The Swag, NC: A Foodie and Hiker’s Paradise

You actually don’t need to be a foodie or a hiker to fall in love with The Swag. And if you’re neither, you may be both when you leave!

What is The Swag, NC?

Conde Nast named The Swag, NC, the #1 Top Resort in the South in 2019, and I think you’ll agree! The Swag offers the amenities of a luxury hotel, stunning views, access to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, miles of hiking trails, and delectable meals from its award-winning restaurant.

Where Is The Swag Resort?

The Swag resort is located just outside the town of Waynesville, North Carolina, 2300 Swag Road, Waynesville, NC 28785, to be exact.

The 250-acre retreat lies just 40 miles west of the popular foodie city, Asheville, NC. The proximity of the two destinations have some calling The Swag an Asheville resort. Just know it will take about an hour to drive to Asheville. You can stay closer to Asheville if that’s your goal, but none of the Asheville, NC, resorts are quite like The Swag. The difference? No other North Carolina resort is perched on a mountain top at 5,000 feet! And, yes, that means The Swag’s views cannot be beat!

The solution? Since we still wanted to explore the food and other offerings of Asheville too, we stayed in the city for 2 nights after visiting The Swag.

View of the Great Smoky Mountains from our balcony at The Swag, NC

View of the Great Smoky Mountains from our balcony at The Swag, NC

The Swag Rooms

Every room at this Waynesville resort exudes rustic luxury, and each is different. We stayed in the main house in Deener’s Room (formerly the Salmon Room), named after one of the original owners.

Our cozy room included a refrigerator stocked with snacks, a wet bar, a large bay window, a huge bathroom with fancy toiletries, and the best part—a private balcony with amazing Great Smoky Mountain views. What a treat to sit and relax with those mountain views!

You can select the exact room you want when making your reservation. Some of the rooms have steam showers, saunas, soaking tubs, and romantic fireplaces. Speaking of romance, the ambiance here makes it one of the most romantic resorts in the south. It’s the perfect place for a honeymoon, engagement, or anniversary!

Deener’s room (formerly the Salmon Room) at The Swag resort

Deener’s room (formerly the Salmon Room) at The Swag resort

The Swag Resort Pricing

How much does it cost to stay at The Swag? Well, that depends, on the room and the day of the week. And as a Relais and Chateaux property, it is no surprise that this luxury hotel is not cheap, but considering everything that’s included, and The Swag menu, it is definitely worth it!

Sixteen rooms and suites comprise The Swag, with prices ranging from $700 to $1,150 per night. The Swag room price includes 3 gourmet meals per day, snacks, beverages (nonalcoholic), and many amenities and activities.

The main house at The Swag, NC

The main house at The Swag, NC

The Food at The Swag, NC

We arrived at The Swag 3 weeks into our foodie road trip across the U.S. We had just visited Savannah and New Orleans, 2 of our favorite foodie towns. So for the food to make an impression on us, it had to be special!

Breakfast at The Swag, Waynesville

Before breakfast, I recommend waking early to catch the sunrise light up the Great Smoky Mountains. Grab a coffee or tea and a chair on the porch. This was one of my personal highlights at The Swag!

Sunrise at The Swag

Sunrise at The Swag

You should go at least 10 minutes before the official sunrise time to make sure you see the whole show. The colors of the sky and the mountains change continuously, each moment more beautiful than the last. I have sooo many photos!

After the sunrise, breakfast awaits. The Swag Restaurant serves breakfast off a menu Monday through Saturday, and a buffet brunch on Sundays. These are delicious, hearty, gourmet meals that will fill you up for a morning hike or a stroll around the garden. I chose The Swag’s decadently rich take on a Croque Madame and savored every bite.

Croque Madame breakfast at The Swag Restaurant

Croque Madame breakfast at The Swag Restaurant

Lunch at The Swag Resort

Guests select from a variety of wraps, sandwiches, and pitas with a side and snack or dessert. Selections are made the day prior and then picked up the next morning. Packed to go, lunches can be brought on hikes, or eaten anywhere you’d like. Outdoors, The Swag has chairs in many nooks and crannies on the property for a variety of gorgeous settings.

Views of the Great Smoky Mountains from The Swag

Views of the Great Smoky Mountains from The Swag

Wednesdays and Saturdays are Chef’s Picnic days, which are not typical picnics but feasts! Chef Jake expertly grills an assortment of everything from bison burgers (Mike) to scallops (me). And that’s just the beginning. Then come tables of fresh salads, fried chicken, deviled eggs, and, of course, another table filled with desserts. It’s all enjoyed 1/4 mile from the rooms at an area called Gooseberry Knob where the views rival the food. Picnic tables and Adirondack chairs pepper the picnic area and make eating comfortable and wonderfully scenic.

