Our go-to guide to Nashville hotels

We break it down—6 hotels for every personality, from music lovers to history buffs.

Nashville has always had a reputation as the country music capital of the world, but if I can be honest, when I first visited 25 years ago, it felt like a sleepy backwater without much for visitors besides the Grand Ole Opry, a handful of honky tonks along Broadway, and a biscuit joint here and there. What a difference a couple of decades makes.

These days, Nashville is not only the new bachelorette capital of the world (sorry, Las Vegas) and the place that launched Taylor Swift’s career, it’s also a serious travel destination with boundary-pushing hotels that are doubling down on this city’s cool factor. They’ve got nightlife, they’ve got restaurants that are reinventing what Southern cuisine is all about, and they’ve got style for days.

With new properties opening faster than you can say “hey y’all,” Nashville’s hotel options are endless, but this finely tuned list of six spots—scattered throughout various neighborhoods—will help you experience the best this city has to offer.

No place embodies Nashville’s new sophistication more than The Joseph. Set in a sleek downtown skyscraper, the hotel blends art, music, gastronomy, and craftsmanship (though it’s not too fancy—my 11-year-old loved it). It’s owned by Ron and Ann Pizzuti, a pair of real estate developers and art collectors whose paintings and sculptures are everywhere you look. Outside the front door is a black London cab (no Nashville connection, but why not?)—and it can take guests around town for experiences like a custom boot-making session.

Room scene: The 297 rooms have spa-like bathrooms, skyline views, and music-themed details: drawer pulls inspired by the knobs on a guitar, pillows hand-stitched with designs from the Nudie suits worn by the country world’s biggest stars. Splurge on a suite—each comes with a turntable and Bose speakers (the property has a lending library stocked with vinyl records). When celebs are in town, their stay of choice is The Joseph’s sprawling 20th floor Presidential Suite: Its centerpiece is a restored 1920s Steinway baby grand piano. Mere mortals will never stay there, but we can all dream, can’t we?

Restaurant report: Yolan, the hotel’s signature restaurant, is run by Michelin-starred chef Tony Mantuano (who made his name at Spiaggia in Chicago) and his wife, Cathy (who is behind the wine list). It’s got a menu that celebrates Sicily, a massive glass cheese cave, and small details like hand-blown wine glasses. Don’t miss the special monthly events (wine tastings, pasta-making classes), and free weekly “epicurean moments” (fresh-baked focaccia on Saturdays at 2 p.m., the Shakerato espresso drink on Sundays at 4 p.m.). On the rooftop, the more casual Denim serves up poolside bites and killer views.

Don’t miss: Four Walls, The Joseph’s moody speakeasy-style bar, draws design inspiration from retro Spaghetti Westerns—think, fringe accents, hide-covered walls. The drink to order: the Paisano, a riff on a dirty martini with olive oil and a rose-cut, frozen green tomato (yes, there’s a whole tomato in the cocktail).

The area: In the heart of downtown’s SoBro district (short for South of Broadway), you’re just steps away from the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Bridgestone Arena—an unbeatable location for culture vultures. And check out the BBQ at Martin’s, right next door.

Travelers say: “We had a great experience. It’s in a perfect location. Close enough to Broadway to walk there, but a few blocks away so you don’t have the craziness in front of your hotel. I’ve been trying out a few of the downtown hotels in Nashville for the past year. I think The Joseph has become my favorite. The rooms are really nice and well done. The bar and restaurant are excellent. The staff is extremely friendly and accommodating. Most of the downtown hotels have positives and negatives. It’s hard to find anything to complain about at The Joseph. I will definitely stay there on my next visit.”—@Chris L

A pink-and-red painting above a credenza decorated with neon at the Graduate Nashville.

The spirit of Tennessee’s favorite daughter, Dolly Parton, looms large at the Graduate, a quirky, colorful hotel with an outrageously bold design that’s as much an Instagram backdrop as it is a place to rest your head. (Don’t miss posing with the massive Dolly sculpture by the rooftop pool.) The Graduate hotel brand was created to provide hip stays in collegiate settings—Vanderbilt University is right nearby. It’s all about experiences: You can hire the hotel’s stretch white limo to take you cruising around town.

Room scene: The retro-preppy rooms have wild colors and patterns (floral fabrics, striped wallpaper), whimsical artwork (paintings of Dolly Parton and Patsy Cline), and squirrel-themed moments like sculptures and drawer pulls (a nod to Vanderbilt’s mascot). Kids will love the Family Suite: One room has a pair of twin beds with guitar-inspired headboards, a horse-shaped loveseat, and a pint-sized table and chairs.

