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The good ol’ Southern road trip is making a comeback, and our lodging options are widening, too. The South has an ever-growing number of new boutique hotels opening up in the usual suspect larger cities, but also in some of our up-and-coming smaller ones. We have three new (and very different) hotels to peek into — from a funky, charity-focused East Nashville space … to a chic and historic Kentucky building … to Huntsville, Alabama’s first boutique hotel.

3 New Southern Hotels

The Gallatin Hotel | Nashville, Tennessee

2510 Gallatin Ave, Nashville, TN 37206 • (615) 861-1634

New to East Nashville and touting a worthy mission is the quirky Gallatin Hotel. Housed in a 1925-constructed building that was once a church, the hotel adds 25 guestrooms of various sizes and layouts to Nashville’s hospitality scene.

Everything from the bright hues to the clever signage to the ample congregating space is meant to unite and uplift. You just cannot help but smile as you walk around the property. A little different than a regular hotel, there’s no front desk for arrival and checkout. It’s all contact-free and meant to keep things easy, breezy, and affordable. Enjoy the lobby photo booth, a retro powder room, in-room snacks, and ample space to sun in the yard.

Colorful entryway to the Gallatin Hotel

Unique to Nashville’s hotel scene, but not a strange sight in off-beat East Nashville, the entrance welcomes all before you’re even at the front door. Image: Unpplr

The Gallatin Hotel

Convenient lockers are available in the lobby for eager early check-ins to get a jump start on exploring! Image: Unpplr

The Gallatin Hotel

Depending on your group size and budget, you can book a queen room, a bunk room (pictured here is one of the bunk room’s common rooms), or lots of options in between. Image: Unpplr

The Gallatin Hotel outdoors chairs

The Gallatin Hotel and its two sister properties are the top-ranked “specialty lodging” hotels in Nashville on TripAdvisor. Feel great about your booking (for multiple reasons) next time you’re in Music City. Image: Unpplr

Anchor Investments calls this trio of Nashville properties — The Gallatin, The Russell, and 506 Flats —  “Mission Hotels” because they’re on a mission to donate more than half of their proceeds. They’ve teamed up with non-profit partners like Nashville Rescue Mission, Room in the Inn, People Loving Nashville, and ShowerUp and plan to add more as bookings pick up. As of early this year, Mission Hotels has donated more than 100,000 meals, beds, showers, and supplies to people experiencing homelessness in Nashville.

Reservations are now open, and there’s a lot to get excited about around the property. The hotel’s next-door partners plan to open an event venue and a Fat Bottom Brewery outpost in July. Lucky for guests, craft beer and tasty snacks will be just a hallway away. Visit thegallatinhotel.com and follow along on Instagram.

RELATED: Worth the Drive: 3 New Restaurants in the South

The Grady Hotel | Louisville, Kentucky

601 W Main St, Louisville, KY 40202 • (502) 434-3700

Nestled in the heart of Louisville’s downtown Market District in a 19th-century historic building is the darling hotel, The Grady. The 51-key luxury hotel just opened steps away from the Muhammad Ali Center, Frazier History Museum, Louisville Slugger Museum, Distillery Row, and a slew of Louisville’s buzziest eateries and bars.

The Grady Hotel

The Grady pays homage to its storied past from the exterior to room details. The restoration of its renaissance revival-style façade, clad with ornamental detailing, is the first example you meet upon arrival. Image: The Grady Hotel

Grady Hotel Interior Detail

Each of its 51 guest rooms provides pops of navy, copper, and maroon, featuring massive original reclaimed wood ceilings, tufted headboards, and a trove of local art. Image: The Grady Hotel

A stay at The Grady is akin to a Louisville history lesson — beginning with the building’s backstory. Commissioned in 1883 by pharmacist J.B. Wilder, the original building housed an apothecary where Wilder concocted medicinal bourbon and a slew of other elixirs. Known for designing the first hats worn at the Kentucky Derby, Swann-Abram Hat Co. was another original resident of the building in the 1920s. Named after the late Grady Clay, beloved local journalist and champion of urban design, The Grady embraces the vibrant urban renaissance of Louisville while honoring its past.

