Nestled near Bryson City, North Carolina and about an hour from Asheville, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find Lakeview at Fontana Inn & Spa. The name says it all considering this secluded resort overlooks Fontana Lake and offers breathtaking sunrises and sunsets. Not only will the gorgeous scenery make this trip a memorable one, but your experience includes all of their wonderful amenities as well: nightly wine tastings, indulgent breakfasts, a luxury spa, a yoga studio, and a treetop cabana

Honestly, it was an exceptional experience, and my husband and I plan to visit again and again. 

how to get there

As you drive up the winding entrance to Lakeview at Fontana, you’ll be greeted by Tuscan-like cottages. There’s no grand lobby. Instead, you’ll be welcomed by a happy staff member at their simple check-in counter. The stunning views will be well worth the trip, but the resort may be an easier venture for some than others. Here’s how you can get there: 

Flying

Depending on where you’re flying from, you’ll have a few options of airports for your arrival. 

  • Asheville’s Regional Airport – Located 1.5 hours from the resort. The drive through North Carolina will be absolutely beautiful and arriving here would give you a lovely opportunity to explore Asheville, an up and coming tourist destination with more breweries than restaurants (ok, that might be an exaggeration, but still! They have good beer!)
  • Knoxville’s McGhee Tyson Airport – Located 2 hours from the resort. The drive, however, is for the more adventurous traveler. Driving in from the Tennessee side of the Smoky Mountains provides you the opportunity to drive Highway 129 or what avid motorcyclist’s refer to as “The Tail of the Dragon.” Discovery Channel named this 11-mile stretch of highway with 318 curves one of the top ten motorcycle rides in the country. I would highly recommend it. If you suffer from motion sickness though, you could extend the drive an extra 30-45 minutes and drive through the Cherokee Indian Reservation.
  • Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport – Located 3 hours from the resort. If you’re looking for flight deals and traveling from another major hub like New York or Chicago, you may find the best flight deals into Atlanta. Being the headquarter’s of Delta airlines and one of the busiest airports in the country, I frequently see awesome flight deals for ORD-ATL or EWR-ATL. This may make the extra hour or so of driving completely worth it. 
Driving

If you live within driving distance of this beautiful place, I would highly recommend making the drive as opposed to flying in. Whether you are traversing the North Carolina side of the mountains, coming in from Tennessee, or making the drive through north Georgia, you’ll have beautiful views of some of the most gorgeous mountain ranges in the country. 

Reminder: Driving in from Tennessee gives you the opportunity to drive “The Tail of the Dragon” as I mentioned. You could even rent motorcycles to get the full highway experience. I’ve only ever done so in a car but would love to hear others experience giving this a try! 

the rooms

As with any resort, there are pros and cons to your stay. Luckily, Lakeview at Fontana came with far more pluses than minuses. Here’s the honest details: 

Pros

The simple, rustic rooms provide the perfect opportunity to relax and truly connect with whomever your travel partner is. There are no TV’s, but we considered this to be a pro. The beds were incredibly comfortable which provided an excellent night’s sleep. Honestly, I didn’t want to get up in the morning. 

There’s also a small seating area along with a full kitchen. Since my husband and I like to cook and there are not many dining options on property, we considered this a pro. You can cook healthier meals after a day full of wellness-centered activities. 

 Lastly, Lakeview has a few units that are pet-friendly. If you are anything like us and consider your furry friend to be more of a child than a pet, we loved having her tag along with us. Luckily, we were driving in which made this extremely easy. The staff seemed as happy as we were to have her there, and she was even greeted with a treat. Make sure to ask about these accommodations when booking! 

Cons

Honestly, there were very few cons to Lakeview, but in the spirit of full disclosure, I will mention a couple. The Wi-Fi and cell signal were not the best. Since my husband and I work remotely, this posed a bit of a problem for us. If you’re traveling in hopes of disconnecting though, this could easily become a pro. 

Since Lakeview is a boutique resort, there’s also no full-service dining options on property. This is a bit inconvenient, but like I mentioned before, you will have a kitchen in your unit. Come prepared, and this won’t be a concern! 

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dining options

So what are your dining options if there aren’t any on the resort? Let me tell you.

