New Twist on a Holiday Tradition at Omni Grove Park Inn

by Kristy Tolley
Chef Carla hall smiling while on set in a kitchen


Asheville, North Carolina’s  Omni Grove Park Inn offers a new mix of virtual and in-person activities in this year’s National Gingerbread House Competition.

For many, celebrating the holidays means experiencing the National Gingerbread House Competition at The Omni Grove Park Inn. This year, they’re revolutionizing the competition (the country’s largest). The competition will be held virtually with new in-person and socially distanced activities for hotel guests and fans at home. The resort’s goal is to preserve a slice of happiness, normalcy and tradition as people across the country continue to navigate the new normal while seeking to immerse themselves in the holiday spirit.

“The holidays are synonymous with The Omni Grove Park Inn’s National Gingerbread House Competition, and its public Gingerbread House display, which has brought viewers from around the country to the hotel. This year, we were faced with the difficult decision of canceling the public display in the name of safety,” says Susan Rotante, Director of Public Relations & Community Outreach at The Omni Grove Park Inn.  “However, gingerbread and the holiday season is far from canceled as teams have worked tirelessly to reshape the competition, as well as a plethora of virtual and in-person experiences. We truly care about our guests, the memories they create here and our cherished competitors who make the gingerbread season the tradition it is today.”


Chef Carla Hall in a kitchen getting ready to cook


 Virtual Activities for Fans at Home:

  • Baking Spirits Bright: Gingerbread Making Class Series: Beginning Oct. 21, 2020, learn how to make gingerbread houses at home via a three-part series featuring all-star chefs and competition judges (including celebrity chef, Carla Hall). A portion of the proceeds goes to ACFEF’s Chef & Child Initiative so the more you bake, the bigger difference you make. Participants also receive 15 percent off future stays January through March of 2021. For “Baking Spirits Bright: Gingerbread Making Class Series” pricing & information, visit:
  • The 12 Days of Gingerbread: A new way of celebrating the 2020 National Gingerbread House Competition Finalists together while staying apart. From Dec. 1-12, 2020 the hotel will announce one finalist per day. The Grand Prize winner will be revealed on Dec. 12 (National Gingerbread House Day!). Tune in via Facebook (@omnigroveparkinn) and Instagram (@omnigrovepark). Please check for Gingerbread in-person/virtual activities/timing and competition updates. 


kitchen with gingerbread houses and supplies to make them


In-House Guest Activities:

  • Best In Dough: Gingerbread Finalist Showcase: A rare view of the finalists’ entries via a docu-style film for hotel guests from Nov. 23-Jan. 3. Including interviews with competitors, judges and 360° footage of the finalists’ confectionary creations to create an up-close experience. Tickets are available exclusively to overnight guests to ensure safety measures remain intact and can be reserved as part of their stay.
  • Holiday Mountain Magic Package: Create lasting holiday memories surrounded by the sights and sounds of the season. Lavish decorations at every turn with the warmth of two thirty-six-foot fireplaces create the perfect mountain setting to celebrate the holidays for stays from Nov. 23-Dec. 31, 2020. Guests can pay it forward via Omni Hotels & Resorts’ “Say Goodnight to Hunger” program, which includes a donation to MANNA FoodBank for every stay.
  • The Great Gingerbread House: The Great Hall will be transformed into a holiday destination, with a life-sized Gingerbread House modeled after the historic hotel. Guests can enjoy house-made hot chocolate, specialty craft brews and sweet treats by the glow of the iconic Grove Park Inn fireplaces. 

Safety First:

  • Enjoying the hotel grounds this season will be available for guests with confirmed reservations (e.g., dining, rooms, etc.). For those who arrive without a reservation during high occupancy times, admittance onto the property will not be guaranteed, and will be subject to capacity protocols to ensure safety restrictions remain intact.

As in years past, a $25 per car fee will be charged for all drive-on day guests with a portion of the parking proceeds going towards the following local nonprofit organizations: United Way of Asheville and Buncombe CountyAmerican Legion Baseball Post #70Meals on Wheels of Asheville and Buncombe CountyAsheville City Schools FoundationHorizons at CDSChildren First/Communities in SchoolsAsheville Museum of Science and Camp Watia Camper Scholarship Fund. Since 2013, The Omni Grove Park Inn has contributed over $535,000 through the Holiday Parking Program, supporting the local community and not-for-profit partners in Western North Carolina.


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