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Waheeda Harris

Contributing writer

Waheeda Harris is a freelance journalist who writes about travel, design, culture, cuisine, style and the people who are passionate about what they create.

Music City is having its moment in the limelight. It is the weekend destination many travelers are craving because of its abundant southern hospitality, endless places to hear live music and numerous restaurants to satiate the desire for soul food and barbecue. The 180-room Kimpton Aertson puts visitors close to the action: the LEED-designed 17-story building is part of a mixed-use development which includes an adjacent residential building, restaurants and easy access to Nashville’s attractions.

Street cred: It’s all about location

Located east of fabled Music Row and steps from Vanderbilt University in Midtown, the Aertson’s neighborhood includes two mouthwatering food options: Hattie B’s Hot Chicken and Biscuit Love Gulch, two restaurants serving southern delicacies from sun up to sun down. The hotel is a 10-minute taxi ride from the Ryman Auditorium, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and the Johnny Cash Museum, and five minutes from the nightly offerings of Lower Broadway’s honky tonk bars.

Who hangs here: Is this the hotel for you

This stylish home away from home works for business travelers or travel pals who appreciate modern design and laid-back luxury, while also a good choice for couples who want to be close to the action but prefer a quiet retreat for a little romance.

The straight goods: What’s in the room

Sleek and simple rooms feature warm wood accents paired with deep blue drapes, leather headboard and a custom-made print from Hatch Show Print, maker of letterpress posters for musicians and politicians since 1879. Standard amenities include complimentary Wi-Fi, inventive custom lighting, flatscreen TV, Jawbone Jambox speaker system, Aertson grey bathrobes and a yoga mat in every closet.

A round marble table with chair works as an impromptu office space while the chaise lounge is a laid-back spot to relax with a book or for a disco nap before planning the night’s activities.

The bathroom is small and simply designed with a white subway-tiled shower and a marble counter surrounding the sink as well as a black metal shelving unit for towels, Bloem bath amenities, hair dryer and storage for all those bedtime necessities. A wall mural of an architectural drawing of a Nashville highrise enhances the geometric style.

Bragging rights: What else has it got?

Kimpton Aertson offers accessible rooms with modified bathtubs or roll-in showers and other universal design features within the rooms and throughout the hotel. PUBLIC cruiser bikes can be borrowed to explore the city, a fitness center has all the bells and whistles for a workout and the perfect reward: time on the rooftop pool deck or a spa treatment in the 4,000 square foot Woodhouse Day Spa. And missing Fido or Kitty? They’re welcome to visit too.

Good eats: Cocktails and cuisine

Modern American Brasserie Henley offers a contemporary taste of southern cuisine, inspired by seasonal ingredients and classic French cooking techniques. The historic Old-Fashioned cocktail gets an upgrade with a splash of walnut bitters while tasty sharing platters like the Henley Charcuterie Board and Bloomy Rind cheese board featuring locally-sourced options are perfect for snack time, but when hunger strikes, consider the hearty Duck and Dumplings, BBQ Brisket or Grilled Andouille and Potato Salad. Complimentary coffee, tea and water are always on offer in the lobby.

A few of our favorite things: What stood out?

Kimpton Aertson hosts a daily complimentary wine hour between 5-6 p.m., where staff are happy to share their fave tips about Music City. Another must—explore the hotel’s public spaces to see the contemporary art collection including a rope sculpture by Orly Genger at the hotel’s front desk, Redberry, a colorful thread installation by Anne Lindberg near the elevator and a white birch sculpture by Cha Jong Rye in the lobby.

Parting shot: If we could change one thing

Considering where it is, it seems odd no live music is offered in the hotel but there are endless options less than five minutes away.

A standard king room for two starts at US$246.00 per night and guests can include breakfast in Henley for an additional $5 when making a reservation.

(Photo credits: Kimpton Aertson)

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