On Property

While there is no full-service dining, the daily breakfast and wine hour more than make up for it. I was especially impressed by the breakfast they offered. It was healthy yet delicious, and if you’d like, you can even purchase their homemade granola in the gift shop. I always love being able to take a little something home from our travels! 

The wine hour was also phenomenal offering excellent hor’dourves including mixed nuts, various cheeses, olives, and more. Not to mention, the wine and drinks they served were excellent. We visited once in the fall where they served a few options of red and white wine, and during our summer visit, two thirst-quenching sangrias were available. Normally I’m a red wine gal, but I was pleased with everything they served. 

Off Property

The closest dining options are only 15 minutes away in the quaint town of Bryson City, North Carolina. Our favorite stop after two visits has been the up and coming Nantahala Brewing Company. This comes at no surprise considering my love for craft beer. Find some street parking anywhere in town though, and take a walk around. There are several family-run diners, and if you’re looking for something nicer, Pasqualino’s is an excellent Italian restaurant. 

Lakeview at Fontana also provides a list of their favorite places to eat on their website at this link

what to do

You will never be at a loss of what to do next during your stay here. For a resort outside of a tiny mountain town, Lakeview has plenty of options to keep you busy yet relaxed during your stay. Here are the highlights: 

Yoga Studio

While I missed the opportunity to take one of Lakeview’s daily yoga classes, I did have time to use the studio while I was there. It’s definitely on my list for next time, because this rustic setup could not have been more peaceful.

Make sure and ask about their class schedule when you book your stay! This would be the perfect way to recoup after a day of outdoor adventure.

The Pool

While the weather did not cooperate during either of our stays, one of my favorite features that I hope to indulge in on our next visit is the pool. It looked so peaceful overlooking Fontana Lake and the mountainous backdrop of the Nantahala forest. Considering most resort stays are in a more tropical location, an afternoon read in this little spot seems so serene. 

Outdoor Activities

If you love adventure, staying at Lakeview at Fontana places you in the perfect location for hiking, whitewater rafting, canoeing, fly fishing and more. Avoiding the inconvenient crowds, the trails and activities in this area of Nantahala are much more peaceful than what you may experience in some parts of the Great Smoky Mountains. The staff at Lakeview at Fontana has plenty of nearby connections and can help you plan the perfect excursion! 

The Spa

After a day of exploring the mountains, is there a better way to relax than spending the evening at the spa? Their massage therapists were so kind, and it was easy to unwind after enjoying the wine hour on the terrace. Considering Lakeview is a boutique resort, it’s notable to mention that the spa is much smaller than what you would expect from a large chain. However, it does not take anything away from the service provided. We were both relaxed and ready to go to the treetop soaking cabana after our massages! 

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treetop soaking cabana

Can you believe there’s MORE to this beautiful haven? Last but not least, taking a bath in the treetop soaking cabana is everything you’ve dreamed of and more. This exquisite setup took me by surprise. It’s just a brief hike to the only private cabana on the property. Plus if you choose to book the complete package with champagne, rose petals, and calming music, someone will have this setup for you ahead of time, so your entire experience is truly secluded. 

For an hour and a half, we were able to enjoy the view from our quaint treehouse, and there’s even a small patio where you and whoever you’re with can enjoy that champagne. Choosing to go at sunset was perfect timing, and I’d highly recommend booking around that time. If you’re visiting in the summertime, it will also make the experience more enjoyable in the heat. 

other tips

Staying with Lakeview at Fontana will undoubtedly be the most impressive part of your vacation to the mountains. Here are a few extra pointers if you’re planning a trip there:

  • Visit Asheville, and make a week-long vacation out of the experience. If you’re flying in, Asheville will be the most convenient airport anyway. To maximize your time, stay in the city for a couple days first, check out everything the brewery-filled, mountain town has to offer, and then head to Lakeview at Fontana for some adventure and relaxation.
  • Come prepared to cook on your own if you plan on staying for more than a weekend. Bryson City has some great restaurant options, but you’ll quickly eat your way through town if you’re eating out for every meal. 
  • Lastly, their season takes places from April 5th to November 17th due to winter weather and safety. (Seriously, it’s a secluded spot!) Make sure to plan your trip ahead of time if you were considering going during the winter months. 

Disclaimer: I was gifted a service or product in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed herein are my own and not influenced by the company or its affiliates in any way. 

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