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“Wonderful Escape Experience”
Review of The Swag

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The Swag
Ranked #4 of 19 Waynesville B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Nashville, Tennessee
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Wonderful Escape Experience”
Reviewed 29 November 2011

My husband and I stayed at The Swag for our anniversary and my birthday. We stayed in The Terrace room. Wow! We needed a get away and The Swag was it! Every detail imaginable was attended to and planned for. Every aspect was first class but not snobby. The Swag excels in everything but what I didn't expect was the fullness of the experience. It wasn't just the unique location, the wonderful food, the attentive service, the warm hospitality, the unexpected extras that wowed me; it was the entirety of the experience. The Swag is something to be experienced to be totally appreciated. It was an excellent get away. We stayed three nights and only wished we could have stayed ten!

Room Tip: We liked the Terrace but if you want mountain views toward the valley I would choose a room on that...
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  • Stayed November 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank Bennetts907
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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267 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (95)
Date | Rating
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English first
New York City, New York
Level 5 Contributor
61 reviews
46 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 179 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 November 2011

Wow, where do we start with the Swag? I guess the first thing to say is that it is definitely one the absolute best places we have ever stayed, period. In the “get away from it all, boutique” category, it is unparalleled. The Swag does require an up-front caveat: If you are looking for someplace to be “connected”, the Swag is not for you. For that, head down to Ashveille, book a room at the Inn on the Biltmore and have a spectacular stay there (we have stayed at the Biltmore and highly recommend it). If you are looking to “unplug” for a while, don’t hesitate – book a room at the Swag now and then come back and read the rest of the review. From the time you make your reservation to the moment you leave the Swag, you don’t feel like a customer, you feel like a family member that is going to visit your lavishly rich relatives that live in a beautiful retreat with every need catered to. The Swag costs a fair amount of money, but is definitely not “expensive”. It is worth every penny. Before we arrived, we received a lot of great correspondence, some of which came directly from the owners, Dan & Deener. We were asked a lot about our preferences, our meal choices, how we wanted the room made, special requests, etc. It was a welcome change from the cold, auto-response emails you get from hotel chains. We booked the Cabin for two nights. The personal service of the Swag was evident before we even got there. We were driving up from Atlanta and ended up being quite late (recommendation – try to get to the Swag as early as possible – your “experience” starts when you get there) and were going to miss dinner. The Swag is all inclusive – the goal is that once you arrive, you forget about everything else and just enjoy yourself. Anyway, the Swag called us as we were driving and was very concerned that we were going to miss dinner. By that, I mean they were concerned in a very motherly, loving way – they honestly did not want us to go hungry! So, since we were not going to make it for the sit down meal, the chef prepared us a special meal with sandwiches and full plates of wonderful food and deserts that were held for us until we arrived. Now, it is also important to note that the Swag takes “out of the way” to a whole new level. I it is very remote, is totally gated (you need to call up to the hotel to have them open the gate when you arrive) and encompasses a vast area of forested mountain hilltop area. It is nothing short of wonderful. Turn off the cell phone, leave the laptop packed away and be ready to enjoy yourself with no distractions. The property is indescribably beautiful and wonderful. There are gardens, frog-filled ponds, croquet courts, vast open fields with views of the Smoky Mountains, endless trails and forests and waterfalls – in short, it is a mountain paradise. It is quiet and serene and peaceful. When you arrive, you get to choose your new high-quality, hand carved walking stick and it is adorned with your name engraved in a wood oval. The Cabin is amazing. It is a full, one bedroom cottage and is luxuriously appointed throughout. Two whirlpool tubs (one outside on the screened in porch), two wood burning fireplaces complete with small stacks of kindling and logs, a beautiful king bedroom, one of the best showers we have encountered – the Cabin is one of a kind and well worth the cost. Highly, highly recommended. The food at the Swag is almost worth the nightly rate alone. We love breakfast, no doubt about it. Whether we are cooking a huge breakfast at home or attending a large Sunday brunch, we adore our breakfasts! With that said, it is no small thing to say that the Swag breakfast is probably the best we have ever had. When you walk into the dining room, the huge table is covered with the most scrumptious delights you can imagine and the chef is waiting to take your order for whatever you can’t find on the table. We wanted for nothing and experienced food beyond compare. Lunch can be taken either in the dining room or, as we recommend, as a picnic lunch to enjoy elsewhere on the property or on the trail. We chose to have our lunch packed for the trail. The Swag tailors this for you by providing backpacks (already packed with food and picnic necessities) and metal water bottles to bring on the trail. So, when you ready to venture out, you grab your walking stick, stop by the front desk to pick up your prepared backpacks and off you go! Dinner is a sit down, but informal, affair. It starts with some appetizers and non-alcoholic beverages. One note – due to some arcane North Carolina laws, the Swag can’t serve or provide alcohol, but guests can bring their own. We did not bring any alcohol, but the way dinner is set up, it was not an issue. Dinner is a fixed menu with a couple choices for each course. The dining room is set up so you can sit by yourself, but it is much more preferable to join a table with other guests or the owners. We sat with the owners and another couple and enjoyed it immensely. Dan and Deener are wonderful people and a huge amount of fun to sit and talk with. Dinner was nothing short of incredible. Dan had a couple bottles of wine (his personal wine, not “hotel” wine) and offered to share with us, which we enjoyed very much. Our experience was that there was plenty of alcohol offered during the appetizers and dinner. After dinner, we walked around the property a bit and headed back to our cabin, lit fires inside and outside and enjoyed our hot tubs. We cannot recommend the Swag enough. There were no complaints, no “howevers”, no detractions at all. It is simply one of the best places we have ever been.