Scallops for lunch at The Swag picnic

Scallops for lunch at The Swag picnic

Bison Burger & Bratwurst for lunch at The Swag picnic

Bison Burger & Bratwurst for lunch at The Swag picnic

Dessert at The Swag picnic

Dessert at The Swag picnic

Dinner at The Swag, NC

The Swag chef, Jake Schmidt, and his crew prepare a 4-course seasonal dinner Friday through Wednesday. Thursday nights feature a North Carolina barbecue buffet with live music. On the other nights, hors d’oeuvres begin at 6:00 in the common area outside the main house. Guests self-serve appetizers and nibbles from a cheese and charcuterie board then sit on the porch, a bench, or a swing.

At 7:00, the Swag guests transition to the restaurant to their assigned seats and tables, and make a beverage selection. We asked for a nice bottle of wine (extra) that would pair well with both our entrees as well as the wild mushroom soup. Mike chose the Duck with Blueberry Sauce, which was perfectly prepared, and I had the mouth-watering Filet Mignon with a cauliflower puree and okra. It’s no surprise both were excellent!

As you may know, I will usually pick a cheese board over dessert. Actually, I will usually pick cheese over most things! Since we still had some wine, we shared my local blue cheese with blackberries and pepper jelly. We then devoured the freshly baked chocolate chip cookie and ice cream in a skillet for dessert.

The Swag restaurant

The Swag restaurant

Filet Mignon dinner at The Swag

Filet Mignon dinner at The Swag

Snacks at The Swag

If you are hungry when staying at The Swag, you are doing something wrong! In addition to an incredible breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily, there is tea time with fresh baked goods. I thought I was just going to take a look at what the others would be eating, but the cookies were warm—so I couldn’t pass up the oatmeal or the lemon ones!

However, after dinner, I did pass on the s’mores at the fire pit. Guests convened in a circle to trade stories and look at the stars, but few people had room for any more food.

Additionally, you will always find ice cream, water, and soft drinks in the coolers outside the front desk area. You can eat and drink as much as you like. My next weakness after cheese is ice cream, and I was too full from our regular meals to have any as a snack. That’s how much food there is here!

Hors d’oeuvres at The Swag resort

Hors d’oeuvres at The Swag resort

Staying at The Swag, NC

From arrival to departure, The Swag leaves no detail unattended. You are greeted with a beverage, a hot towel, access to a plush restroom, and a very warm welcome. After your meal selections have been made and your questions answered, you are shuttled to check-in, where you’ll receive a complimentary walking stick. Then you’ll be off to your room, and at every turn you are asked if there is anything else that the staff can do for you.

The Swag is not only for romantic celebrations, it is a great place to celebrate anything! I was ecstatic that I was invited to be a guest here on what was coincidentally my birthday! I am not one of those “it’s just another day” birthday people. I am a celebrate all month type of gal!

This was definitely up my birthday-celebration alley! Celebrations are announced before dinner and I couldn’t believe how many people subsequently wished me a happy birthday throughout our stay. I also received a card at the dinner table and on my bed when I arrived. But of course, the whole day felt like a celebration just being there!

On departing we received 2 gifts—a piece of locally made pottery and house-made candies. Then, when we got to our car, in addition to our luggage, it was loaded with 2 waters and popcorn for the road. What a nice final touch!

Trail from the main house to Gooseberry Knob

Trail from the main house to Gooseberry Knob

While this post does contain affiliate links where I may earn a small commission at no cost to you, all opinions and recommendations are my own.

Reservations at The Swag

The Swag can fill up a year in advance, so it’s best to reserve your room as early as possible. Reservations can be made online on The Swag’s website

Reservations in Asheville

Want to add a couple of days to see/eat Asheville either before or after The Swag? Our spacious room at the Marriott in downtown Asheville was quite comfortable and conveniently located. Especially for the price, I would definitely recommend it! Click here to check it out.

Asheville has lots of hotel options from budget to luxury. We liked being in walking distance to restaurants, but you may prefer something closer to the Biltmore Estates. Compare hotel prices in Asheville here.

Is The Swag on Your Bucket List?

I am so thankful we celebrated my birthday at The Swag! What a wonderful and unique experience it was!

What do you think, does The Swag sound bucket-list worthy? Let me know in the comments!

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