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AT THE BILTMORE VILLAGE INN, COMFORT IS KEY

AT THE BILTMORE VILLAGE INN, COMFORT IS KEY

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It's all about comfort here at the Biltmore Village Inn, a perfectly restored 1892 Queen Anne home that sits atop a hill overlooking Biltmore Village and just across from the Biltmore Estate.

That's why this bed and breakfast features whirlpool baths in all six guests rooms; fireplaces are in five of them (and even in three of the bathrooms).Huge, wraparound porches, complete with rockers and a hammock, make for peaceful afternoons on the veranda, where distant mountain ranges offer a relaxing vista and delicious home-baked cookies offered by host Ripley Hotch help make for easy conversation.

So do afternoon tea on the porches or in the parlor and dazzling full breakfasts offered to guests in the formal dining room. These include specialties such as raspberry croissants in almond custard, frittatas, puffed apple French toast, freshly baked breads and muffins, and specialty coffees and teas.

"We've learned something over the years,' says Hotch, who with partner Owen Sullivan has owned three B&Bs. He says he has taken the best of their ideas and put them in place at the Biltmore Village Inn.

That includes a full-stocked butler's pantry, where guests can help themselves to soft drinks, coffee or purified water at any time of the day or night. The inn also has a well-stocked bookshelf and video shelf where guests can pick out reading materials or movies to watch on the VCRs in their rooms.

Hotch and Sullivan bought the house in 2001 and reopened it six months after that once the house had undergone extensive renovations.

"It was in intense need of loving care,' Hotch said.

These days, the house is furnished with exquisite antiques collected by the pair through the years. Many are Queen Anne-era, fitting for this old home.

Luckily for tourists, Hotch also is available to recommend places to eat or shop in trendy Asheville. He knows all the top eateries and hot spots. When in doubt, ask Hotch.

This spring, the Biltmore Village Inn is one of six included in the Asheville Bed and Breakfast Association's Spring Garden Tour, which this year helps celebrate the reopening of the Thomas Wolfe House in downtown Asheville.

The Wolfe house will be included in the June 6 tour, along with the Biltmore Village Inn, Cedar Crest Victorian Inn, 1900 Inn on Montford, The Lion and the Rose, The Owl's Nest and North Lodge on Oakland.

As part of the festivities, Rich Matthews, co-author of "The Manor and Cottages," an award-winning history of the architecture and landscape design of historic Asheville neighborhood Albemarle Park, will present the lecture "From Boarding House to Bed and Breakfast: An exploration of Asheville's Rich History of Hospitality."

\ Contact Tom Steadman at 574-5583 or tsteadman@news-record.com

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