The Best Boutique Hotels in Nashville
If you’re looking for a unique place to stay in Nashville, look no further for Southern hospitality and elegant amenities.
We understand brand loyalty, really we do. You worked hard to earn iridium status at your favorite national hotel chain, so you might want to stay in one of those mega-properties on your next visit to Nashville to earn/spend your heap of rewards points. But may we suggest you investigate some of the more interesting boutique hotel options that Music City has to offer for a real taste of Southern hospitality and elegant amenities? You can always earn those points the next time you have to stay somewhere near an airport or an interstate exit.
This hotel in a refurbed former savings and loan building in Nashville’s central business district fully embraces the retro vibe, and the lobby feels like stepping into a bank branch where you’re a valued depositor. Mid-century modern dominates the decor and the cuisine at the fourth-floor restaurant, Ellington’s, named after a former governor of the state. The restaurant’s wraparound deck is an ideal spot for a happy hour sipping on classic cocktails while gazing down at the downtown craziness below. The only thing missing are those ubiquitous stand ashtrays where Don Draper snuffed his cigs while sipping on his fourth martini. Standard rooms are elegantly appointed, and the suites are splashy.
When this venerable property first opened in 1910, it was the first $1 million hotel in Tennessee. It’s still the grande dame of Nashville hotels, with its lovely Beaux Arts architecture and impeccable customer service. The recent addition of two restaurants courtesy of iconic French chef/restaurateur Jean-Georges Vongerichten only solidifies its stature as a downtown fixture. Drusie & Darr is named after the children of the hotel’s GM in the 1960’s who ruled the hotel lobby like Eloise did at the Plaza, and the restaurant features upscale Southern cuisine created with continental twists and seasonal ingredients. The Pink Hermit is an all-day cafe where you can enjoy coffee or cocktails from morning until late night.
This chain of college-affiliated hotels usually pays homage to the local university in locales like Ann Arbor, Oxford, Berkeley, and New Haven. But let’s be honest, as fine of an institution as Vanderbilt is, it doesn’t really move the needle on potential tourists’ accommodation choices. So the Graduate Nashville leans into the vibrant bachelorette culture, specifically featuring the bright colors and flair of their patron saint, Dolly Parton. The entire hotel is decorated in brilliant jewel tones and a massive bust of Dolly looms over the rooftop pool deck and popular bar/restaurant White Limozeen. Animatronic musicians back volunteer karaoke singers at Cross Eyed Critters, and even jaded locals have to admit that the whole gestalt is a lot of fun and somehow works together to create a festive destination.
First off, it’s not called “The Bobby.” The hotel is named after a mythical dude named Bobby who obviously enjoys a good time in downtown Nashville, a traveler who likes fine food at Union Tavern and a pint or a shot of good whiskey at the subterranean Garage Bar. You might also find him at the Rooftop Lounge enjoying a craft cocktail in the retro Greyhound bus that was craned atop the building. The rooms are decorated with memorabilia from Bobby’s world travels along with Nashville-centric accents like guitars hammered to the walls. Come to think of it, Bobby’s a pretty cool guy.
1 Hotel Nashville
One of the city’s newest properties in SoBro points a (solar-powered) spotlight on the idea of sustainability as an important part of a hotel stay. We’re not just talking about leaving your bath towel on the hook to use it again. 1 Hotel integrates thoughtful sustainability into just about every element of its operations. From the gigantic living wall that adorns the entrance of the hotel with 56,000 individual plants to absorb CO2 to the clothes hangers made from 100% recycled paper and high-efficiency lighting and plumbing, 1 Hotel is the sort of place that will make you feel deservedly smug about your low-impact visit to Music City. Beyond the sustainability emphasis, it’s also a lovely property with well-appointed rooms, excellent seasonally focused restaurants, and a spa for self-pampering.
Germantown is pretty much the ideal neighborhood to stay in when visiting Nashville. It’s far enough from the wackiness of Lower Broad to actually get a good night’s sleep, but it’s also a quick rideshare or a pleasant walk to downtown if you want to join the frivolous fun. A stay at the Germantown Inn puts guests in the middle of one of Nashville’s oldest neighborhoods, replete with great restaurants and bars and featuring beautiful old homes and easily walkable sidewalks. The Inn’s building has been around since at least the mid-19th century and has been lovingly restored and updated with ten unique suites accoutered with luxurious linens and premium bath amenities.
Urban Cowboy Nashville
After inexplicably first opening a hotel called “Urban Cowboy'' in Brooklyn, the management group behind this fun boutique hotel quickly made the logical move to Music City’s analog to Brooklyn, East Nashville, for their second location. A former Victorian mansion now houses eight luxurious suites, decorated with dark wood and leather to create a very masculine vibe. Guests mingle at the cozy Parlor Bar or adjourn to the Public House next door for drinks and food provided by another Brooklyn transplant, Roberta’s Pizza. The entire experience is like a visit to Bushwick without taking the A train.
Vandyke Bed and Beverage
Thematic hotel properties are apparently a thing now, but nowhere in Nashville is as committed to its leitmotif as Vandyke Bed & Beverage is to the spirit of spirits. Guests actually check in at the bar, and keys are kept in shelves along with the bottles so that an overserved bar patron can easily check to see if there’s a room available for the evening to sleep it off. Each of the eight rooms is named after a spirit, beer or wine, and the decor is designed to match the vibe. So the Rum room is a tropical oasis and the Vodka room is crisp and white. Every suite also features the expected high-end amenities you’d want in a boutique experience.
21C Museum Hotel
This small chain of luxury boutiques focuses on elevated guest experiences with an artistic bent. Usually housed in renovated historic buildings, 21C Museum Hotels all feature free public art galleries with rotating collections of modern works curated out of the headquarters in Louisville. Nashville’s 21C offers excellent food and drink at the ground level Gray & Dudley restaurant, and don’t be surprised to exit your room to discover one of 21C’s trademark oversized penguin statues waiting outside your door. Staff moves them around the property each day to create unexpected moments of mirth. It’s nice when modern art doesn’t take itself too seriously.
The Dive Motel & Swim Club
From the team behind Urban Cowboy, this motel wouldn’t probably have been tourists’ first choice for lodging before it was converted from a decrepit old motor lodge into a hipster paradise. Each of the 23 rooms is unique in decor and theme, but each one has a “Party Switch” that turns on a suspended disco ball and cranks the tunes from Dive’s in-house radio stations. “Dive” is also a pun on the pool area, a popular gathering spot for guests and locals who purchase day passes to lounge by the water and avail themselves of the cool retro bar or food from the Xiao Bao truck.