Middle Age Miles

Hotel Visit – Union Station Hotel, Nashville (Marriott’s Autograph Collection)

Union Station Hotel, Nashville (Marriott’s Autograph Collection)

This article is part of our Trip Report – Adventures with Edventure in Nashville.

Introduction

The Union Station Hotel in Nashville is a lovely restoration and re-purposing of Nashville’s historic train station. On our trip to Nashville, Middle Age Miles and Edventure stayed at the Hilton Nashville Downtown, but we heard about the Union Station Hotel and decided to check it out for ourselves. We enjoyed our visit and wanted to share it with Middle Age Miles readers who may want to consider the Union Station Hotel on a future trip to Nashville.

Marriott pitches the Autograph Collection as its grouping of upscale, boutique-style hotels. These hotels can be somewhat of a change of pace from the more standardized hotels comprising other Marriott brands such as the JW Marriotts, the regular Marriott properties, or Renaissance hotels. And the Union Station Hotel is certainly a unique property that fits the bill for the Autograph Collection.

Marriott Rewards thinks quite highly of this hotel, as it’s in Rewards Category 7. This is currently Marriott’s highest category with the most expensive reward redemption rates, although Marriott will introduce a new Category 8 in 2019. Category 7 hotels like the Union Station Hotel currently require 60,000 Marriott Rewards points per night. Come sometime in 2019, though (we’re assuming 1/1/2019, but Marriott hasn’t specifically announced an exact date), the Marriott Rewards chart splits into off-peak/standard/peak pricing for awards. When that pricing structure goes into effect, redemption rates for Category 7 hotels will be 50,000/60,000/70,000 Marriott Rewards points per night.

Union Station has been a hotel since 1986 after being abandoned for several years and then saved through a historic preservation effort. It became a Marriott Autograph Collection hotel in 2012, and the property underwent a full renovation of all of its guest rooms and public spaces in 2016. So, what you see and where you stay now are essentially brand new.

Our Visits to the Union Station Hotel

Edventure and I actually visited the Union Station Hotel twice. We first stopped by during our morning scooter ride around downtown Nashville. A few hours later, we were back, this time as part of our golf cart tour of Nashville. The hotel is enough of a landmark that it’s a standard stop on the 2-hour golf cart tour. The second visit was nice because Philly and Marilyn could see the hotel’s charms for themselves instead of having to listen to Ed and me talk about it!

We were only able to visit the lobby and some of the meeting rooms. The designers did a fantastic job of restoring and incorporating the old features into a functioning modern facility.

When you come into the main entrance, you’re struck by the tile work and art at the entry. Then, you enter the ornate, high-ceilinged lobby. If you’re checking in, there are bellmen waiting outside the entrance to help with your bags, and the front desk is immediately to the right once you enter the lobby.

The lobby has a large sitting area in the middle and a bar and small restaurant on the side opposite the entrance. You’ll see the gorgeous chandeliers, the beautiful ceiling, and the old restored railroad clock. If you walk across to the opposite side, you can see the old railroad schedule chalkboard. It’s painted now, but it’s fun to look at the old railroad lines and the cities they connected and think of the earlier days. At the far right end of the lobby are two meeting rooms which include several colorful stained glass windows.

I’m not sure words entirely do it justice, so here’s a tour in pictures:

Union Station Hotel, Nashville – tile work outside leading to hotel entrance

Union Station Hotel, Nashville – Philly posing with a very cool work of guitar art in the hotel entryway

Union Station Hotel, Nashville – the Middle Age Miles and Edventure crew in the stairwell at the entrance

Union Station Hotel, Nashville – the ornate lobby

Union Station Hotel, Nashville – lobby chandeliers

Union Station Hotel, Nashville – lobby ceiling detail

Union Station Hotel, Nashville – old rail station clock

Union Station Hotel, Nashville – metal horse art in the lobby

Union Station Hotel, Nashville – stained glass windows in meeting room

Union Station Hotel, Nashville – old railroad chalkboard schedule

Union Station Hotel, Nashville – lobby area and bar

Unfortunately, we weren’t able to check out the guest rooms or other areas of the hotel. I did notice that there seemed to be a few guest rooms just off one corner of the lobby – maybe 4-6 rooms down a short hallway. There, at the threshold between the lobby and the rooms, the look completely changed from the old renovated rail station into a modern-looking hotel hallway – at least as much as I could tell from the carpets and doors. If the guest rooms are actually as modern and updated as this hallway looked, it would seem like a stay here would be very nice.

Looking at the Union Station Hotel from the outside, it certainly appears that there would be some unique and interesting rooms based on the shape of the building and the pattern of the windows. It would be fun to try it out.

One word of warning about the Union Station Hotel, though, would be the location. It’s a solid half-mile walk uphill to get to the active part of Broadway, without much in the way of businesses in between. It seems like it would be kind of a dark walk at night, with not a lot of foot traffic. It’s certainly walkable from the main part of Broadway distance-wise, but I’d still be anxious about doing it really late at night after being out.

The Union Station Hotel is somewhat closer to The Gulch area, but you’d still have to walk over the huge bridge that crosses the train tracks and down (or up, on the way back) the huge flight of stairs that goes down from Broadway to 11th Avenue into The Gulch.

All that said, it would certainly be fun to stay at the Union Station Hotel to check out the rooms and soak in the history and the beauty of the restoration effort.

Have you stayed at the Union Station Hotel since its restoration? What did you think? Please share with us and other Middle Age Miles readers in the Comments!


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