No offense to convention, meetings and events-oriented hotels around the world, but they aren’t exactly known for being the kind of places you’d book on your own for a weekend getaway.
“Sheraton ballroom chicken” is a culinary insult in 2023. OK, fine. Maybe that’s just in my friend group, but you get the point.
Alas, during a recent conference in Nashville, I checked into the Grand Hyatt Nashville. Surprisingly, it was more than the panel discussions taking place in the second-floor ballrooms that kept me entertained and more than satisfied during this two-night getaway in Music City.
Elevated food and dining, an upscale guest room and — surprise, surprise — the presence of a private lounge made the Grand Hyatt Nashville more than just a place to grab some shut-eye between networking events and group outings to nearby Broadway honky-tonks.
What is the Grand Hyatt Nashville
The 25-story, 591-room Grand Hyatt Nashville opened in late 2020 and is a glassy bookend to downtown Nashville’s southwestern edge. While the hotel isn’t part of the conglomerate of hotels immediately adjacent to the nearby Music City Center convention hall, it is clearly meant to be a hub of meetings and events on its own. The hotel features 77,000 square feet of meeting event space, including a 20,000-square-foot ballroom.
The hotel also features a hefty mix of bar and dining options, including a venue from famed chef Sean Brock and Lou/Na, a rooftop cocktail lounge.
How to book a stay at Grand Hyatt Nashville
I booked a discounted $250 per night stay via my conference’s group rate in the summer, but rates for the Grand Hyatt start at roughly $200, or 21,000 World of Hyatt points, per night at off-peak times.
American Express Platinum Card members will also find the Grand Hyatt Nashville available to book via The Hotel Collection on American Express Travel.
Grand Hyatt Nashville’s location
Grand Hyatt Nashville is at the western edge of downtown Nashville’s famed Broadway thoroughfare of bars, restaurants and honky-tonks. Expect to walk about 10 minutes to get to the start of the action with Bridgestone Arena or Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, arguably the most famous live music venue on Lower Broadway.
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With no traffic, it’s a roughly 15-minute drive (about $30 using Uber) from Nashville International Airport (BNA).
One thing to keep in mind: The hotel is the first part of a broader development called Nashville Yards. Because of this, there was a lot of construction taking place around the hotel during my stay, and it appears like this will continue for some time. There wasn’t excessive noise apart from when I was on an outdoor terrace at the hotel, but it did mean quite a lot of construction activity and rerouted taxi and Uber rides during my stay to maneuver around closed roads.
As you might expect from a spacious hotel geared toward group meetings and events, Grand Hyatt Nashville attracts a diverse crowd. While it skewed heavily toward out-of-towners for the meeting or convention du jour, popular venues like the rooftop bar at Lou/Na appeared to be destinations that drew some local residents.
A fifth-floor pool with an outdoor bar and sundeck was a popular spot on the weekend, and started to get busy as early as midday on the Thursday of my departure. The hotel has quieter areas to duck into if you’re looking for more of a peaceful getaway or quiet time before a meeting, but there are also ample opportunities to get rowdy if you please.
While my stay was shortly after I earned World of Hyatt Globalist status, it was also taking place during a convention packed with hotel industry insiders. The odds of getting any kind of meaningful upgrade were slim to none, given all the hotel folks under one roof, and this was apparent given the lengthy line at check-in for the World of Hyatt Explorist and Globalist desk in the lobby.
That said, I was initially booked in a guest room with two queen-size beds but still got an upgrade to a King Bed High Floor room. Because of my Globalist status, I also got access to the Grand Club Lounge for daily breakfast, complimentary snacks and happy hour.
My guest room on the 23rd floor was spacious, modern and elevated as far as convention hotel standards go. There was ample storage for stowing luggage and hanging clothes, and there was a built-in shelf for the Nespresso machine and complimentary assortment of espresso pods (and the two free bottles of water that come with World of Hyatt status). But the biggest draw was floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Nashville’s West End neighborhood toward Vanderbilt University.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t the best view during my stay, as major construction work was taking place on the Broadway bridge. It did, however, allow me to soak in some pretty incredible sunsets during both nights of my stay. Nashville is a rapidly growing city, and it is clear, even from all the construction cranes, that this less visually appealing side of the Grand Hyatt will get a sleek view in due time. Until then, consider splurging for a downtown Nashville view category room.
The king-size bed of my guest room featured many of the tech flourishes that are now standard with Hyatt and Grand Hyatt, like a master control over the nightstand to turn lights off and on for various settings, including a dimmer vibe for bedtime. There were ample electrical chargers on both sides of the bed and a USB-C port. Reading lights were built into either side of the headboard.
A seating area with a burnt orange couch and marble-topped coffee table was a good spot to enjoy a morning espresso or get ready for dinner amid one of the gorgeous late summer sunsets. There was also a small workstation. My only gripe was how the Wi-Fi was spotty for the duration of my stay.
The staff downstairs appeared to recognize this was an ongoing problem based on their litany of quirky troubleshooting options, but it was a little embarrassing — perhaps to the elation of a Hyatt competitor I was chatting with — when a work Zoom meeting kept dropping. I finally had to move that catch-up chat to a good, old-fashioned phone call.
The bathroom was very spacious and featured a dual, marble-topped vanity and a walk-in shower. The sleek gray and white of the space made it feel very high-end — as did the Balmain bath products. The vanity also included little travel necessities like make-up remover sheets, cotton swabs and a shower cap.
It’s such a small thing, but I appreciated how the hotel had a small hook to hang a towel right outside the shower. You’d be surprised how many hotel guest room designers do not include this kind of thoughtful detail.
