In the past, if you wanted to travel and stay in a truly unique hotel, you would have to seek out a smaller, locally owned boutique hotel to expect much of anything out of the ordinary, but that’s just not the case anymore. Many large luxury hotel chains have evolved into looking less like a franchise, where every single location needs to offer the exact same amenities and services, and operating more like a brand that is focused on delivering boutique services and, more importantly, experiences.

We did a little homework and have compiled a list of some of the South’s most premier luxury hotel chains that are excelling at crafting an experience that goes way beyond a clean room and a cup of coffee in the morning.

So, if your travel plans call for a stay in any of the South’s big cities, you’ll want to keep reading because these chains aren’t the Best Western of your parents’ generation. These hotels have upgraded all of the expected amenities (think saltwater indoor lap pools and 5,000-square-foot fitness facilities that rival any high-end gym) and have also added some that you might not expect, such as complimentary car services and child-specific activities for the kiddos. Pack your bags …

The Westin Hotel

Nashville, Tennessee

One of the Nashville Westin’s most breathtaking amenities is visible from most of downtown Nashville. The L27 infinity rooftop pool allows guests to swim right up to the edge of the building and enjoy sweeping views of the city while suspended high above Broadway. But if heights aren’t your thing, the Westin offers its proprietary Heavenly® beds, luxury suites with skyline views and its resort-style Rhapsody Spa. Additionally, the Westin offers its RunWESTIN™ program in partnership with New Balance, which provides athletic shoes and apparel for use during your stay. Running routes certified by New Balance offer multiple running options directly from the hotel.

Anyone interested in the upcoming Royal Wedding will love this super fun amenity: Guests booking rooms May 18 and 19, will receive the full royal treatment. All will be welcomed with an in-room Royal Wedding welcome amenity, as well as the option to partake in English Tea Service in-room. An added incentive for those flying in on the new direct to Nashville flights from London will be the shuttle option to the hotel via black car service pickup from the airport. The royal celebrations will continue with a Royal Wakeup Call from the hotel to attend the Decker & Dyer Watch Party at 6 a.m. on May 19th, where the life-sized monitors will project the wedding as if you were really there.

The view from The Westin Nashville rooftop simply cannot be beat. Image: Tausha Dickinson
Enjoy a craft cocktail or chilled glass of rosé at The Westin’s luxurious rooftop, L27. Image: Tausha Dickinson

Related: Best Patios in Nashville: The Ultimate Restaurant Patio Guide

The Ritz-Carlton

Charlotte, North Carolina

It’s no secret that the Ritz-Carlton brand is synonymous with top-tier customer service, but this brand is also leading the way with the unexpected extras at many of their properties, like the one in Charlotte. This location is the first Ritz-Carlton to achieve the LEED-Certified Gold hotel status, which means they enact eco-friendly practices on the property, like their rooftop garden.

The garden supplies the herbs, fruits and vegetables used in the kitchen and in many of the creations served at the bar. Honeybees that live atop the hotel produce honey used in many of the pastry chef’s concoctions available at Bar Cocoa, the property’s dessert boutique.

Pampering at the Charlotte Ritz-Carlton is done in the Women’s Vitality Lounge, which just became home to a Pink Himalayan Salt Vault, which is known for its healing properties. The Salt Lounge joins the Aqua Lounge and the Relaxation Lounge.

Don’t miss the rooftop garden, where you’ll see the fruits and vegetables that, once ripe, go straight into the Ritz-Carlton kitchen. And don’t overlook the bees …
The Himalayan salt vault at the Ritz-Carlton in Charlotte is known for its healing properties.

Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek

Dallas, Texas

Rosewood Mansion was originally built as a private estate in 1925, and the hotel today still proudly showcases the antiques and opulent style of its original owners. Designed with influence by 16th century Renaissance Italy, the Rosewood’s history and elegance are luxurious in their own right. The property recently underwent a massive renovation that only enhanced the property’s rich history.

In addition to the luxury of the property’s grounds, terraces and beautifully appointed rooms, services at the Rosewood include housekeeping service twice a day, nightly turn-down service, babysitting and pet care options, complimentary sedan service within five miles, and you can even test drive any Lexus vehicle during your stay.

Through the end of 2018, the Rosewood is also offering a luxury fashion package that includes a personal style consultation with one of Dallas’ top fashion experts at the iconic NorthPark Center. In addition to a two-hour custom style session, guests receive $100 in NorthPark Gold Coins, which are accepted at more than 230 retailers, restaurants and theaters at NorthPark Center.

This beautiful hotel and its grand entrance truly shine at night when lit with romantic twinkle lights.
The 16th century Italian Renaissance influence transports guests to another time and place altogether.

Four Seasons

Atlanta, Georgia

The Four Seasons in downtown Atlanta has just added a new amenity to its growing list of options. This one, however, is truly unique. Upon request, you can have a Peloton bike delivered to your room. Peloton bikes come with a convenient and immersive indoor cycling experience, because actual classes are live-streamed from a cycling studio in New York City. You can choose to ride along with a live class or stream one of thousands of classes on demand.

If cycling isn’t your thing, you can lounge by or swim in the saline lap pool which features a sun terrace and whirlpool bath. If you are traveling with a family, the hotel will pre-arrange an itinerary for your children based on their ages and interests.

In-room Peloton bikes are a true must experience at the Four Seasons in Atlanta.
Experience all of the benefits of a high-end spin class from the comfort of your hotel room!

Related: 3 Amazing Escapes to Add to Your Bucket List

La Cantera Resort and Spa, a Destination Hotel

San Antonio, Texas

The La Cantera Resort and Spa is a property that revels in its Texas Hill Country surroundings. The property boasts three immaculate infinity pools that show off amazing views of the Texas countryside. One of the infinity pools is designated adults-only and includes private cabanas for those seeking solace from the kiddos, who, by the way, can take part in the property’s kid camp programming while you lounge at the pool.

In addition to its 496 guest rooms, La Cantera also recently opened 34 boutique villas that come with complimentary valet parking, a complimentary personal resort cart, oversized bathing tubs, Bvlgari personal care products and luxury bedding.

After you get a good night’s sleep, you can begin your day with an instructor-led yoga class or hit one of two self-guided running routes. Then head on over to the Loma de Vida Spa where massages can take place in private outdoor cabanas and gardens. For the golfers, there are two championship golf courses on the property. If you happen to roll up in a Tesla, the property also has Tesla charging stations.

The adults-only pool provides solace, relaxation and incredible views of San Antonio.
The boutique villas are immaculately decorated — expertly reflecting the San Antonio style with a comfortable ambience.


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About the Author
Melonee Hurt

Melonee is a native of East Tennessee who spent six years as a writer in NYC before returning to the South. She enjoys coaching CrossFit, traveling, cycling, camping and spending time outdoors with her family.