensure that there are no dead ends on any of the sidewalks.
  3. Offer vacation packages that include all you can drink - even alcoholic beverages. I know this can be done, because I went to a Hash House Harrier kegger for Spring Break/Bike Week 1996 in Daytona Beach, Florida, and for $60, I received a mug and a hard, plastic, engraved with my name on the spot, with which I was allowed to drink from the kegs 24-7 for three or four days!
  4. Make it so that the pass holders don't need to wait for checks after showing their pass before they're allowed to eat and/or drink.


Peruse a Biltmore Christmas 2018 Photo Album on Facebook or DropBox!

Test your knowledge of this Christmas vacation destination by taking these quizzes:

Quiz 1 of 3

Quiz 2 of 3

Quiz 3 of 3


Jacob Marley on www.ClipArtXtras.com

Melancholy Menu

Melancholy Menu