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VOL. 39 | NO. 32 | Friday, August 7, 2015

Best hotel rooms in Nashville – with or without helicopter

By Hollie Deese

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An executive suite at Nashville’s Omni Hotel, where rooms go for as much as $2,500 per night.

-- Photograph Courtesy Of Omni Hotels

Tod Roadarmel, director of sales and marketing for the nearly 2-year-old Omni Hotel downtown, is awestruck by the vitality of Nashville’s hospitality industry. In town since 1988, he remembers when pre-Bridgestone Arena Broadway was not a place you’d want to be late at night.

But that’s all changed now.

“The weekend transient leisure demand is off the charts,” he says. “All of these people come here for business and go to a convention, and then they go home and say, ‘Honey, we have to go back to Nashville when we can enjoy ourselves.’ And I think that is where a lot of our demand is coming from.”

And if money is no object, he says Omni is a great place to be, offering the only spa in the heart of downtown, a 2,100-square-foot suite that goes for $2,500 a night, 24/7 room service and a concierge staff willing to make guests’ dreams come true.

“We have had people who will go to Lucchese for a custom boot fitting in a private room with champagne service,” he adds. “We have had people rent a Lamborghini for $1,000 at Dream Car Rental on a whim for the day.

“We have had people who have splurged for a VIP tour at Jack Daniel’s Distillery, where they also pay an up fee and get a custom-engraved Jack single barrel bottle. People go to Manuel’s and get a custom blazer.”

And next year they may be partnering with Uber to offer helicopter rides for guests to Bonnaroo, possibly renting the top level of a nearby parking lot or shuttling guests to LP Field in the hotel’s courtesy Yukon.

“We have had groups in Bob’s Steak and Chop House that spend $10,000, and then another group of 11 pay $14,000,” Roadarmel says. “Bob’s has three private dining rooms, so we have had a lot of these big corporations come in and break out the black AmEx and really buy something crazy like a whole bottle of Louis Treize.”

Louis XIII de Remy Martin goes for $175 a shot, with a bottle commanding about $6,000.

“Hunter Hayes came in at CMA Fest and did a buyout of Bongo Java for his fan club,” he adds. “Josh Dorr was on stage, and the venue was packed with 280 people, and Sony bought drinks and food for one hour.”

Roadarmel is still surprised to see how much people will throw down for a bachelorette party, but isn’t surprised by why Nashville has become such a pricy party destination. Hint? It’s the free music.

“Where else in the country can you go to a street like Broadway, go to 20 different venues with live music and never pay a cover charge?” he asks. “It’s good to be in Nashville, that’s all I have to say.”

Nashville’s top flight, top dollar hotels:

Omni Nashville Hotel

250 5th Ave. S.

615-782-5300

www.omnihotels.com/hotels/nashville

Celebrating two years in September, the Omni has quickly become one of those places you can recommend to your no-budget friends with confidence they’ll be impressed. On the very top floor of the hotel is a $2,500/night, 2,100-square-foot suite three floor-to-ceiling windows offering views over the green roof of the Music City Center, down to The Gulch and all the way to Vanderbilt.

But you don’t always have to live large to get a taste of the high life. The eight-room Mokara Spa offers what could be one of the best deals in the city. A Lunch & Luxury package combines a 25-minute spa treatment with a healthy lunch and valet parking for just $60.

Sample rate: King executive suite, top seven floors, $549/night; corner suite, $849/night

Hilton Downtown

121 4th Ave. S.

615-620-1000

www.Hilton.com

It’s amazing what $32 million can buy. In this case, an all-new lobby and updated guestrooms that are properly competing for the influx of business downtown. As the only all-suite, full-service hotel downtown, Hilton has an edge on many of the newer hotels coming in that are just select-service, offering more luxurious amenities and a larger staff to dote on guests.

The feather on the cap of all the upgrades is the recently-opened high-end Trattoria Il Mulino with an upscale menu of Abruzzese-inspired Italian cuisine. As for the location? Tourists can’t do better.

Sample rate: King executive suite, city view $538/night; corner suite, $849/night

Loews Vanderbilt

2100 West End Ave.

615-320-1700

www.loewshotels.com/vanderbilt-hotel

Loews Vanderbilt Hotel’s grand king suite goes for $469 a night. Need more space? It’s your for $3K.

-- Submitted

If pampering is what you’re after, then check yourself into one of the Club Level rooms at Loews with key level access to the private concierge lounge with complimentary food and drinks all day long, as well as concierge service ready to meet any request. Mason Bar has a video wall and wiring capabilities that allow musicians to “plug and play.” The sprawling designer suites – think 1.5 baths and nearly 1,500 square feet for $3,000 a night ­­­– have been upgraded too, with bathrooms featuring granite countertops, travertine floors and views of the skyline that impress.

