Hospitality is the heart and soul of the South, and that’s no more apparent than in the region’s robust hotel scene. A cache of new properties has debuted in the past year, with more accommodations opening in the coming months. From a historic church turned boutique hotel to a sprawling farm estate in the countryside, these exciting new properties present well-conceived design and excellent culinary offerings while capturing the history and sense of place in each locale.
An urban-mountain adventure awaits at Fire Station One, a boutique hotel set in a former firehouse on the National Register of Historic Places. Located in downtown Roanoke, the Georgian Revival structure was vacant for 15 years before it was reimagined as a hotel. Now it caters to travelers seeking a getaway in a vibrant city set against a backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Spiral staircases, brass firepoles, original molding, exposed brick walls and 19th century hardwood flooring ensure tons of original character. Furniture designer and maker, TXTUR, is part owner and headquartered at the same address. It curated the seven distinct guest rooms showcasing warm woods, soft neutral tones, leather, rattan and boucle fabrics.
At Stock Bistro & Bar, the hotel’s Nordic-inspired café, every piece is handcrafted, from the food to the furnishings. Expect gravlax sandwiches, Danish meatballs, duck garnished with lingonberry relish and other Scandinavian fare. An event space channeling the feel of an old-school library is another highlight of this unique hotel that opened in fall 2022.
Fire Station One, $288 and up, 13 Church Ave. SE, Roanoke, Virginia. 540-305-3039, firestationone.com
Credit: Heather Durham Photography
Credit: Heather Durham Photography
Located an hour south of Nashville, Southall Farm & Inn is surrounded by rolling hills and a pastoral setting occupying 325 acres of farmland. Part luxury resort, part working farm, the property merges the old with the new in its public spaces, guest rooms and cottages, combining the work of local artisans from the past with materials, furnishings and artwork from the present.
The lifeblood of the estate, The Farm at Southall, hosts guided tours, gardening classes, beekeeping activities, apple picking and foraging sessions, allowing guests to help with harvesting. To decompress, The Southall Spa features an outdoor mineral pool overlooking Lake Mishkin and offers treatments and therapies using ingredients from the farm.
Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, Sojourner specializes in seasonal, locally sourced dishes including crispy pork terrine, Blackhawk Farms short rib and Asian pear cobbler. Visitors can relax with a cocktail by The Pool Bar or join in the fun at The Rambling, a multi-course barbecue at The Conservatory Terrace. Advance purchase required.
Southall Farm & Inn, $839 and up, 1994 Carters Creek Pike, Franklin, Tennessee. 615-282-2000, www. southalltn.com
Credit: Steven Gray
Credit: Steven Gray
Launched in February 2023, the bright white former church now housing Lily Hall dresses up a slice of Pensacola’s Old East Hill neighborhood. The structure dates to 1928 and is number five on the town’s “Seven to Save” list of endangered buildings.
Once the historic Old Mount Olive Baptist Church, this boutique lodging house provides 15 airy guest rooms showcasing a pastel color palette and palm tree patterns. Perks include record players, curated album collections, bike rentals and an around-the-clock virtual concierge.
A concept influenced by backyard barbecues, Brother Fox is the on-site restaurant preparing regionally sourced, Spanish-influenced dishes like chorizo Ibérico, pan-roasted shishitos and prime skirt steak Asada, best enjoyed with a carafe of Margaritas. Sister Hen, the hotel’s prohibition-style tavern, is an intimate space for just 24 people. Once inside the hidden entrance, guests can sip elegant cocktails by candlelight in this moody speakeasy that nods to the hospitality of the 1920s-1940s.
Lily Hall, $180 and up, 415 N. Alcaniz St., Pensacola, Florida. 850-304-7944, lilyhall.com
Credit: JB McCabe
Credit: JB McCabe
Charleston, South Carolina
Opened in March, The Palmetto captures the natural beauty, laid-back elegance and gracious hospitality the Lowcountry city is known for. Guest rooms feature king-sized beds, some with French doors that open onto balconies, and are appointed with botanical wall coverings, a light-neutral color palette and subtle period details like tall ceilings and decorative millwork.
Swathed in rich wood accompanied by brass accents, The Lobby Bar is a comfortable nook to unwind in and quaff Charleston-inspired drinks like The Lowcountry Sunrise (Kakira Rum, Chinola Passion Fruit, fresh lime, Velvet Falernum). There’s no on-site eatery, but next door is Slightly North of Broad (SNOB), a fine-dining restaurant highlighting Southern cuisine, or High Cotton, a spot to hear live music and dine on buttermilk fried oysters and shrimp and grits.
Tucked in the Holy City’s French Quarter, this hotel places guests within a stumble of Market and King streets, the Battery and a slew of shops, restaurants and galleries.
The Palmetto Hotel, $296 and up, 194 E. Bay St., Charleston, S.C. 843-823-3604, palmettohotelcharleston.com
Asheville, North Carolina
If there’s one Southern city known for its free-spiritedness, it’s Asheville. Having debuted in April 2023, The Restoration Hotel aspires to spotlight the town’s bohemian vibe while focusing on travel experiences. The luxury hotel offers packages such as Girls’ Getaway for a ladies-only weekend escape, Recreate Romance to reconnect with a significant other or Outdoor Adventure to explore Asheville’s mountainous terrain.
Modern suites provide plenty of space, city views, late-night cookies, local house-blend coffee and in-room spa services. The Exchange Restaurant + Bar serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, dishing out roasted beet spaetzle, mushroom Bolognese and fried trout po’ boys. Set on the cellar level, The Draftsman is a watering hole pairing local beer and craft cocktails with live music and a vintage bowling alley. And to chill out and watch the sunset against gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountain vistas, guests can head to The Observatory Rooftop, a botanical rooftop bar, lounge and event space.
The Restoration Hotel, $215 and up, 68 Patton Ave., Asheville, N.C. 828-220-0368, therestorationhotel.com
Slated to open in May 2023, just in time for the Kentucky Derby, Hotel Genevieve is a new build from the hospitality group Bunkhouse located in Louisville’s trendy NuLu neighborhood, also known as the East Market District. Hotel Genevieve and its 122 rooms will capture Louisville’s French origins while paying tribute to the state.
The interior design will feature bold hues, retro-style furnishings and details that honor Kentucky’s quilt history. Dining options include Rosette, which will channel a French bistro theme, and Bar Genevieve, a Parisian-style rooftop restaurant and bar serving cocktails and light bites inspired by French street food. For guests who prefer an under-the-radar experience, Lucky Penny is a clandestine drinking den offering snacks and libations into the wee hours.
Hotel Genevieve, $146 and up, 730 E. Market St. Louisville, Kentucky. 502-676-7199, bunkhousehotels.com/hotel-genevieve
About the Author
Credit: Family photo
Credit: Channel 2 Action News