Elegant through and through, the hotel celebrates Louisville’s story with an approach that honors tradition and redefines modern opulence. The hoteliers want guests to experience The Grady through the eyes of a child. Surprises and good luck charms are tucked away throughout, from a complimentary honor bar to Muhammad Ali-inspired silk robes, to horseshoes, shamrocks, butterflies, and bees hidden amidst the hotel’s decor and amenities. One of our favorite parts (and something you don’t see much of these days) is the free artisanal breakfast served daily.

The Grady Hotel Louisville Common area

The Grady’s public spaces cater to locals and travelers alike. Bask in the warm and inviting tones throughout the library area, art gallery, and central fireplace. Image: The Grady Hotel

Resonating with a sophisticated charm that is equally warm and contemporary, this hotel prides itself on details and discovery. Displays of patinated metals and smooth, dark textures tell the story of Louisville’s bourbon heritage, while hints of lush greens echo Louisville’s City of Parks title and the outdoors. After a day of exploring, pull up a chair at The Wild Swann, The Grady’s alcove of hand-crafted beverages and delectable small plates. Ask the barkeepers for their best-kept Louisville secrets while sipping meticulously crafted cocktails from gold-rimmed glasses.

The Wild Swann at The Grady Hotel

The hotel’s bar, The Wild Swann, pays homage to the city’s history and the legacy of famous cocktails all over the world. The concept takes its name from the Swann-Abram Hat Co., an original resident of the building, and prominently known for designing the first hats worn at the Kentucky Derby. Image: The Grady Hotel

The Grady is the perfect place to let the spirit of Louisville pass through you. There’s a nook for everyone to learn, sip, relax, or play. For more information, visit The Grady Hotel’s Instagram, Facebook, or website.

106 Jefferson | Huntsville, Alabama

Opening July 2021 • 106 Jefferson St. S, Huntsville, AL 35801 • 106Jefferson.com

As if we needed another reason to fall in love with Huntsville, here comes the bustling city’s first boutique hotel! 106 Jefferson, a Curio Collection hotel by Hilton, is a 115-room luxury hotel opening soon in Huntsville’s historic Twickenham district. With Southern hospitality considered in every detail, 106 Jefferson is expertly designed to tastefully reflect the area’s pioneer spirit that began in the space race and continues today. This hotel is so much more than just rooms …

The 106 Jefferson team has achieved a perfect balance of nodding to science and technology while staying true to the local charm of this small Southern city. Huntsville’s community leaders have some lofty aspirations for some tremendously important projects in the coming months … from tech to sports to music. To have a — please pardon the terrible joke — launching pad like 106 Jefferson will be so valuable to the city’s growing cast of visitors and locals.

New Hotel 106 Jefferson Huntsville AL

The hotel is steps from coffee shops, boutiques, historical attractions, and a growing number of entertainment options landing in Huntsville. The rooftop bar and ground-floor tavern are two exciting additions to Huntsville’s burgeoning food scene. Image: 106 Jefferson

New Hotel 106 Jefferson Huntsville AL

We expect this chic lobby scene to become a nucleus for Huntsville’s culture and business. Image: 106 Jefferson

New Hotel 106 Jefferson Huntsville AL

With Hilton’s Curio Collection behind the hotel, guests can expect spacious, immaculate and amenity-filled suites. Image: 106 Jefferson

RELATED: Revenge Travel: The 9 Trips We’re Dreaming of Taking Next

New Hotel 106 Jefferson Huntsville AL

Revivalist will be a tasty and spirited addition to Rocket City’s food scene. It’s a throwback to a historic Huntsville tavern that once occupied the same location and embodied the parlor culture of the era. Image: 106 Jefferson

After a day of work and play, book a table at Revivalist, the hotel’s parlor-style chef-driven restaurant and bar. Or head all the way up to Baker & Able, a swanky rooftop lounge that pays homage to the most famous astronauts in Huntsville history — a healthy portion of panoramic views included! For more information about 106 Jefferson, visit 106jefferson.com or follow along on Instagram and Facebook.

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