Because it’s the center of the country-music universe, Nashville goes by the nickname Music City. Over the last few years, however, a thriving tourism economy has given Nashville something else to sing about: meetings and conventions, the number of which taking place there nearly doubled from 537 in 2013 -- when Nashville’s new convention center, Music City Center, opened -- to 1,048 in 2018, according to the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp.
The growth is thanks in large part to a flurry of hotel development. Between 2016 and 2018 alone, Nashville added 4,353 new hotel rooms. It will add another 3,110 this year, the NCVC says, and 1,722 more next year.
To the benefit of meeting groups, the influx of new properties has placed pressure on old ones, many of which have undergone large-scale renovations designed to keep them fresh in an increasingly competitive market. The latest such property is the DoubleTree by Hilton Nashville Downtown, which was built in 1979 and has just completed a $5 million renovation, Hilton announced this month.
Located approximately a mile from Music City Center and just a few blocks from the famed Ryman Auditorium, the 341-room DoubleTree by Hilton Nashville Downtown has a hefty 20,000 square feet of meeting space. Guest accommodations -- including 192 double and double-double rooms that were converted to queen and double-queen rooms -- were updated with new beds and in-room amenities, including new mini-refrigerators, USB ports and charging stations. The meeting space was refreshed with new “country-chic” décor and new banquet equipment, including linen-less meeting tables with built-in power outlets.
Elsewhere, the hotel offers a full-service Starbucks, a signature restaurant and bar with nightly live music, an outdoor patio with life-sized games and a theater-sized projection screen, and a 24/7 fitness center that also received a facelift.
“As one of the hottest cities in Tennessee, there is always a lot going on in Nashville, and our hotel prides itself in bringing our guests unparalleled comfort and convenience so they can get some much-needed rest after a busy day exploring nearby attractions,” said general manager John Schilling. “This renovation helps continue our mission to provide our guests the warmest welcome and stay in town.”
Four More Hot Hotels for Nashville Meetings
Even before its current boom, Nashville was known for stellar convention hotels, the most famous of which is the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center. But thanks to the arrival of new properties and the resurgence of old gems like the above-mentioned DoubleTree, meeting groups in Music City have more choices than ever. Here are four more properties that are worth a look in Tennessee’s capital city:
• Omni Nashville Hotel. When Music City Center opened in 2013, it was a major feather in Nashville’s meetings cap. But so was the Omni Nashville Hotel, which opened across the street a few months later. Located adjacent to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, with which it’s fully integrated on three levels, the hotel has:
- 800 guest rooms
- over 80,000 square feet of meeting space
- a full-service spa
- two restaurants
- a café
- a live music venue
- a fitness center
- a rooftop pool
• The Westin Nashville. While the Omni Nashville is across the street from Music Center on one side, across the street on the other side is the Westin Nashville, which opened in 2016 in downtown Nashville’s growing SoBro neighborhood. The 27-story hotel has:
- 453 guest rooms
- a spa with nine treatment rooms
- a fitness center with an indoor pool
- two signature restaurants
- a locally inspired lobby bar and eatery
- 20,000 square feet of meeting space that includes prefunction space
- a ballroom for up to 500 guests
- 12 meeting rooms
Its crown, however -- literally and figuratively – is its 200-seat L27 Rooftop Bar. Said to be the region’s tallest rooftop watering hole, it features an infinity pool with cabanas, a bar serving food and beverages, live entertainment and a private space for events.
• JW Marriott Nashville. One of the city's newest hotels is the JW Marriott Nashville, which opened in summer 2018 a block north of the Westin Nashville. Also across the street from Music City Center, the 33-story property has:
- 533 guest rooms and suites
- a signature restaurant by celebrity chef Michael Mina
- a full-service spa
- a rooftop pool
- 50,000 square feet of indoor function space, including a 15,000-square-foot grand ballroom
And then there’s the hotel’s newest addition, work on which was announced in December: The Green at JW, a 13,000-square-foot event lawn designed both for public outdoor concerts and private functions.
• Thompson Nashville. Nashville has an abundance of boutique options, too. One of the most popular is the Thompson Nashville, which opened in 2016 in The Gulch, a trendy Nashville neighborhood known for its upscale stores and restaurants. Along with 224 guest rooms, it has:
- a restaurant
- a rooftop bar
- a coffee and sandwich shop
- a 24/7 fitness center
- nearly 6,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor function space