Historic Nashville Hotels

by Andrea Whyte

Nashville has a rich history, but almost all the hotels that populated the area at the turn of the 20th century have been destroyed or used for a different purpose. A handful of luxury historic hotels exist in Nashville today, as well as family-owned bed and breakfasts in historic houses.

The Hermitage Hotel

Nashville's first grand hotel, which opened in 1910, is still in operation and has been restored to its original glory. The hotel lists past guests including five former presidents, Al Capone, Bette Davis, Greta Garbo and Charlton Heston. The impressively restored facade hints at the trip to another era that waits behind those grand doors. Standard rooms are larger than those in the average luxury hotel, and the Hermitage prides itself on elegance and opulence. The decor reflects early 20th-century fashion, and personal services include a bath concierge who will draw you a warm bath with rose petals, as well as staff on hand solely to pamper your pet. Amenities include a large fitness center, spa, cocktail hour in the grand lobby and complimentary morning tea and cookies. Dining options include the historic fine dining Capitol Grille and the Oak Bar.

Union Station Hotel

A former railway station, the Union Station Hotel has been transformed into a premier luxury accommodation in the heart of Nashville. As a railway station, the building opened in 1910 and was a major hub of commercial enterprise in the South. Romanesque architecture characterizes the building's facade, and the station is filled with eccentric stories of the past; for instance, it once featured two alligator ponds in the lobby. Union Station opened as a hotel in 1986 and then went through an $11 million renovation, reopening in 2007. The hotel's 125 guest rooms and 25 suites have plush furniture and marble bathrooms. Amenities include a fitness center, fine dining restaurant and lounge, as well as plenty of large spaces for corporate events and weddings. The Union Station Hotel still looks out onto working railroad tracks, so be prepared for some noise.

Hotel Indigo Nashville

Opened in March 2010, the Hotel Indigo occupies the adjacent American Trust and Nashville Trust buildings, historically significant to the area through their past commercial importance and art deco architecture. The Hotel Indigo is centrally located downtown, around the corner from Printer's Alley, Nashville's first big entertainment district. The facade of the hotel remains unchanged from the 1920s, when the Trust buildings were constructed, and the original terrazzo floors remain, but the decor is modern. Ninety-six guest rooms join three floors of extended-stay suites, including an upscale penthouse; ground-floor retail outlets; and eight floors of commercial offices. The rooms have oversize beds and spa-inspired showers. Hotel amenities include a fitness center, fine dining restaurant and complimentary Wi-Fi access.

Top O'Woodland Historic Inn & Wedding Chapel

Top O'Woodland Historic Inn & Wedding Chapel lies in a quiet residential neighborhood. Originally a doctor's mansion, the Top O'Woodland house was built between 1898 and 1904. The house has since changed hands many times, with the carriage house having the distinction of housing Nashville's first Dairy Queen, which operated for 40 years. The carriage house now holds the catering kitchens of Top O'Woodland, which service weddings on the property. Though primarily popular with a wedding crowd, due to the adjacent chapel and features that include a parlor with a grand piano, the Top O'Woodland also acts as a bed and breakfast, providing a romantic and affordable spot for a weekend getaway. Rooms are furnished in antiques and have fireplaces and bay windows. Top O'Woodland's quiet location is just a few blocks away from downtown Nashville, so visitors can still enjoy all the energy of the city.

About the Author

Andrea Whyte has worked as an academic and commercial writer since 2005. She has contributed to the "Canadian Film Encyclopedia" and written informative articles as a copywriter for a major Internet-marketing firm. Whyte holds a Master of Arts in cinema studies from the University of Toronto.