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The South’s coolest new hotels
The Thompson Nashville
From $349 | 249 miles from Atlanta
Directory: Fitness center, hip, restaurant, romantic, rooftop
The Thompson may be Nashville’s trendiest new destination. The gleaming 12-story glass tower opened in October in the Gulch between Downtown and Music Row, sharing a block with iconic bluegrass joint the Station Inn and not one but two upscale boot shops (Frye and Lucchese, where you can drop 14 grand on alligator cowboy boots). A sophisticated crowd perennially lounges in the lobby sipping Revelator coffee or slurping oysters, while party people flock to the swanky rooftop bar. (Hotel guests get to skip the line at the elevator.)
Art and architecture
Designed by Nashville’s Hastings Architecture, the curved skyscraper marks the luxury Thompson Hotels’ first foray into the South. Inside, New York’s Parts and Labor Design have created a vibe that somehow feels both polished and warm, with brushed brass fixtures and rustic wood accents. Woven wall hangings and splashy, colorful rugs from Tailor-Made Textiles and Eskayel further cozy up the modern space. Rooms feature floor-to-ceiling windows, graphic black and white tile in the bathroom, sliding barn doors, and nods to the city’s musical heritage—like vinyl from Jack White’s Third Man Records for sale on the mini bar.
Drinks and dining
Celebrated New Orleans chef and restaurateur John Besh partnered with the Thompson on its three destination–worthy restaurants. The Marsh House serves up Besh’s famous gumbo, barbecue shrimp, and an extensive raw bar. (The check comes tucked in the pages of a field guide to Gulf Coast oysters.)
At the lobby coffee shop, Killebrew, nab a pour-over and a giant, gooey cinnamon roll. Come evening, the rooftop bar, L.A. Jackson Bar & Restaurant, is where you’ll spot those fancy cowboy boots. Sip absinthe cocktails and snack on boudin balls, enjoying panoramic views from comfy banquettes.
When asked for last-minute “casual but cool” bar and restaurant recommendations, the floral shirt–clad gentleman behind the desk had suggestions at the ready. Start the evening at the bar of the wildly popular Bastion, a short drive away in a converted warehouse space with a smattering of eclectic flea market furniture. (Order the nachos, a heavenly layering of pork and picked veggies.) By 9 p.m., walk-in seats are typically available at the minimalist-chic Little Octopus, a Caribbean–inspired restaurant a stone’s throw from the hotel.
In the rooms, find custom toiletries by hip Brooklyn parfumerie D.S. & Durga, Sferra linens, and Marshall bluetooth speakers shaped like amplifiers. There’s even a denim service courtesy of local partner Imogene and Willie, who’ll outfit you in made-to-measure jeans right in your room (allow 24 hours for delivery). —Mary Logan Bikoff
This article originally appeared in our May 2017 issue.