The focal point of the lobby in the newly opened Virgin Hotels Nashville is a massive art piece by sculptor John A. Peralta, which features musical instruments suspended overhead. It’s a fitting statement from a brand known for records and airplanes. The Virgin Group, founded by Sir Richard Branson, opened namesake hotels in Dallas and Chicago before bringing its third location to Nashville. “We go where our people are, and if you think of our brand, and Richard ... that’s why we’re in Nashville — the legacy of music and entertainment. That’s what’s really important to us,” says Teddy Mayer, vice president of design.
The much-anticipated 14-story hotel, which has 262 rooms (or chambers, as Virgin calls them), a 24-hour gym and a rooftop bar, opened in July on Music Row. The historic location, which is the former address of Hummingbird Productions, is an appropriate spot for a newly constructed building that Teddy terms an instant classic, defined by its timeless design.
“You see a lot of hotel brands that get a little bit too close to the trend sun, so to speak, where it’s like, 'Oh, gosh, that’s super-trendy right now and really hot right now,' and it’s not going to look good in even five years,” says Teddy. “We try to avoid that, because it’s also not a good investment. You don’t want to be renovating every three to five years because your design choices were too trendy and didn’t last.”
The clean lines of the building, designed by BLUR Workshop and Nashville-based Hastings Architecture, are complemented by mixed materials, including black brick and reclaimed wood. The interior design, by MARKZEFF, features furnishings that are also a mix of different textures. In the area just off the lobby, called the Funny Library, cognac leather and metal stools surround black marble cocktail tables and a blue velvet sofa. Nashville-based interior designer Hannah Crowell curated bookshelves, filling them with quirky art and books, such as Drag: The Complete Story by Simon Doonan and Keith Richards' memoir, Life.
In addition to the Funny Library, the first-floor public area features the Commons Club. This unique space houses the hotel’s main restaurant, The Kitchen, helmed by celebrated chef Ryan Lachaine, who co-owns the much-buzzed-about Houston restaurant Riel.
Within these open concepts are seating areas, a common workspace, a free-standing signature swing, a pool table and several spots to grab a coffee, a cocktail or a light bite.
There is no wasted space in the guest rooms, which feature two closets, built-in wooden racks for luggage, a vanity and window seats and are decorated in neutral tones with pops of teal and red, Virgin’s signature color. A highlight is a mini Smeg refrigerator. The rooms have a sliding door separating the bedroom portion of the chamber, so even the smaller rooms feel like a suite. With the help of a mobile app, the lighting, thermostats and TV can be touchless — perfect for a post-Covid world.
View From the Top
There’s an express elevator that takes guests to the 14th floor, where the entryway ceiling is covered in lights that look like multicolored beach balls. Bubblegum pink double doors open to The Pool Club, a restaurant and bar highlighted by an infinity pool and spectacular views. While the pool is reserved for hotel guests, the other areas are open to visitors who might like a glass of wine, beer or a cocktail along with menu items such as a burger on a brioche bun or fish tacos.