The Skyline Lodge acquired by the Indigo Road Hospitality Group

Charleston, S.C. based hotel and restaurant company has planned an extensive renovation including introduction of a new restaurant.

The Indigo Road Hospitality Group of Charleston, SC has purchased The Skyline Lodge located just four miles from Main Street in Highlands, NC.

“My business partner, Larry Spelts, and I could not be more excited to be involved in the world-class destination that the Highlands and Cashiers area has become”, said The Indigo Road’s Founder and Managing Partner, Steve Palmer.

The historic property changed hands on Sept. 25 concluding a long stewardship by prior owner, Robert Nass.

“I am a native Georgian and Larry is a South Carolinian, and we both have enjoyed the Highland-Cashiers area our entire lives – we are thrilled to get involved in the plateau’s continuing evolution as a premier destination,” said Palmer.

Immediate plans are to extensively renovate the ­interiors of the guest rooms, the restaurant and bar, and relandscape the central courtyard and surrounding grounds including a new 2600 square foot event venue for weddings and other functions with the goal of opening the new and improved Skyline Lodge by the start of the 2021 summer season.

“The pastoral mountain setting just outside of downtown Highlands combined with a freshly renovated facility will make for a wonderful complement to the other lovely properties in Highlands proper and the surrounding area,” said Larry Spelts, President of Lodging and Lifestyle Adventures for the Indigo Road. “Local experiences curated by our management team will be a hallmark of the new Skyline experience. We are fortunate to have an energetic and enthusiastic General Manager in Jason Dauble who in July of this year relocated to the plateau together with his wife, Michelle Dauble who is the director of sales for the Skyline. They have been busily developing local relationships and innovative concepts for locally guided experiences for the future Skyline guests.”

Multiple renovations are planned including the introduction of a new restaurant.

According to Palmer, a two-time James Beard Award semi-finalist, “Perhaps the most exciting addition to the Skyline Lodge will be the introduction of our much beloved Oak Steakhouse concept to the plateau as the Skyline Lodge’s new restaurant concept,” said Palmer, a three-time James Beard Award semi-finalist.

The Indigo Road currently has Oak Steakhouses in five southeastern cities including Atlanta and the flagship location in Charleston.

“In addition to our trademark core menu offerings that have made Oak Steakhouses very popular with diners, each Oak has its own locally influenced menu items that make each one unique and specifically appropriate to its respective locale,” said Palmer.

The new Skyline Lodge design concept will be rooted within the architectural history of the building itself. The Skyline Lodge’s original structure was designed by Arthur Kelsey, a former student of the great American architect Frank Lloyd Wright in the 1920s, and partially constructed in 1929 by renowned local builder Jack Wilcox.

The project, a vision of Howard Randall’s, was halted because of the economic instability during the 1930s, and eventually resurrected by a new developer and a student of the original architect in the 1960s. Over the years, numerous additions were made to the property, including a Redwood interior, stone fireplaces, paved roads, and a restaurant. The property switched owners a few times in the 1970s and 1980s.

Bob Nass purchased the property in 1993 and operated the hotel for nearly 30 years before selling it to The Indigo Road.

The Indigo Road Hospitality Group

Founded in 2009 by Steve Palmer, The Indigo Road marked its 10th anniversary by being named a Forbes Small Giant and appearing on the Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Companies list. The Indigo Road currently has 24 restaurants 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.

They currently have four hotel development projects. The Indigo Road’s dedication to excellence in food & beverage has been recognized the past three consecutive years (’18,’19, & ’20) by Palmer being named a semi-finalist by the James Beard Foundation’s award for Outstanding Restaurateur-US.

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