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THE GRANDE DAME OF NASHVILLE’S HOSPITALITY HISTORY REMAINS AS COLORFUL AND DISTINGUISHED AS ITS ROSTER OF FAMOUS GUESTS.
Photographed by Steve Thornton
When it comes to historic hotels of the South, few can compare to the regal elegance and impressive guest book of The Hermitage. Commissioned by 250 Nashville locals in 1908, The Hotel Hermitage opened its doors in 1910 and began a legacy of hosting dignitaries and entertainment royalty, as well as prominent politicians and a number of Presidents, six to be exact.
Located in the heart of Music City, adjacent to the state capitol, the Hermitage Hotel is the only remaining grand hotel in the city and the only commercial Beaux Arts structure in the state of Tennessee. Following the completion of a multi-million dollar restoration in 2003, this beloved hotel is once again a showplace that combines convenience with splendor in five-star luxury.
Upon entering the property, a newly-created grand foyer leads into the Hermitage’s stunning lobby, called one of the most beautiful public rooms in America.
The Hermitage Hotel offers 123 luxurious, over-sized guest rooms and suites with luxurious bathrooms and views of the city. From the Capitol view rooms one can see Legislative Plaza and the Tennessee State Capitol building just across the street.
The Hermitage was Nashville’s first million-dollar hotel when it opened. Designed by J.E.R. Carpenter, the hotel was named for Andrew Jackson’s estate, The Hermitage. The interior of the original hotel boasted elegant furnishings, a beautiful skylight designed by Italian artisan Hotijy, and Grecian marble accents in the magnificent lobby.
The hotel billed itself as “fire proof, noise proof, and dust proof.” The Grille Room, which now houses the hotel’s restaurant, was built by craftsmen imported from Germany, and later became a private gentlemen’s club.
The Hermitage quickly became the preferred gathering place for Nashville’s socialites and was the headquarters for the suffragette movement in 1920, as Tennessee cast the deciding ballot, giving women the right to vote. Nashville is known as Music City, and the Hermitage has enjoyed a long relationship with the entertainment industry.
The hotel was alive with music during the 1930s and 1940s as the sounds of the “Big Band” era swept the country. Newcomer Dinah Shore performed here in 1949. The hotel was also home to legendary pool player Minnesota Fats. For more than eight years, Fats had his own table on the Mezzanine above the lobby, from where he was known to regularly challenge all comers.
The hotel’s current restaurant is The Capitol Grille, and offers creative cuisine coupled with an understated style of traditional elegance and old-world charm. Executive Chef Tyler Brown prepares memorable and creative Southern dishes with an emphasis on Black Angus beef and game. Dining is also available in the Oak Bar, a relaxing retreat that offers an extensive wine list, cocktails and a casual dining menu.
The Hermitage Hotel is centrally located in the heart of downtown Nashville, within walking distance of the Nashville Convention Center, the financial district and a multitude of business and entertainment venues. The hotel is also convenient to the Tennessee Performing Arts Center and the State Museum. The Ryman Auditorium and Tennessee Titans Coliseum are just a few blocks away.
For those relishing to experience true Southern hospitality in a cradle of historic grandeur, The Hermitage will not disappoint.