The South has evolved into one of the hottest travel destinations for weekend getaways, family vacations and extended excursions. So it’s no surprise that a handful of boutique hotels in some of our favorite Southern cities — Atlanta, Birmingham, Louisville, Memphis and Nashville — are the accommodations of choice while in town. From stately venues to rustic inns to contemporary digs, we give you a glimpse of some of the the best lodgings throughout the Southern region. Whether you crave a riverfront view or need easy access to downtown events, these hotels offer stellar digs for locals and tourists alike.
Atlanta: The Artmore Hotel
Nestled in the heart of the Midtown arts district, this distinctive boutique hotel enchants with its 1920s architecture and Mediterranean aesthetics. Originally built as a luxury apartment building, The Artmore has now transformed beautifully into a unique destination with a contemporary bar and lounge, private meeting spaces, lovely guest suites and two-story extended-stay accommodations. The generous outdoor space sizzles with a fire fountain patio and exotic tented gardens.
SB Tip: The Artmore has an exclusive Art in Motion package, which includes two tickets to the High Museum, an Executive King Suite and breakfast for two at the Gallery Cafe!
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Birmingham: Cobb Lane Bed and Breakfast
Guests looking for something small in size and intimate in experience may choose to stay at Cobb Lane Bed and Breakfast, located within walking distance of Five Points South on Nabob Hill. The inn started its life as the private home of the local tax collector, Mr. Bingham. Later, it had a life as the parsonage and Sunday school for the Methodist Church. Since then, the building has provided office space for doctors, lawyers, marriage counselors and even a few massage therapists. In 2003, the property was purchased and restored to its Victorian-era architectural splendor. Guests can enjoy renovated private rooms and then have breakfast under an elegant crystal chandelier before heading out to explore the area’s historic sights, such as the 16th Street Baptist Church and Civil Rights Institute.
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Located on Main Street in the heart of historic downtown Louisville, 21c is the city’s only true boutique hotel. This place packs a lot into its 90-room venue: a hotel, contemporary art museum, fine dining restaurant (Proof on Main) and renowned bar, and a cultural civic center. Known by its ubiquitous red penguins that are scattered throughout the property, this hotel is a completely unique experience for everyone from the hotel guest to the one-time diner. Owned by Louisvillians Laura Lee and Steve Wilson, this is a luxury hotel with amenities such as a full spa and Proof on Main for room service. Guests can even order fresh-made cookies and milk for their nightcap! Rooms are stocked with original art, pewter mint julep cups, gourmet Nespresso coffeemakers and even Herman Miller ergonomic chairs.
SB tip: Don’t miss the bathroom on the first floor. It is a trip worth taking.
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Memphis: The River Inn of Harbor Town
Experience Southern charm at its finest at The River Inn, a beautiful hotel on the riverfront of the Mississippi. Traditional and warm, The River Inn is decorated with wrought iron gates, gas lanterns, wood-burning fireplaces and chandeliers. Prized for its exquisite concierge services, this boutique hotel offers noteworthy amenities, including a terrace with sweeping views of the landscape, a complimentary gourmet breakfast, fitness center and more. It’s also known for an award-winning restaurant, Paulette’s, which serves chef-inspired Southern fare for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner.
SB Tip: Located in Harbor Town just steps from downtown Memphis, The River Inn is close to a handful of local attractions, including beautiful bike paths along Greenbelt Park.
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Nashville: The 404
The saying “less is more” certainly holds true at The 404, an intimate hotel in the heart of the Gulch that has only five rooms. This small, unassuming building is easily overlooked, and that is part of the charm. Modern architecture blends with comfort as local art fills the walls. Fresh fruit and beverages are available in the common area throughout the day, and the 404’s namesake restaurant is located right next door, offering some of Nashville’s most acclaimed food for dinner. For those who crave privacy and convenience, but still expect exceptional service, consider The 404.
SB tip: Guests enjoy free WiFi and complimentary beverages in the in-room refrigerator!
Williamson County: Moonshine Hill Inn
The story of Moonshine Hill Inn is one of transformation. Originally a run-down shack, the charming cabin was purchased by owner Ann Johnson in 2000 and is now a paradise that sits on one of the prettiest plots of land in Franklin, TN. The bed & breakfast is decorated with comfortable chairs and an outdoor fireplace (perfect for snuggling up with a good book), is surrounded by trails for hiking and is only minutes away from what locals call “the village,” a quaint shopping area in Leiper’s Fork. Guests can enjoy a delicious bounty each morning, with fixings from the local Puckett’s Grocery, a restaurant beloved for its Southern cooking!
SB Tip: With just two bedrooms, the inn works for both family getaways or romantic weekends!
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