Hops and Skips

Christmas on Display in Downtown Nashville

2020 has inarguably been a dumpster fire of a year. Social gatherings have ground to a halt; holidays and celebrations have been upended; vacations never even got so far as being planned. As we’ve approached a holiday season that was already going to be lacking so much (the parties, travel, and family), it’s been a bit of a challenge to find the holiday cheer. So instead of depending on steadfast traditions to color the season, we’ve had to get a little more creative and find the festive in atypical places.

I’m desperate for any sort of outing at this point. Having been stuck at home for such a larger proportion of time than usual, I’m antsy to get my feet moving and see something – anything – new. Especially now, playing tourist at home has been the best way to find a new perspective.

Downtown Nashville has exploded with new boutique hotels in the past five or so years. They’re all beautifully stylized (a pre-requisite of any new business venture), made for a magazine spread or Instagram feed. Needing an outing, we headed downtown to check out how some of the most stylish spots in the city decorated for Christmas.

NOELLE | 4th Ave and Church St.

The Noelle opened in 2017 in a 1929 building once occupied by the Noel Hotel. The style inside pays serious homage to its era of origin; this is art deco at its most beautiful. The careful attention to detail highlights the architecture as well as the space’s personal history. (Search for the Archive Room tucked away above a lobby bar.) There is a ton of space inside, with high ceilings and staircases leading to lofted nooks, which makes this hotel a pleasure to peruse and explore.

BOBBY HOTEL | 4th Ave and Bankers Alley

The Bobby opened in 2018 and has a more edgy, rock star vibe. The lobby has low ceilings with a fireplace and lounge that create a more cozy, intimate setting. The art and decor is over-the-top, combining uncharacteristic patterns and textures for a one-of-a-kind aesthetic. The rooftop bar is one of the city’s newest trendy spots with an old 1950s bus for a bar and, in the winter, individual heated igloos that are made for Influencer feeds.

FAIRLANE HOTEL | 4th Ave and Union

Walking into the Fairlane is like walking onto the set of Mad Men. It opened in 2018 in a former bank, and the lingering architectural details – vaulted ceilings and wrap-around windows – set the foundation for the sleek mid-century style the hotel has embraced. Even the dining options follow this trend; in the lobby, you’ll find the Union Teller coffee counter and delicatessen, and on the fourth floor, Ellington’s offers an outdoor terrace for lunch and dinner. 

THE HERMITAGE HOTEL | 6th Ave and Union

Quite the opposite from Nashville’s new and trendy spots, The Hermitage is the city’s oldest hotel, a landmark of downtown since 1910. This is a must-see, at any time but especially during the holidays, when the resplendent lobby is sprinkled with Christmas decor and special dining opportunities, like afternoon tea, offer classic experiences. While you’re meandering, you can learn the hotel’s historic connection to the 19th Amendment, and don’t leave without exploring the Oak Bar, a vestige of prohibition era leisure. (And especially don’t pass up a glimpse into the infamous art deco men’s restroom!)

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