Remember in the movie “Titanic” when the 84-year-old Rose says, “I can still smell the fresh paint. The china had never been used. The sheets had never been slept in?” That’s how I felt when I went visited Grand Hyatt Nashville in October 2020, only 10 days after the luxurious 591-room hotel had opened.
I was the first guest to ever stay in my suite, and there’s something so remarkable about meeting in a brand-new property where everything is shiny, modern and cutting edge. I’m still trying to figure out if it was the TV remote control in plastic with a seal of cleanliness on it, the views of downtown Nashville from the rooftop lounge or the chic 20,000-sq.-ft. ballroom with 22-foot ceilings that wowed me the most. Hmm, it’s still a toss-up.
I do know that the stunning 25-story property in The Gulch downtown neighborhood will anchor Nashville Yards, the hip 18-acre live, work, play, shop development where Amazon is busy moving into a new high-rise next door. Grand Hyatt Nashville’s art deco decor and nods to the train history of the neighborhood are showstoppers upon attendee arrival. At check-in I couldn’t stop ogling the two-story gold, silver and brass structure behind the front desk (it’s an Insta-worthy moment) or Aurum, the lobby lounge behind voguish see-through gold beads dangling from the ceiling. I took photos so I can someday tell a decorator this is what I want my mansion to look like.
While the first floor is nothing short of, well, grand, it’s the three dedicated floors to meetings that conference and event planners will swoon over. The hotel was designed with gatherings in mind and has over 77,000 square feet of meeting space, 32 separate rooms in varying sizes, escalators between floors and a slew of stylish sitting areas around every corner (guests will fight over the booth nooks, trust). Floor-to-ceiling windows in the main ballroom, the 13,000-sq.-ft. Junior Ballroom and almost all the other breakout rooms let in tons of light and, in several instances, views of Frist Art Museum and the historic Union Station Hotel across the street. State-of-the-art AV, on-site catering and a 1,100-sq.-ft. covered outdoor space with views of the city are also available.
For a true wow for incentives or corporate groups, The Continental restaurant on the first floor is in partnership with renowned James Beard Award-winning chef Sean Brock. His concept is a throwback to the days of refined hotel dining and is a welcome respite for those looking for something more sophisticated than grab-and-go lobby concessions—although there is an upscale version of that too! The Hummingbird Coffee Market on the other end of the lobby is where I’m sure all the attendees will gather in the a.m. for addictive Stay Golden brews (a local fave) and muffins before heading to the meeting. With five other on-site dining options, you could plan a meal in a new space every day and probably not run out of places to keep attendees on property. Lou/Na, the indoor-outdoor rooftop lounge on the 25th floor, is fast becoming one of the most coveted spots for nighttime views in the city.
If spouses are invited along for the conference or incentive, plan a day for them at the beautiful new on-site spa, R+ R Wellness. The spa director can help you plan a custom experience that ties into event themes, a full spa day or even quick 30-minute experiences if time is tight. Incorporating meditation into your meeting or event is seamless with its Meditation Experience Lounge. And the spa is located right across from the fifth-floor outdoor pool overlooking Broadway if pool days can be worked into the itinerary pre- or post-meeting.
The best part? Attendees are steps from downtown Nashville and can easily walk to any of the attractions, bars or restaurants on Broadway, including the new National Museum of African American Music (opening January 2021) and The Ryman Auditorium, the “Mother Church of Country Music.” Grand Hyatt Nashville can arrange for your VIPs to take a backstage tour of The Ryman and see the dressing rooms where Minnie Pearl, Johnny Cash and Hank Williams were regulars. For unforgettable attendee experiences, plan a private dinner on The Ryman stage looking out over the pews, or do a buyout of the theater and throw an opening or closing night reception throughout the space where guests can wander among the memorabilia with cocktails in hand.
Nashville has been a hot meetings destination for years, but with the luxurious Grand Hyatt Nashville addition it has upped its game for hosting large high-end associations (medical, dental, pharma, real estate) and midsize corporate meetings where attendees are used to upscale amenities and well-appointed suites. When the meetings market turns in 2021, Grand Hyatt Nashville is nothing like the Titanic. It’s positioned to avoid any icebergs and enjoy smooth sailing.