Sample rate: Luxury king suite, $399/night, grand king room, $469/night

Hermitage Hotel

231 6th Ave. N.

615-244-3121

www.thehermitagehotel.com

A junior suite goes for $499 a night at the 105-year-old Hermitage Hotel.

-- Submitted

You can’t go wrong with a classic, and the 105-year-old Hermitage Hotel is iconic Music City accommodations at its finest.

Even if you don’t get a room, you can rub elbows with the city’s richest and most famous at the Oak Bar – though you might not recognize them. The only hotel in the state to receive five stars on the 2015 Forbes Travel Guide – one more than the Blackberry Farm Hotel and nearby Hutton Hotel – the Capital Grille itself garnered another four stars from the guide. Need a break from the hustle and bustle? Hit up the spa for some deep tissue treatment before tucking into a prime cut raised at the hotel’s own Double H Farms by chef and farmer Tyler Brown.

Sample rate: Junior suite, corner, $499/night

Hutton Hotel

1808 West End Ave.

615-340-9333

www.Huttonhotel.com

This upscale, eco-conscious hotel is not content to play second fiddle to anyone, and their ratings – four stars from Forbes Travel for both the hotel and on-site 1808 Grille – prove it. The rooms feature granite baths with rain showers, and penthouse suites have floor-to-ceiling windows and balconies with panoramic city views, electric fireplace and steam showers. Plus, pets have their own bedding, organic treats and even a concierge for dog walking and grooming so you have time to hit up the spa yourself.

Sample rate: One-bedroom suite, $429; Cardio king with in-suite cardio machine, $459

Union Station

1001 Broadway

615-726-1001

www.Unionstationhotelnashville.com

If history trumps modern, then time spent at the restored century-old railway station should be on the itinerary – after all, it’s hard to beat a 65-foot barrel-vaulted stained glass ceiling. The on-site Prime 108 delivers decadent meals with a southern spin, and since it is just a hop and a skip from the heart of downtown, you get all the views and easy accessibility without the pedal tavern and horse-drawn carriage congestion.

Sample rate: Station master king, $469

Sheraton Nashville Downtown

623 Union St.

615-259-2000

www.Sheratonnashvilledowntown.com

Last year’s $25 million room and lobby renovation was led by the New York designer Anna Busta, and the 28 stories have been truly transformed. Along with brand new guest rooms, the transformed lobby and reception area now has a full-service wine bar and even a 25-story glass chandelier. And if you book one of the rooms on the club level room, you’ll get private key access to the revamped Club Lounge with expansive views of the city, snacks morning and night, and access to concierge services.

Sample rate: Club room, $499/night

404 Hotel and Kitchen

404 12th Ave. S.

615-242-7404

www.The404nashville.com

A king suite with loft at the 404 Hotel would cost about $375/night midweek. You can pamper yourself with Turkish-T towels and robes, and Malin + Goetz toiletries (below).

-- Courtesy Of The 404

Retail developer Mark Banks created this five-room boutique hotel and restaurant from a former mechanics garage as an alternative to large, full-service hotels and instead of a full staff to meet needs, one manager acts as an invisible helper so people feel more immersed in the city. And since it is so small, people have the option to rent the entire place – which sleeps 13 - for $2,000 or less. And right in front is the intimate 404 Kitchen serving up locally-grown produce and herbs. All rooms feature custom and vintage furniture, Sferra linens, Turkish robes, and original artwork by Nashville photographer Caroline Allison.

Book entire hotel: Sun.-Tues., $1,500/Night, Wed.-Sat., $2,000/night.

The Inn at Fontanel

4225 Whites Creek Pike

615-876-2357

www.Fontanelmansion.com

Sure it’s a drive from downtown, but who says that is a bad thing? The new luxury boutique hotel on site at the famous mansion was inspired by Middle Tennessee farmhouse style and built to look as if it has always been there.

Southern Living magazine revamped its 2013 Idea House in the South for guests last year. Inside, there are six unique suites all connected by 2,700 square feet of deck with plush patio furniture and a view of the courtyard of gardens and Porter’s Pond and waterfall.

Sample rate: Starts at $325

Renaissance Nashville

611 Commerce St.

615-255-8400

www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/bnash-renaissance-nashville-hotel

Renaissance Nashville Hotel completed a $20 million guest room renovation last year, plus an additional $5 million simply to update the meeting space.

A remodeled fitness center brought in 50 percent more space, with equipment each outfitted with individual 17” monitors so you can watch what you want while you sweat. A Starbucks and Bridge Entertainment Bistro and Club Lounge provide pick-me-ups when needed.

Sample rate: Club level king, $299/night.

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