Asheville’s Hotel Arras has affiliated with Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, a prestigious upscale boutique hotel company based in San Francisco.

Hotel Arras is the mixed-use project in the heart of downtown Asheville that includes a 128-room boutique hotel, 54 condos, two independently owned restaurants and more in the 18-story former BB&T bank building in downtown Asheville. It’s a project of hotelier John McKibbon of award-winning McKibbon Hospitality and Glenn W. Wilcox, Sr., the owner of Asheville-based commercial real-estate company Tower Associates, Inc.

What’s the importance of the affiliation? Here’s what McKibbon tells me in an email:

Kimpton is an upscale boutique hotel company. They own and manage over 60 hotels, US and international. For the first time since they opened their first hotel in the early 80s, they are going to allow select management companies to manage hotels under the Kimpton name. We own the building and will manage the hotel under a contract with Kimpton to use their name and reservation system. Kimpton has a great reputation in the business. Kimpton is only in 50 or so cities, so to get this brand in Asheville is a very big deal.

The bottom line is that the power that the Kimpton brand brings will elevate The Arras, especially as the competition for the hotel dollar continues to increase with the opening of new properties. Some 500 new hotel rooms are expected to open later this year in Asheville, though not all of them are targeting the same high-end customer as The Arras.

The opening of The Arras this year will mark the culmination of one of downtown Asheville’s largest redevelopment projects ever, taking an aging office building, completely renovating it and turning it into condos, a boutique hotel with restaurants and meeting and some retail space.

The Arras, at 7 Patton Ave., includes two independently owned restaurants by Asheville restauranteurs Peter and Martha Pollay, the husband-and-wife team behind the popular Posana restaurant just a stone’s throw from The Arras. (They are also the founders of Mandara Hospitality Group.) TheĀ  Bargello, offering Mediterranean fine dining, and the all-day restaurant and bar, District 42, are the two Arras eateries.

Other highlights and amenities at The Arras:

-all guest rooms feature works by local artists, with pieces from Catherine Murphy, John Wayne Jackson and Naomi Rogers.

-the hotel’s “serenity cart” is an artisanal handcart filled with everything from books by Asheville authors to lavender sachets and evening cordials, available upon request for guest room delivery.

-complimentary public bikes

-private Hotel Arras art tours

-nightly social hour and mobile check-in

-dog friendly

-massage room, yoga studio and state-of-the-art fitness center

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