Reviewed by MARGARET LITTMAN
Why did this hotel catch your attention?
The Russell is all about the wow factor. Formerly a 115-year-old church, the hotel retains many of the building’s original elements, including a series of jaw-dropping stained glass windows. Bright, restored panes of glass play off modern décor and stylish new architectural elements.
What’s the backstory?
The Russell is owned by a local hotel group that incorporated elements from the church, including the pews, into the decor in a way that feels respectful and—just as importantly—not cheesy. Management donates a portion of each stay to a homelessness charity and offers free recording space to local podcasters.
Tell us all about the rooms. Any tips on what to book?
Each room is a different shape and size—such as the reality of retrofitting an old church into a new hotel. All of them have good light, smartly designed charging stations in the pews-turned-headboards, and beautiful color schemes. Bathrooms have lovely tile and church-like mirrors.
Is there a charge for Wi-Fi?
Wi-Fi is free and fast.
How was the service?
Much of the service, including check-in, happens through an app, but there’s always someone if you need additional help. The vibe here is laid back, bordering on hands-off.
What type of travelers will you find here?
Architecture buffs and philanthropists love The Russell. The hotel is swanky and photogenic, so don’t be surprised to see other guests snapping pics and uploading them to Instagram.
What about the neighborhood? What else is around?
You’re right in the heart of East Nashville, within walking distance to clubs, bars, and cool boutiques. Yet the street is quiet and residential—you’ll be able to get some sleep.
Is there anything you’d change?
There’s no elevator to the second floor—just a dumbwaiter for luggage.
Any other hotel features worth noting?
There’s a parking lot across the street—helpful in such a residential neighborhood. The lobby and guest rooms are stocked with picks from The Bookshop, a local indie favorite; borrow them during your stay or purchase one as a souvenir.
Bottom line: Worth it?
Worth it. The stained glass windows and the community vibe make The Russell feel like someplace you’ve never been.
*Check out the full article at Conde Nast Traveler blog.