CHARLESTON, SC — August 2, 2022 — The Indigo Road Hospitality Group (IRHG), which owns, operates, and manages restaurants and boutique hotels across the U.S., has acquired Snowbird Mountain Lodge in Robbinsville, NC, and assumed management of the property. IRHG partnered with Madison Capital Group, LLC, a private investment and advisory firm based in Charlotte, NC and Charleston, SC; and JPW Development, a boutique private real estate firm based in Asheville, NC specializing in the acquisition, renovation and preservation of historic properties. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
“Accompanying Skyline Lodge and The Flat Iron Hotel, Snowbird Mountain Lodge marks Indigo Road’s third property in North Carolina,” said Larry Spelts, president of Lodging & Lifestyle Adventures at The Indigo Road. “As we grow our portfolio of unique, experience-driven properties, we are particularly drawn to those where we believe we can add value and deliver our high-touch hospitality. Snowbird was spellbinding from the moment we saw the historic lodge and its majestic views of the Smoky Mountains.”
Designed by Asheville architect Ronald Greene, best known as the designer of the Jackson Building, North Carolina’s tallest skyscraper when completed in 1924, the Main Lodge was built in 1940–1941 for Arthur Wolfe, a travel agent, and his brother, Edwin, a realtor and builder. Over the years, Snowbird has had 10 owners. Before selling the property to The Indigo Road, Robert Rankin, and his wife, Mandy, owned the property and completed many of Snowbird’s more well-known upgrades and additions.
Since its inception, the Main Lodge has undergone several major renovations, including the addition of a new heating and air system, new windows, new wiring and plumbing pipes, new exterior siding, the dining terrace, and bathroom upgrades. Several cottages have been added to the property over the years, including Wolfe Cottage, which offers a shared front porch with rockers, and private individual back decks with a two-person hot tub on each room’s deck, and Chestnut Lodge, large luxury guestrooms with the panoramic views of the Smoky Mountains. The Forest Chapel, Snowbird’s newest building, is designed for the privacy of two, or to share a celebration with up to 60 people.
“Snowbird is a remarkable place offering guests the chance at an intimate stay in a 1940s mountain lodge amid gorgeous natural surroundings,” said Philip Woollcott, founder and managing principal at JPW Development. “As a Western North Carolina native, I jumped at the opportunity to become a steward of Snowbird. Having collaborated with Indigo Road on Skyline Lodge in Highlands, NC and the current redevelopment with them of the historic Flat Iron building in Asheville, it was a perfect fit.”
Located in North Carolina’s Great Smoky Mountains, Snowbird has stunning views of the Nantahala National Forest, the largest of the four national forests in the state, and Lake Santeetlah, home to a variety of fish including smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, walleye, crappie, bream, and lake trout. The U.S. Forest Service also provides swimming, camping, picnicking, fishing and boating facilities at the lake.
“I have wanted to be in the boutique hospitality space for quite some time and this partnership presented the perfect opportunity to work with a great operator, and in our own backyard,” said Ryan Hanks, founder and CEO of Madison Capital Group. “We are looking forward to a long-term relationship with Indigo Road and are optimistic that this partnership will be the first of many joint projects together. When Indigo Road presented this opportunity to our team, we knew it was the right one for us. The property speaks for itself.”
Snowbird’s culinary team works closely with local farmers to create seasonal menus with exceptional food. In addition to the property’s indoor dining room, which offers a magnificent array of meal selections, The Fireside Bar features a selection of handcrafted beers ranging from purely local brews to some of the best in the world, the largest selection of fine spirits in all of Western North Carolina, and an abundance of wine selections, with more than handpicked 500 labels in the cellar.
“Nothing can prepare you for the beauty and serenity of this special place,” said Steve Palmer, founder and chief visionary officer of The Indigo Road. “From the moment I stepped foot on the property, I knew that I wanted to be a part of continuing Mandy and Robert’s 30-year legacy at Snowbird. While we do have exciting plans for the future, our most important guideline is to be thoughtful and deserving stewards of this sacred place.”
About The Indigo Road Hospitality Group
Founded in 2009 by Steve Palmer, The Indigo Road Hospitality Group (IRHG) owns, operates, and manages restaurants and boutique hotels throughout the country. Based in the Southeast, IRHG is founded upon the core principle of serving with love and creating memorable experiences for all. In 2019, IRHG marked its tenth anniversary by being named a Forbes Small Giant and appearing on the Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Companies list, and in 2020 announced that hotelier Larry Spelts joined The Indigo Road as a partner and president of its new venture into lodging with a focus on food & beverage driven boutique hotels. With addition of Snowbird, IRHG has four open and operating hotels, one other acquisition under contract, and four active development projects with openings from early 2023 through 2024, in addition to more than two dozen restaurants in eight cities. The Indigo Road’s dedication to excellence in food & beverage has been recognized three consecutive years (’18,’19, & ’20) by Palmer being named a semi-finalist by the James Beard Foundation’s award for Outstanding Restaurateur-US. For more information on the portfolio, team, core values and services, visit theindigoroad.com.