CHARLESTON, SC — OCTOBER 21, 2020 — The Indigo Road Hospitality Group has added The Skyline Lodge in Highlands, NC to its growing portfolio of F&B-driven boutique hotels. Robert Nass, who owned and operated the historic property for nearly three decades, sold it to The Indigo Road for an undisclosed amount. The Indigo Road acquired The Skyline Lodge on September 25, 2020 and will completely renovate the entire property, including the addition of Oak Steakhouse, The Indigo Road’s modern take on the classic American steakhouse. The renovations should be completed by the end of April, with a mid-May reopening of the hotel.
“My business partner, Larry Spelts, and I could not be more excited to be involved in the world-class destination that the Highlands and Cashiers area has become,” said Steve Palmer, The Indigo Road’s founder and managing partner. “I am a native Georgian and Larry is a South Carolinian, and we both have enjoyed the Highland-Cashiers area our entire lives — we are thrilled to get involved in the plateau’s continuing evolution as a premier destination.”
Located just three miles from Highlands, NC, the 47-room property, is situated on top of Flat Top Mountain, which reaches an elevation of nearly 5,000 feet. The natural beauty of the Nantahala National Forest, the largest of North Carolina’s North Carolina’s four National Forests, is a short hike or drive from the property’s main entrance. The lodge’s location is ideally situated within a short drive from multiple substantial feeder markets, such as Atlanta; Asheville; Charlotte; Greenville SC; Columbia, SC; Knoxville, TN; and Chattanooga, TN. This contributed to the Highlands hotel market enjoying a record-breaking summer during the ongoing pandemic.
“My business partner, Larry Spelts, and I could not be more excited to be involved in the world-class destination that the Highlands and Cashiers area has become”
The Skyline Lodge’s immediate surroundings has plenty to offer guests looking to practice physical or social distancing by exploring nature and completely immersing themselves in outdoor activities during their stay. There’s mountain climbing, hiking, fly fishing, bird watching, biking, canoeing and river rafting. The Highlands, just a two-hour drive north of Atlanta, is also known for its breathtaking waterfalls — including Bridal Veil Falls, Cullasaja Falls, and Dry Falls — and rich collection of plants and flowers, and healthy wildlife populations.
“The pastoral mountain setting just outside of downtown Highlands combined with a freshly renovated facility will make for a wonderful complement to the other lovely properties in Highlands proper and the surrounding area,” said Larry Spelts, president of Lodging and Lifestyle Adventures for The Indigo Road. “Local experiences, curated by our management team, will be a hallmark of the new Skyline experience.”
The Skyline Lodge’s original structure was designed by Arthur Kelsey, a former student of the renowned American architect Frank Lloyd Wright in the 1920s, and partially constructed in 1929 by renowned local builder Jack Wilcox. The project, a vision of Howard Randall’s, was halted because of the economic instability during the 1930s, and eventually resurrected by a new developer and a student of the original architect in the 1960s. Over the years, numerous additions were made to the property, including a Redwood interior, stone fireplaces, paved road, and a restaurant.
“It’s an amazing property to reimagine,” said Carrie Dessertine of Mey & Co, the interior designer for the project. “The building has great bones, and we are excited to bring a fresh aesthetic to The Skyline Lodge by drawing from the original era of the property for inspiration but also incorporating a playful redesign to update the property and the experience. The rooms will retain their original coziness and direct connection to the surrounding beauty while affording guests an experience of the curated, organic finishes and thoughtful modern furnishings of a boutique property.”
“We are fortunate to have an energetic and enthusiastic general manager in Jason Dauble who in July of this year relocated to the plateau together with his wife, Michele Dauble, who is the director of sales for the Skyline,” Spelts said. “They have been busily developing local relationships and innovative concepts for locally guided experiences for the future Skyline guests.”
“Perhaps the most exciting addition to the Skyline Lodge will be the introduction of our much beloved Oak Steakhouse concept to the plateau as the Skyline Lodge’s new restaurant concept,” according to Palmer, a three-time James Beard Award semi-finalist. “In addition to our trademark core menu offerings that have made Oak Steakhouses very popular with diners, each Oak has its own locally influenced menu items that make each one unique and specifically appropriate to its respective locale.”
The Indigo Road Hospitality Group
Founded in 2009 by Steve Palmer, The Indigo Road marked its 10th anniversary by being named a Forbes Small Giant and appearing on the Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Companies list. The Indigo Road currently has 24 restaurants and in 2020 announced that hotelier Larry Spelts joined The Indigo Road as a partner and president of its new venture into lodging with a focus on food & beverage driven boutique hotels. They currently have four hotel development projects. The Indigo Road’s dedication to excellence in food & beverage has been recognized the past three consecutive years (’18,’19, & ’20) by Palmer being named a semi-finalist by the James Beard Foundation’s award for Outstanding Restaurateur-US.