First Images: The W Nashville Hotel Opens in Downtown Music City

You’d almost think a global pandemic never happened. Indeed, the hospitality juggernaut known as W has intrepidly defied the considerable odds in 2021, opening new hotels in Melbourne, Osaka and Philadelphia since the beginning of the year, with Toronto and Rome on the way later in autumn (that’s four total continents, if you didn’t happen to be counting). And in between those five, Nashville has just welcomed its inaugural W, with the first guests strolling through its 12th Street main entrance just this week.

As has been well documented, surely, Music City has seen its downtown grow with considerable gusto over the last decade or so – and thus the W Nashville turns out to be just up block the from the Thompson, and practically around the corner from the Virgin, making for a kind of triangle of hospitality hip. But W’s raison d’être is creating distinctly social spaces – and here there are six separate streetside entrances, as well as peek-a-boo public areas, all of which serve to encourage coming in and joining the scene – even if one isn’t checked in as a guest. There is also 26,000 square feet of outdoor space, certainly unusual for a hotel located in a major metropolis.

Design, always an urgency at W, was overseen by David Tessier and Anna Gomez of Hospitality & Gaming Advisors (whose previous and current projects include the Fontainebleau Miami, the EDITION Iceland, and the Belmond Cap Julua Resort), with the public spaces and rooms – all 346 of them, including a pair of Extreme WOW presidential suites – being executed by the venerable Rockwell Group. Liberal use of local materials like iron, steel, wood, leather and polished/raw concrete throughout make it feel very…Nashville. As does a mural of Jimi Hendrix by Bryan Deese that adorns the hotel’s facade – since it was in this very city that the possibly-greatest-guitarist-ever honed his style in the early ’60s.

And speaking of that outdoor space, the W actually boasts its own contemporary version of Rome’s Spanish Steps, 42 flights of concrete with wooden seating platforms, that will do double time as an amphitheater, and just a place to meet and hang out. There’s also the 10,000 square foot WET Deck, with the largest pool in the entire city; the Barista Parlor coffee shop with secret garden; and the 14th floor rooftop bar Proof, complete with steel corner fireplace, hidden sunset “catwalk,” and a print of Jim Marshall’s iconic image of the Grateful Dead’s dearly departed Jerry Garcia.

Back indoors, the signature Living Room lounge has design elements meant to mimic those of a recording studio (get the theme?). And for epicures, chef Andrew Carmellini will oversee a version of his wildly popular NYC upscale-comfort-food restaurant The Dutch, as well as Carne Mare, a fine dining Italian chophouse with a raw bar, Spicy Lobster Spaghetti, and 45-day dry-aged Bistecca Fiorentina.

But perhaps acknowledging that any stay at a W can tend to be a highly sensory experience, the brand is also introducing a totally new concept with this hotel: the Welcome Den. It’s a large communal room accessible only with a guestroom key, allowing for a tipple or two while you work, or perhaps just a chance to chill out and take in the handsome skyline of the Tennessee capital – where counting the construction cranes might just make for a whole new kind of meditation.

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