  • Stayed May 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Steph_Richardson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hendersonville, North Carolina
Level 4 Contributor
37 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 November 2011

We are a couple who work very long hours in stressful environments so we need a restorative getaway from time to time. We had heard about The Swag but this was our first visit and WOW, what a delightful surprise. From the moment you pass through the private gated entry, you absolutely know you are in a different world and in someplace REALLY special. We didn't even know places like this still existed.

The driveway itself is a slow and scenery packed 2.2 miles up to 5,000 feet in elevation, at which point you arrive at The Swag. From the moment you step out of your vehicle, you recognize that this will be an extraordinarily unique experience. Check in is casual, mountain friendly, and very personal. The highly trained staff takes you on a tour of the property ending with their showing you into your accommodation. In our case, it is the first time in our lives we were truly delighted to have been sent to "The Woodshed"! One of the first structures built on the property, it has since been expanded to include a living room with wood burning stone fireplace (operational of course), a wet bar complete with soft drinks and snacks, a generous king sized bedroom, a massive bathroom (complete with soaking tub, steam shower, and dry sauna), and a quiet and secluded porch with a stunning view.

At this point we were VERY happy, but the highlight of our trip was yet to come. We arrived at the main building for the social hour which started at 6PM to find a group of five blue grass musicians already playing. Now mind you, we are no strangers to blue grass music so we know there's blue grass music and THEN, there's the real McCoy! For anyone who wants the experience of hearing real, traditional, mountain blue grass music, search no further than The Swag on the first Thursday of each month. Trust us, you will never hear any better. Our joy of falling into this musical event was made even more special by a few of the guests who just happened to be pretty good mandolin and guitar players themselves. Towards the end of the social hour, these guests drifted back to their lodgings, secured their instruments, and returned to join the group in what resulted in a full fledged mountain music jam that, in various configurations, lasted well into the late evening.

And let's not get so absorbed with our fascination with the music as to overlook the stunning food presentation that we received for our dinner. Salads, deviled eggs, fresh asparagus, sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts, fresh NC swordfish, barbequed ribs, and a tenderloin to die for, followed by buttermilk pie topped with fresh fruit, apple cobbler, and ice cream. We had brought our own special bottle of red wine and it was perfectly matched for the food.

Breakfast the next morning was equally superb with an astonishing number of choices. I am gluten free and oftentimes find that problematic when eating out. Not so at The Swag! They give you the option of letting them know about any food intolerance you might have but I'm generally too self-conscious to bother anyone with my issues. It was never even a close to being a problem either at dinner or breakfast. There was just so many options that it would have been hard to not be able to find something special to suit your palate.

To a person, the staff are professional, caring, and attentive in all respects. And the owners, Dan and Deener, were highly visible and actively engaged with all of their guests. They were here, there and everywhere making sure that all the little details were made perfect for those of us who were fortunate enough to have found this little piece of heaven in the mountains of Western North Carolina.

It WAS our first trip, but we made a promise to each other when we left this morning that it will not be long before we return!

