In the past decade plus, Nashville has become one of the nation’s hottest leisure travel destinations, attracting music lovers, food lovers, bachelor and bachelorette parties, and sports fans in droves. In fact, in the last “normal” year before the COVID-19 pandemic, the city set an all-time tourism record with 19.1 million visitors. We are only halfway through 2022, but things are recovering fast, and the state of Tennessee says it is on track for a record year.
Nashville is one of the best places to catch live music, at countless bars, and unlike other musically focused cities you don’t have to wait until the evening as the scene here goes on all day. Because Nashville is such a music industry hub and songwriting epicenter, some of the talent you can catch for free are tomorrow’s big stars. Meanwhile today’s big stars perform regularly at legendary venues such as the Ryman Auditorium and Grand Ole Opry. The Country Music Awards are held here, along with annual music festivals like the free, 5-day Live on the Green from radio station Lightning 100. Held at Public Square Park from September 1 to 5, there will be lots of acts including this year’s headliner, Grammy award-winning superstar Sheryl Crow.
The bars and live entertainment has also made it one of the top bachelor and bachelorette destinations in the country, along with the food scene, featuring everything across the Sothern food spectrum, from world class barbeque to the trendy high-end take at places like Husk and The Catbird Seat, and of course Nashville’s own signature food, hot fried chicken. While Las Vegas has carved out a new niche as the nation’s number one sports fan travel destination, Nashville is close behind, a favorite place for NHL hockey and NFL football fans to catch their team for away games while enjoying all the fun Music City offers up. While Vegas just made very big news with the launch of an all new F1 race in 2023, Nashville already has an IndyCar event, the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix, August 5-7. For three days, the streets of downtown will come alive with music, food and racing, and country music superstar Tim McGraw is performing during the weekend.
Nashville already had a lot of cool hotels, but now there is a huge wave of new openings, to be crowned with a luxury Four Seasons coming this fall. There is also a new Ritz-Carlton scheduled for 2025. Approximately 7,000 rooms have opened within the last two years or are currently under construction.
Here’s a roundup:
Among the recent wave, the W Nashville opened in October 2021. It is in the trendy Gulch neighborhood and has 346 rooms. Very pet friendly, W is a Marriott brand and part of the world’s largest (and arguably best) frequent hotel program, Bonvoy.
SoHo House, an industrial-chic combo members club and boutique hotel set in a former sock factory, opened in February 2022 in the Wedgewood-Houston neighborhood. It has just 47 hotel rooms, outdoor pool terrace, and a music performance venue, the Sock Room, with bar and two stages. It is part of London-based SoHo Home, a venerable interior design brand with dozens of “houses” (hotels) worldwide including Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, Miami and Austin in this country.
The newest biggie is the just opened (last month) Conrad Hotel Nashville. Conrad is positioned just below Waldorf Astoria near the top of the luxury brands within the Hilton portfolio. It has 234 rooms and sits near Vanderbilt University, with a rooftop pool terrace.
Also opened last month is Hilton’s all-suite brand, Embassy Suites Nashville Downtown. It’s the largest Embassy Suites in the U.S. with 506 suites. It also features the tallest rooftop in Nashville.
Opening later this month, 1 Hotel Nashville has a sustainability focus and is covered in greenery, with more than 56,000 individual plants inside and out – all fertilizer, insecticide and pesticide free. 1 Hotels is a nature-inspired lifestyle brand, based on a sustainability and local aesthetic, with 9 worldwide locations, most currently in the US, and 8 more under construction, including Paris, London and Melbourne. The 215 rooms feature reclaimed materials like wood walls and organic cotton linens, while the food service features locally sourced farm to table ingredients. There’s a spa and the great location is central, within walking distance of Lower Broadway, the main bar and entertainment area, Bridgestone Arena, Country Music Hall of Fame and the Music City Center.
Opening next month (late August), Hotel Fraye Nashville is a Curio Collection by Hilton property located in the vibrant Midtown neighborhood, just steps away from Music Row, Vanderbilt University and Downtown. Curio is Hilton’s brand for unique, boutique hotels that don’t fit a cookie cutter brand model. It will feature a 7th floor outdoor pool with poolside bar, a casual upscale restaurant, and just over 200 rooms and suites. The 16-story building on the corner of Broadway and 19th Avenue will wrap around one of Nashville’s culinary icons, Hattie B’s Hot Chicken.
Finally, the biggest luxury brand to arrive here comes in September with the debut of the Four Seasons Nashville, just steps away from Broadway and all the sports and entertainment venues, with views of the Cumberland River. On the heels of a similarly game changing opening last year in New Orleans, the newest Four Seasons will feature 235 accommodations, including 42 suites, and two dining destinations. It also has a private residence component, full spa, modern 24-hour fitness center and large seventh floor outdoor infinity pool terrace with a bar and full-service food and drink.
For more information check out Nashville’s excellent official tourism site, Visit Music City.