Restaurant report: The rooftop restaurant, White Limozeen, takes its name from one of Dolly’s early albums—it’s loud and pink and serves up French food with a Southern twang (goat cheese croquettes with onion jam, a Banana Split with bruleed bananas, caramel, and pecans). Be sure to order a round of champagne Jello shots, best enjoyed by the pretty-in-pink pool with amazing skyline views. The lobby cafe, Poindexter Coffee, is always buzzing.

Don’t miss: Sing your heart out at the divey Cross-Eyed Critters, the world’s first animatronic karaoke bar (it’s got a back-up band of adorable robotic critters).

The area: Midtown is the backdrop, with a mix of mom-and-pop restaurants (get Hattie B’s chicken a couple blocks away) and chic boutiques. Vanderbilt University adds a youthful energy to the neighborhood, while nearby Music Row is a reminder of the city’s melodic roots (check out the historic recording studio, RCA Studio B).

Travelers say: “The lobby is filled with visually appealing spaces to sit and take pics! Upstairs Bar, late night stage and morning coffee bar buzz makes it a fun place to stay sun up to sun down! There is no shortage of eye candy from the people to the décor!”—@annasollars

A parlor decorated with musical instruments at Urban Cowboy.

The Urban Cowboy brand was born in Brooklyn, and it shows—this outpost in a converted 1898 Victorian mansion brings that boho-chic aesthetic to residential East Nashville. It’s a place where free spirits find a home, with eclectic design and a laid-back vibe.

Room scene: Each of the eight rooms is one of a kind, with locally sourced art, vintage furniture, a blend of textures and patterns, and claw-foot tubs. Our favorite room is the Cabin, a sprawling loft hidden above an old carriage house in the backyard—with a king- and a queen-size bed, it’s perfect for a big group or a family.

Restaurant report: The Public House has inventive dishes made in partnership with Roberta’s—a cutting-edge pizza brand from Brooklyn (of course). Get the fan-favorite Bee Sting with tomato, mozzarella, basil, soppressata, chili, and honey. The backyard bar, with its fire pits and live music, is a hidden gem. (Loyalists wait all year for the seasonal Hot Toddy, which is like a boozy eggnog cocktail.)

Don’t miss: The common areas feel like a living room, inviting guests to make connections as they would at a friend’s house party. Most nights, the lobby turns into a makeshift lounge, with local musicians performing. Grab a leather club chair and a glass of wine from the Parlor Wine Bar, which serves up an interesting list of organic and small-batch bottles. Then settle in for the (free) show.

Travelers say: “The most adorable, aesthetically pleasing bad ass place I’ve ever stayed at! It’s definitely not for everyone as the rooms are somewhat small and there are no showers, just beautiful claw foot tub‘s. Having said that, I would stay at Urban Cowboy over ANY hotel in Nashville. It’s off the beaten path of music row madness and located in the most adorably quaint neighborhood. The staff were INCREDIBLY kind, welcoming and straight up cool! Love this gem!!!!”—@Jeanine P

The gilded lobby space of The Hermitage Hotel with coffered ceilings.

It doesn’t get more iconic than The Hermitage Hotel, a Beaux-Arts landmark that opened in 1910—the city’s first luxury stay—and witnessed major moments in music and politics along the way. The Hermitage hosted pivotal discussions on women’s suffrage leading up to the final vote that was placed in 1920 at the nearby state capitol. And the music for one of the country world’s first hits, “Near You” (later performed by George Jones and Tammy Wynette), was originally written by a pianist who used to play here back in the day. The hotel was recently given a major revamp, but good news—it didn’t take away from its historic charms.

Room scene: The 122 guest rooms and suites are impressively large (averaging 500 square feet) and have classic details like crown molding and marble baths. The most lavish is the 1,500-square-foot Hermitage Suite, which comes with thoughtful touches like stationery personalized with your name.

Restaurant report: The Hermitage is home to Drusie & Darr, chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s first restaurant in the South. (Reviewers are really into the smoked salmon hash with caviar and the warm shrimp salad.) For a more casual affair, there’s the Pink Hermit, which has a new Italian-inspired menu full of artisanal pastries and wood-fired pizzas.

