Biltmore House FAQ
Why is it named Biltmore?
George Vanderbilt named Biltmore by combining two words: "Bildt" the region in Holland where the Vanderbilt family originated, and "more," an old English word meaning rolling countryside.
How big is Biltmore House?
The house covers 4 acres, totaling 175,000 square feet. It consists of 250 rooms which includes 35 guest and family rooms, 43 bathrooms, 65 fireplaces, and 3 kitchens.
Does anyone live in the house? Can I stay there?
No one has lived in Biltmore House since the 1950s. Guests don't stay in the house, but you can enjoy the famous Biltmore hospitality at the Inn on Biltmore Estate or at the Cottage on Biltmore Estate.
Who designed Biltmore House? How was it built?
Biltmore House was designed by America's preeminent architect, Richard Morris Hunt. Frederick Law Olmsted, the father of landscape architecture in America, designed the surrounding acres of formal and informal gardens. This great house remains the largest home in America, and it is a National Historic Landmark.
Construction on the house started in 1889. Biltmore House is constructed of tons of Indiana limestone transported by a railway spur built specifically to bring the massive amounts of material and supplies to the site. It took hundreds of workers more than six years to complete.
On Christmas Eve 1895, Vanderbilt formally opened the doors of Biltmore House to friends and family. In the early 21st century, Biltmore House remains much as it was when the Vanderbilts lived there more than 100 years ago, displaying the family's original collection of furnishings, art, and antiques.
Learn more of Biltmore's history.
Who owns Biltmore now?
Biltmore is still family-owned. George and Edith Vanderbilt had one child, Cornelia, who married British diplomat John Francis Amherst Cecil in 1924. The Cecils had two sons: one is William A. V. Cecil, Biltmore's owner. His son, Bill Cecil, Jr., is chief executive officer of The Biltmore Company, which includes Biltmore House & Gardens; Antler Hill Village which encompasses the Winery and Farm; Inn on Biltmore Estate; Biltmore Estate Wine Company; and Biltmore licensed products.
When was Biltmore House first opened to the public?
Cornelia Vanderbilt Cecil, only child of George and Edith Vanderbilt, and her husband John Francis Amherst Cecil worked with the City of Asheville to open Biltmore to the public in 1930 to spur tourism in the area during the Depression and to generate revenue to support the estate.