  • Stayed November 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank jsheiry
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Blythewood, South Carolina
Level 4 Contributor
41 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 November 2011

My husband and I have just returned from our 4th stay at The Swag, and we're already looking forward to next year's visit, which we booked as we checked out. This was our second stay in the room called the Hideaway, and we plan to book that room for all future visits. We do a lot a traveling, and The Swag is the only place that has ever prompted me to publish an online review.
As stated in previous reviews, The Swag is an intimate resort in the Great Smoky Mountains. While the aesthetic is rustic, we've found no inn to match it for comfort and hospitality. And if four visits to the same place seem excessive, we're Swag babies compared to the couples we've met whose stays number in the double digits, and Swag guests are a well-traveled crowd.
The Swag is a perfect place to rejuvenate. In all of our visits, we've never moved our car until checkout. Our primary activity is hiking, and some of the most beautiful trails you'll ever see begin right outside The Swag's front door, with intensity ranging from easy to difficult. On this last visit, guests ranged in age from 20-something to 90, and there was a trail to fit them all. We also spend a lot of time reading, playing cut-throat Scrabble by the fire, and socializing with other guests. And if you MUST leave the property, Asheville, NC, is less than an hour away.
We have found that the Hideaway best suits our desire for a private retreat. As other reviews have mentioned, it is located in the bottom of the Chestnut Lodge, but it's not in the basement. It's actually quite light, with two large windows that face the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and two doors that open onto a large balcony with a lounge chair and an eastern exposure, perfect for watching the sunrise. If you're not an early bird, however, blinds and blackout draperies allow you to sleep the morning away. I'm not kidding: I have the best sleep of the year in the Hideaway. We made great use of the wet bar, fireplace, and whirlpool tub. There's also a steam shower and dry sauna if you're so inclined.
Food at the swag is delicious and plentiful. Breakfast is buffet style with an egg station. I had two delicious egg-white omelets over the long weekend. Lunch is packed in a backpack to be enjoyed in your room or in one of the many picnic spots on or near the property. Cookies and hot beverages are available in the afternoon, along with fresh local apples. For dinner I enjoyed perfectly prepared beef tenderloin and roasted potatoes, halibut with forbidden rice and sauteed spinach, butternut squash soup, and salads and desserts too many to name. That The Swag is located in a dry county is an advantage: We are able to bring the wines and spirits that we enjoy with no ridiculous restaurant markup or corkage fee.
Glassware and sodas for mixing are provided by the dining room.
If you're looking for a relaxing mountain retreat where you'll be greeted warmly and well fed, you won't go wrong with The Swag. We hope to someday to be a part of that double-digit group!

  • Stayed October 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank kvonkeller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Houston, Texas
Level 6 Contributor
234 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 192 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 November 2011

We stayed in the "Terrace Suite" for 6 nights at the end of October 2011. This large (expensive) room has a nice (not great) view; it is too low on the hillside for a great view. The room was very comfortable: king-sized bed, chairs to relax, sitting area if someone want to sleep and someone wants to read. XM radio for soft music - or news if you prefer. A superb fireplace and all the wood you can burn. The food was very good: 3 choices each night for dinner, nicely prepared and beautifully presented. You would normally eat with others - but if you want privacy, you'll need to ask (in advance) to sit by yourselves. I loved the breakfasts! All sorts of goodies, including made to order eggs, bacon, 2 kinds of sausage, smoked salmon. The best meals are the Sunday brunch, the Wednesday picnics and the Thursday night barbecue.
One of the biggest draws for the Swag - in my mind - is that they literally border Smoky Mountain National Park, Miles and miles of trails are just steps away from your room. We walked each day, fortified with sandwiches prepared by the kitchen.
Sometimes the service was a bit haphazard, but they tried hard to rectify any problems, and the owners are wonderfully friendly. (Like the previous review by jjayp, we had a mouse in our room - for one night. Either the Swag took care of the problem (they set traps), or our mouse moved up to jjayp's room. In any event, the Swag needs to deal with their rodent problem in the future; had we had mice for more than one night, it would have made sleeping difficult!)
The Swag is an expensive getaway, and I'd return for a second visit.

Room Tip: The larger (and higher) rooms are a better choice
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  • Stayed October 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank TRHinHouston
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Swag

Property: The Swag
Address: 2300 Swag Rd, Waynesville, NC 28785-2407
Phone Number:
Region: United States > North Carolina > North Carolina Mountains > Waynesville
Amenities:
Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 19 B&Bs / Inns in Waynesville
Price range (per night): ₹ 42,485
Hotel Class:4 star — The Swag 4*
Number of rooms: 14
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Swag is an award-winning, romantic hiking hideaway now in our 35th season. On 250 acres at an elevation of 5,000 feet, The Swag shares a common border with the Great Smoky Mountain National Park an hour's drive west of Asheville in western North Carolina. The Swag's very private setting provides inspiring views, peaceful hikes, birding and relaxation. The property's main buildings were constructed of century-old hand hewn logs and from it's mountaintop front porch, guests enjoy a 50 mile panoramic mountain view to the east and south. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
The Swag Hotel Waynesville
Country Inn Waynesville
Waynesville Country Inn

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