Don’t miss: The lower-level bathrooms. Since the 1930s, the men’s room, with its green-and-black Art Deco design and a proper shoe-shine stand, has been a legendary photo op (ladies, just knock first). And thanks to the recent renovations, the women’s room now has an awesome Instagram backdrop of its own in pink marble.

The area: Located in a prime spot in downtown Nashville, the Hermitage is an ideal base for music lovers, right near Ryman Auditorium and Broadway’s honky tonks (hit up Robert’s Western World for old-school bands and the best fried bologna sandwich in town).

Travelers say: “The Hermitage was amazing. The staff was awesome. The room was perfect. The location is great. I enjoyed sitting by the fire place in the beautiful lobby in the evening sipping on a glass of wine. I couldn’t ask for more.”—@Pam H

A room at 1 Hotel Nashville with wood panels and wood beamed ceilings.

For travelers who want an upscale experience while being mindful of their environmental footprint, there’s 1 Hotel Nashville. The hotel’s commitment to sustainability is seen in the absence of single-use plastics, the all-natural treatments at Bamford Wellness Spa, in-room chalkboards to reduce paper use, and an onsite bee garden that produces honey for dishes and cocktails. There are fun indulgences here, too, like bartender battles and live DJ sets.

Room scene: The rooms and suites offer a quiet sanctuary from the Broadway action right nearby. Rooms have eco-chic touches like rough-hewn poster beds, reclaimed wood-paneled walls, organic cotton linens, and live greenery that brings nature indoors. And the expansive views stretching out across the city can’t be beat.

Restaurant report: The main restaurant is 1 Kitchen Nashville, run by Top Chef alum and executive chef Chris Crary. Here, the dining options highlight farm-to-table experiences, with ingredients sourced from local farms and purveyors (check out the quarterly dinner series, Suppers that Sustain Us). At Harriet’s Rooftop Bar, you’ll find organic cocktails, naturally, and more breathtaking city views. There’s also a casual cafe, Neighbors, with picnic-inspired eats.

Don’t miss: At 1 Hotel, you can feel good about what you drink. At the restaurants and bars, keep an eye out for “ZW” in the cocktail title—which indicates a drink that has been created using every bit of the ingredients, resulting in no waste in the process. Talk about sipping sustainably.

The area: Located in SoBro, you’re right by Nashville’s best honky tonks. A few blocks away is the Gulch neighborhood, with trendy shops and innovative restaurants (from down-and-dirty breakfast bites at Biscuit Love to 404 Kitchen, one of the hardest-to-get reservations in town).

Travelers say: “The 1 hotel Nashville is a paradise in the center of Nashville. Walking distance from Broadway street. Great location! The design is stunning, everything is based on sustainability. The room was so pretty and I could tell they pay attention to every single detail.”—@Clod182

The outdoor pool at The Dive Motel & Swim Club.

A sister property to the Urban Cowboy, The Dive Motel channels the spirit of the 70s with its vintage, disco-inspired vibes. But adjust your expectations—this isn’t about a luxurious stay or hand-holding concierge service. This is a grown-up spot (21+ only) that’s all about reveling in nostalgia and having a good time.

Room scene: Each of the 23 rooms has a different look with period decor (furry pink bedspreads, shag carpeting) that’ll transport you back in time. Some of the suites have huge soaking tubs. The retro minibars are stocked with all the supplies you need to turn your room into party central (even condoms).

Restaurant report: While The Dive doesn’t have a proper restaurant, it’s famous for its wood-paneled Dive Bar, serving up craft beers and cocktails alongside a menu of comfort food that’s perfect for late-night cravings. During the day, you can grab a drink from the Dive Bar and chill by the pool.

Don’t miss: There’s a secret button in each room—hit it, and your room instantly turns into a private dance club with a spinning disco ball and blasting music from the cheeky playlists (Sex, Drugs, Rock ‘n Roll, or Sleep).

The area: Set on along gritty Dickerson Pike, this is not an area you necessarily want to wander around after hours—it’s the land of gun shops and truly divey dive bars—but it’s considered an up-and-coming corner of Nashville, so keep an eye on this space.

Travelers say: “This place is super retro. It’s got a freakin’ awesome vibe! We intended to do a cabana day out by the pool, but unfortunately a thunderstorm got in the way. Instead, we ended up chilling in the bar room all day. The drinks were tasty and moderately priced, the staff was very nice, and no one gave us a hard time about refunding us for the cabana!”—@Clayton Cohn


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