Historic Hermitage Hotel Reopens On Valentine's Day

Friday, February 14, 2003

Nashville, Tn. - The Hermitage Hotel, which was Nashville's first
million-dollar hotel when it opened in 1910, reopens today - Valentine's Day - after a $17 million, 10-month restoration project.

The goal is to become Tennessee's first AAA Five Diamond and Mobil
Five-Star hotel, and one of the world's finest small luxury hotels.

"The reopening at long last restores grand luxury to this historic
hotel, making it a world-class destination point for visitors and
residents alike," said Nashville Mayor Bill Purcell, who held his
wedding reception at The Hermitage Hotel.

The hotel, which will hold its invitation-only grand opening
celebration on the evening of February 25, is on the National Register of Historic Places and is the only remaining commercial Beaux Arts structure in Tennessee. Located in downtown Nashville, directly
opposite the State Capitol, it has hosted six presidents, housed the
pro- and anti-suffrage forces in the 1920s, and held a place in the hearts of city residents since it was commissioned by 250 of them in 1908.

As well as 24-hour room and concierge service, the hotel now offers a
number of superior services unique to the Nashville area. They include: personalized storage trunks for frequent guests, DVD players
and complimentary high-speed internet access in every room, afternoon
tea in the lobby and butler service upon request.

"The Hermitage will be the hotel of choice for those who simply want
the best," says Prem Devadas, the hotel's managing partner. "Guests
will encounter a level of service and quality of materials never
before seen in Tennessee and the surrounding region."

The hotel's owner, Historic Hotels Nashville, LLC, has already
successfully renovated and transformed The Jefferson Hotel in
Richmond, VA. It elevated that hotel, built in 1895, from a AAA Three
Diamond property into one of the 23 hotels that carry both the AAA
Five Diamond and Mobil Five-Star ratings. In 2001, Forbes FYI
designated The Jefferson as the "Best Hotel in America." In March
2004, The Hermitage's other sister property - Kiawah Island Golf
Resort near Charleston, SC., will open The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island,
an ultra-luxury oceanfront hotel and spa, at a cost of $125 million.

The average size of a guestroom is now 475 square feet - large even
for a luxury hotel. The interior walls on the guest floors were
removed allowing the creation of completely new rooms. This was
essential, says Devadas, for the hotel to fulfill its mission of
offering a true luxury experience.

Prior to the renovation, the hotel had been an all-suite property.
Now, there are 112 oversized guestrooms, a 2,000-square-foot
presidential suite, three executive suites and seven junior suites.
Each room is decorated with fine furnishings and fabrics. Only linens
with fine thread counts and down-filled duvets have been used, while
every bathroom includes marble soaking tubs, double vanities, a
separate shower and enclosed water closet. In addition, each suite has
a Jacuzzi. Room rates will begin at $210 per night and rise to $1,500
per night for the presidential suite.

The façade of the hotel, including the original terra cotta, has been
cleaned and restored, while a climate-controlled porte-cochere was
added to reflect the design of a historic hotel. Inside the doors, a
foyer and gift shop have been created, while local artisans,
specializing in historic paint restoration, have repainted every
feature in the ceiling of the hotel's famous lobby. The renowned glass
ceiling has also been carefully restored. The Grand Ballroom's paneled walls, made from Circassian walnut imported from Russia, have been cleaned and restored to their original luster. A Capitol view fitness room has also been added on the mezzanine level, along with marble locker rooms and massage treatment rooms.

Below the lobby, the hotel's infamous art deco men's room has been upgraded, but the green and black glass décor has been retained. The
renowned Capitol Grille restaurant has also undergone a complete
facelift, including new furniture, chandeliers and a grand new entrance. The restaurant, which was home to the Francis Craig Orchestra and a national radio show for several years, also has a new menu and executive chef, Sean Brock - who moved from Lemaire, The Jefferson Hotel's AAA Five Diamond restaurant.

The new menu features creative interpretations of southern cuisine
with an emphasis on the freshest and best available local products. It
also includes a la carte components, with regionally and historically
matched side dishes.

The Hermitage Hotel is a member of both Preferred Hotels & Resorts
Worldwide and Historic Hotels of America. For more information or
reservations, call 1-888-888-9414 or visit online at:

Tennessee Aquarium Has Underwater Pumpkin Carving On Saturdays

Tennessee Aquarium guests can see underwater pumpkin carving demonstrations each Saturday at 11 a.m. throughout October in the River Journey building. Costumed SCUBA divers will make weekend appearances for the rest of the month.  Lots of costumed divers will be seen during the AquaScarium family Halloween Party at the Aquarium. Pirates, mermaids, and super heroes will be ... (click for more)

Ghostly Gathering At Historic Rugby Set For Oct. 22 And 29

Historic Rugby’s annual “Ghostly Gathering” celebration will take place on Oct. 22 and 29 (Saturdays) this year at 6 p.m. Eastern. The yearly Halloween-season celebration is a favorite among village visitors, who enjoy a homemade chili dinner with dessert at the Historic Rugby Community Building, followed by a ghost movie, then candle and oil lamp tours of several historic ... (click for more)

Domestic Assault Charge Dismissed Against Bobby Stone In Case Involving Mayor's Top Advisor; Stone Says Berke Had Inappropriate Relationship With His Wife; Says Berke And Fletcher Conspired To Arrest Him; Lacie Stone Says Charges Completely False

A charge of domestic assault was dismissed Friday morning against Bobby Stone in a case involving a top advisor to Mayor Andy Berke.  Afterward, Mr. Stone told reporters that the mayor had an inappropriate relationship with his wife, Lacie Stone. He also charged that Mayor Berke and Police Chief Fred Fletcher conspired to arrest him. Mr. Stone is expected to file ... (click for more)

Firefighters Respond To Residential Fires Friday Night, Early Saturday Morning

Chattanooga firefighters responded to two fires Friday night and early Saturday morning. The first fire occurred around 11 p.m. Friday and was located at 7128 Lea Road. The fire reportedly started in the kitchen, but was spreading rapidly. The Chattanooga Fire Department initially responded with four fire companies.  Captain Andre Dean with Quint 21 said ... (click for more)

Bobby Stone, Is It Really A Win?

It brought a smile to my face this morning when I saw where the case was thrown out of court against Mr. Stone and the domestic violence charge.  I have supported his cause from the beginning, but I do feel heartbreak because his personal life had to be tossed out there for all of us to see.   I truly hope and pray things turn around for him and his wife, while I feel ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Kelly Could Win It

I am neither a sleuth nor an odds maker but I’d say there is about a one-in-three chance that Interim Hamilton County Department of Education Superintendent Kirk Kelly could become the permanent superintendent of our public schools next Thursday. I am assured something squirrelly is happening on our newly-seated school board. It has been seven months since the last superintendent ... (click for more)