The Radical – the writing’s on the wall

Inspired by the River Arts District’s RAD moniker, The Radical brings together a collective of buzzing energy, creative talent and shared experiences designed to inspire all guests to be fearlessly radical…

green curved sofa in front of graffiti style art in the lobby of The Radical

Located in the heart of Asheville, North Carolina’s River Arts District, The Radical is a bold, daring new boutique hotel and living art installation that debuted in October 2023. Housed in a once-abandoned 1920s’ warehouse that was formerly a cereal factory, the hotel is Asheville’s newest destination for travellers and locals alike, with 70 unmistakable guestrooms and suites, a flagship wood-fire restaurant named Golden Hour, a rooftop bar and a café and bar called after/glow – all from local Asheville resident and two-time James Beard nominated restaurateur Jacob Sessoms.

central velvet sofa under chandelier with graffiti on the walls in The Radical

Image credit: Matt Kisiday

The contemporary hotel breathes new life into a historic building while preserving beautiful evidence of its past lives — from a 1920s breakfast cereal factory to a graffiti artists’ vacant paradise. With rebel luxe interiors by Suomi Design Works, and a design collaboration with local Asheville studio Rowhouse Architects, the hotel’s richly layered design effortlessly melds with towering raw concrete pillars, exposed brick walls and original street art, including work from decades past as well as modern pieces. Paired with distinctive guest touchpoints created by Might & Main, the result is a place that feels like nowhere else. Simultaneously spectacular and ultimately approachable, The Radical is a decadent and welcoming destination for all within the gritty RAD neighbourhood.

The Radical’s guest rooms are a revelation, where lush contemporary design honours and evolves decades of organic artistic expression preserved on the walls of the historic building. Guests can immerse themselves in sumptuous curtained headboards, serene marble and brass bathrooms, broad windows to let the Asheville sunlight pour in, and blackout curtains for when it’s time to retreat to the darkness or mix up a drink under dramatic mood lighting. The property shelters eight room types including suites, river views and ones with spacious seating areas, plus black-out curtains, writing desks, smart TVs and wet bars.

guestroom with graffiti behind the bed with a blue velvet canopy

Image credit: Hatteras Sky

The Radical is a living, evolving museum of street, classical and modern art. The previously vacant building was covered in wall-to-wall graffiti, and instead of erasing it, the owners adopted the artwork as design inspiration, incorporating the concept into the hotel. To honour the history of the building and reflect the surrounding River Art District community, The Radical team engaged veteran local artist Ian Wilkinson to foster the tradition of graffiti in the building and curate what is now a world-class collection of art. The hotel features over 200 unique and original works of art, and Wilkinson and a team of talented artists – from Asheville and beyond – designed and painted murals in each guest room plus large-scale immersive works featured throughout the hotel’s common areas.

industrial style hotel bathroom with art reflected in the mirror

Image credit: Matt Kisiday

Wilkinson has collaborated to produce many landmark murals, fostering creativity and artistic expression for people of all ages. His passion has extended to organizing street art events, showcasing a commitment to community engagement. Specializing in archival mural production, Wilkinson serves as a valuable resource for fellow artists and has forged solid relationships with many preeminent figures in the mural and street art world. His work continues to add to the vibrant tapestry of cities around the world, like Miami, New York, Denver, Sacramento, Denver, San Francisco, Paris, Lyon and others.

Artists involved in The Radical include Ishmael, Patch Whisky, KOMBS, Brett Bell, Brian, O’Rourke, Gillian Maurer, Stacy Kraft, Colton Dion, Dan Reid, Roan Allen, Shannon Owens, Maryanne Pappano, Emery, Joey Hindi, Mason Arana and Ian Wilkinson.

maximalist corner with couches and art in The Radical hotel

Image credit: Hatteras Sky

Helmed by celebrated local Asheville restaurateur Jacob Sessoms, The Radical takes guests on a culinary journey with three in-house F&B concepts. Golden Hour is the downstairs wood-fire restaurant – an easy-going yet refined spot for hotel guests and locals alike to grab a bite or drink. The free-flowing space is centred around a racetrack bar in the middle of the dining room and an open kitchen featuring a custom-made, wood-fired grill that fuels the buzz of the restaurant. The space seats 85 people inside and about 45 people on a beautifully terraced outdoor patio. Golden Hour’s beverage program includes crafted cocktails with a twist alongside an exciting wine list with around 100 bottles, many of which from natural, organic and Biodynamic producers.

turquoise bar in centre of industrial style hotel space

Image credit: Savannah Gibson

Guests looking to unwind or get work done can head to after/glow, a coffee bar that evolves into a cocktail lounge each afternoon. The morning, noon and night spot is open from 7am-10pm and offers daytime counter service including espresso, drip coffee from North Carolina-based Counter Culture Coffee and Dobra teas. Plus, guests can enjoy specialties like the chilled and frothy after/glow ‘draft latte’ and a bright, rich and heady Honey Lavender Cappuccino. Come 3pm, after/glow transitions into a down-tempo bar serving handcrafted cocktails with music from a live DJ every Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

gold chain lighting design detail above hotel bar

Image credit: Evan Anderson

The Roof is a 125-person capacity rooftop bar overlooking the French Broad River and Asheville’s River Arts District. Open from noon to midnight when the weather is right, the Roof’s open-air bar serves up an inviting atmosphere with the best views in town for nibbles, sunset cocktails and weekly live music.

The Radical is owned by Hatteras Sky and capital partner Somera Capital East and operated by Lark Hotels.  The Radical joins the Lark Hotels portfolio of more than 50 independent spirited boutique hotels located throughout the United States. Launched in 2012, the company focuses on low-key-count lifestyle hotels with unique character and distinct stories in iconic, high profile destinations.

Main image credit: Matt Kisiday