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 meals from an 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 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 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 Salmon Room) at The Swag resort

Deener’s room (formerly 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 starting from $700-$1,150/night. The Swag room price includes 3 gourmet meals/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 US. 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 next. 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. A hearty, gourmet breakfast that will fill you up for a morning hike or a stroll around the garden. I chose the decadently rich 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 Hotel has chairs in many nooks and crannies on the property.

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 is not really a typical picnic but a feast! Chef Jake expertly grills an assortment of everything from bison burgers (Mike) to scallops (me). And that’s just the beginning. Then comes 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.

Scallops for lunch at the Swag picnic

Scallops for lunch at the Swag picnic

Bison Burger for lunch at the Swag picnic

Bison Burger 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 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. And then devoured the fresh baked chocolate chip cookie and ice cream in a skillet for dessert.

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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 looking to see what the others would be eating, but the cookies were warm —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 chat 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. 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!

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Staying at the Swag, NC

From arrival to departure, The Swag leaves no detail unattended. You are greeted with a beverage, a hot towel, a restroom, and a very warm welcome. After meal selections and questions answered, you are shuttled to checkin where you’ll receive a complementary 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 through 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!

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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 best to make your reserve your room as early as possible. Reservations can be made online on The Swag’s website

Reservations in Asheville

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.

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