While this wasn’t in my room, I did notice a lot of scuff marks and scratches along the hallways, as though someone had dragged their luggage repeatedly against the walls. Wear and tear goes with the territory of meetings and events-oriented hotels, especially in cities like Las Vegas and Nashville. But it did stick out among the otherwise pristine conditions.
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A surprisingly robust dining scene
There are seven varied dining and drinking options for those venturing into the Grand Hyatt Nashville, including the Grand Club Lounge, which is open only to those with Globalist status or who are staying in a room with club lounge access.
Because I was in town for a conference, I didn’t get to fill up my dining itinerary exclusively at the Grand Hyatt Nashville. However, there were some standouts among those that I did try.
At the time of my stay, Chef Sean Brock operated the Continental, a luxe restaurant going for old-school hotel dining vibes with dining carts where servers would carve prime rib before setting it on your plate. Crafting a martini here was more about artwork than creating a drink.
While I enjoyed my time at the Continental, including a scrumptious $42 prime rib with horseradish cream, it’s evident it may have been a little too much for a crowd coming to boot, scoot ‘n boogie on Lower Broadway: Brock closed the Continental shortly after my stay and has since converted the space to Bar Continental, a vinyl bar and take on the Japanese “kissa” tea lounge concept.
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Lou/Na on the Grand Hyatt rooftop is a great spot for a pricey alfresco cocktail ($20 for a martini), but there didn’t appear to be as much of a scene going on as nearby rooftop bars and lounges as at the Westin Nashville or venues on Lower Broadway. The patio area overlooked much of downtown and had plenty of seating areas to accommodate larger crowds or parties of two. Inside, there were cozy velvet couches around large televisions playing various sports matches.
My other favorite spot at the hotel might have more to do with its current scarcity: an open hotel lounge. The Grand Club Lounge was a fun hideaway accessible only to those with a club lounge category room or Globalist status.
It was never as remotely crowded as the Aurum lobby lounge just outside and featured a mix of couches, booths, chairs and outdoor furniture to kick back with a complimentary glass of wine or snack.
Breakfast and a heavy appetizer and cocktail session in the early evening were the busiest times to visit, but it was never overwhelming. The staff was friendly and welcoming, and it was my secret hideaway for meeting deadlines amid the conference frenzy taking place just outside the Grand Club Lounge’s heavy wooden door.
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Lounge attendees weren’t the only ones getting free goodies, however. There was a tray with various cookies — gingersnaps one day and chocolate chip the next — that was replenished throughout the day. It was a nice homey touch you wouldn’t expect from a nearly 600-room hotel.
Fun in the sun (or in the gym)
The Grand Hyatt’s fifth floor is centered around health and wellness, from the hotel’s expansive gym that includes a mix of cardio equipment and strength training machines to the R+R Wellness Spa (I did not go for a treatment).
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The rooftop pool on the fifth floor is the main event of this level, however. There were crowds here even during mid-week afternoons, and it got even busier later in the week when Solstice, a poolside bar, opened up for cocktails. While it was a little difficult securing a sun lounger as the week wore on, this was another fun hideaway to go catch some rays between conference sessions.
Judging by other venues in the area, a rooftop pool appears to be a must-have when opening a new hotel in downtown Nashville these days.
Why Grand Hyatt Nashville might not be for you
There are plenty of things the Grand Hyatt Nashville has going for it, but there are some points where guests may want to look elsewhere depending on their travel preferences.
- It’s a very modern, glassy hotel, but fans of historic hotels with a little more local flavor might not be satisfied. For that, The Hermitage, Nashville’s longtime luxury hotel, is only a few blocks away.
- Grand Hyatt Nashville’s location on the western edge of downtown means it’s a little removed from Lower Broadway. That can either be a selling point or a detraction, depending on your travel taste (and noise tolerance).
The Grand Hyatt Nashville features an accessible main entrance with accessible routes to public areas available from there. Accessible guest rooms and suites feature roll-in showers, accessible tubs and grab bars.
The fifth-floor rooftop pool is accessible and features a chair lift.
- The Hermitage Nashville: The grande dame of historic Nashville luxury hotels got a recent refurbishment and is looking as bright, crisp and decadent as ever. Rates start at $350 per night.
- Dream Nashville: Hyatt’s funky Dream brand has a hotel on the other side of downtown just north of Broadway near Printers Alley, a popular nightlife thoroughfare slightly less scene-y than Lower Broadway. Rates start at $205, or 21,000 World of Hyatt points, per night.
- Four Seasons Nashville: Nashville’s newest ultra-luxury hotel is steps from Lower Broadway — not a bad option for those willing to pony up to mix honky-tonk and high thread count. Rates start at $770 per night.
- W Nashville: The Nashville outpost of W is seen as a rebirth and Southern flagship for the brand. Rates start at $258 per night, or 74,500 Marriott Bonvoy points, per night.
- Thompson Nashville: World of Hyatt devotees looking for more of a lifestyle hotel are in luck, as Thompson Nashville is in the Gulch — a downtown-adjacent neighborhood about a 10-minute walk from the Grand Hyatt with trendy shopping and eateries. Rates start at $510, or 29,000 World of Hyatt points, per night.
Convention hotels don’t tend to have the best reputation. They’re typically standardized places to sleep and shower between sessions. However, the Grand Hyatt Nashville excels in a quest to be the elevated offering among the city’s increasingly large number of bigger hotels targeting the convention crowd.
World of Hyatt members certainly have a great option in Music City, and I’d venture a stay here might woo at least a few guests to change their loyalty from rival properties in the surrounding blocks.