Nashville: My Favorite Hotel

A version of this appeared in The Huffington Post on December 16, 2017

 

I was always the boy listening to country music when I was younger, much to my friends’ dismay. Don’t get me wrong, R&B has always been my favorite but there’s been something about a twang and banjo that makes me want to move south of the Mason-Dixon line and fall in love.

 

When ABC debuted its Country music drama affectionately titled, “Nashville,” I knew I would be a fan. First, Connie Britton is my adoptive white mom (in my head), and I have been a fan of Hayden Panettiere since her days on the short-lived drama “Heroes.”

 

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“Nashville” lasted only a few seasons on ABC before the network decided to cancel. I thought I wasn’t going to find out how the characters ended – but then CMT (Country Music Television) picked up the show for two or three seasons and I got my closure. I was obsessed and last year, when given the opportunity to visit the city and write about it,

 

I almost choked on my Tennessee Whiskey.

 

As soon as my flight landed, the air smelt different. Where was the smoke? Something wasn’t right. I was used to cynicism, hot dog water, and smog from (every-color-but-green) cars – New York’s aromatherapy.

 

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Nashville, certainly one of the South’s most relevant cities, doesn’t make the mistake that a lot of its contemporaries do – it doesn’t try to be the New York of the South. In NOT trying to do so, it fosters a reputation of its own with the swagger of a southern belle and the country boy suave of a cowboy. If Nashville were a person, it would be that beautiful person in high school who was just as pretty (or handsome) as the most popular girl (or guy), without the bravado and arrogance.

 

The city has a way of making visitors fall in love at first sight, even when its hot outside - like, super-hot. There’s nothing pretentious about Nashville and of all the charming things about the city, that certainly tops the list.

 

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The Aertson – a Kimpton Hotel

 

Each traveler has a preference for experience. No other example is as clear to me as camping. When some people camp, they like to experience sleeping tents, logs, and bugs – not me. I like a cabin with wi-fi, a fireplace -- something that looks rustic but has sophistication. That’s why I was immediately obsessed with The Aertson – they mastered the idea of quaint county charm with elements of big city modernism and technology.

 

The Aertson had all my favorite big hotel features like hot water and a bed that absorbed my body upon first impact. Sleeping in an Aertson bed was like laying on clouds.  The lobby is housed with trendy Nashville millennials each with eyes filled with the kind of optimism that seemed contagious at the time.

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Their staff if super-friendly, which can go a long way during tip time. Moreover, their willingness to help is fresh and new compared to New Yorkers who often get frustrated with tourists. I kept waiting for a shoe of rudeness and condescending tones to drop, and guess what – it never did.

 

Time seems to fly at The Aertson – and that was the only thing I hated about the experience. I didn’t get to enjoy enough of it. The pool, which I visited on the chilliest day of my entire stay, was divine – still! The chairs solidified themselves in the shallow end of the pool so that you could see where you were going without drowning. I was rereading The Color Purple because it was one of my favorite stories (the movie is one of my favorites too). When I got back to the room there was something special waiting for me on a silver platter.

 

Having always loved silver platters since my younger days, the Reese Peanut Butter Cup and Pepsi only made my visit that much more special. How did they know that those two things were my guiltiest of pleasures (that, and anything on Bravo)? That’s what The Aertson does so well – they create experiences and then give you the space to bask.

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