Giorgio Armani said, “To create something exceptional, your mindset must be relentlessly focused on the smallest detail.” After staying in The Joseph in Nashville, it’s apparent that no detail was overlooked.
This new luxury hotel in the SoBro area of Nashville, Tennessee, is owned by The Pizzuti Companies, based in Columbus, Ohio, where the first location is. Joel Pizzuti, President and CEO, oversaw its development and design. The hotel is named after his grandfather, the founder of the real estate company. Part of the Marriott Luxury Collection, The Joseph Nashville is the first new-build luxury hotel in the city.
“I love Nashville. I went to school there and spend a lot of time in the city,” Joel said. “It’s one of the most vibrant, exciting cities in the country and I love the creative energy that drives it. We believed the one thing missing was a luxury hotel and that if we could find the perfect location and deliver a great product, it will do well.”
Here are just a few examples of the details that combine to create an exceptional experience.
– The front of the check-in desk is covered by hand-tooled leather from Lucchese, the famous boot company in Texas. (I got to tour the factory and watch them make the boots when I was in El Paso. See a short video tour here.) The pattern includes flora and fauna from Tennessee, Ohio, (where Pizzuti lives) and Texas.
– There’s an authentic London cab available for guest use that’s refurbished with a gorgeous interior featuring Burberry fabric.
– The Presidential Suite has a fully restored 1920s Steinway piano. Because why not the best?
– The steak knives in Yolan, the fine-dining restaurant, are made from elk antlers from the North Cumberland Wildlife Area.
– The knobs on the nightstands are like tuners on an amp and the floral pattern in the rugs in the lobby are a tribute to the nudie suit favored by country music stars, subtle nods to its home in Music City.
Let’s move on to other aspects of this property that make it exceptional and why I fell in love with it.
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The Rooms at The Joseph Nashville
The first thing I do when I open the door to a new hotel room is run to the window and look out. From our corner suite I had views of downtown Nashville, the Cumberland River and the Nissan Stadium across the river.
The Joseph Nashville is in a perfect location – a few blocks from the honky-tonks on Broadway, the Tennessee Performing Arts Center, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Nissan Stadium. It’s across the street from Schermerhorn Symphony Center and walking distance to The Gulch.
Our suite had a seating area, sofa and perhaps my favorite feature, a record player (aka turntable) with a few albums to play. How did they know I listened to Elton John’s “Yellow Brick Road” incessantly when I was in high school?
One evening when my husband had a business appointment, I put the records on and danced around the room to old favorites. I did recall one issue that we had with turntables – as soon as I left the room, the record started skipping. Ah, the good old days.
Our bathroom was gorgeous, filled with Italian marble, and I really appreciated the shower. It had one knob and arrows pointing to the words hot and cold so no fiddling with dials while you alternately freeze and burn trying to get the water temperature correct. Thank you.
The Joseph Nashville has 297 rooms, which includes 32 suites. I was lucky enough to tour the spacious and elegant Penthouse Suite. Some lucky person was staying in the Presidential Suite so I couldn’t view that. With a spacious seating area with dozens of places to sit and a long bar on one side of the room, this suite is designed to entertain. I imagine will be a hot ticket for people in the music industry. The soaking tub in the center of the large bathroom is a special delight.
The Presidential Suite is on the same floor, which includes meeting space and The Wells, designed for small gatherings and even recording sessions.
From Fine Dining to the Coffee Shop
We had coffee and a few pastries at the coffee shop in the lobby where the selection of pastries changes daily. A nice staff member will warm up your pastry selection in the fancy Italian oven. If you’re an espresso fan, here’s the place to get it. All efforts were made to create the perfect cup of espresso.
Named after Joel’s love of the fabric, Denim is located on the 21st floor with a bar, indoor seating and outdoor seating by the pool. Above the bar is several huge stacks of neatly folded recycled denim. We saw several people enjoying cocktails and food on the tables outside.
One the day we had lunch there, it was in the 80s, so we opted for the shade provided by one of the poolside cabanas, and dined on delicious ahi tuna, ceviche, fried chicken sandwich and snapper – yes, a lot of food for two people but we wanted to try it all. Even so, I had to stop myself from devouring all the delicious Parmigiano-Reggiano frites.
I saved the best for last – the fine dining Italian restaurant Yolan. Have you noticed a pattern with the family names? Yolan is no different, named for Joel’s grandmother Yolanda.
You may have also observed that Joel Pizzuti is a man who gets what he wants. And for this restaurant he wanted one of the best chefs in the country. Why not have a Michelin-starred and James Beard award-winner in the kitchen?
He wooed Chef Tony Mantuano away from Spiaggia in Chicago where he had been for 35 years. He and his wife Cathy, who runs the wine program, have now made Nashville their home and have become good friends with the Pizzuti family.
After debating between ordering a la carte or going for the tasting menu, we threw caution and concerns about our waistlines to the wind and ordered the eight-course tasting menu.
Each dish was beautifully presented and really delicious. These include Panzanella, prawns, risotto with lobster and lamb. My favorites were the pasta dishes, the tortelli in brown butter and the gnocchi that was the traditional shape of the part of Italy where Chef’s family is from and covered in freshly shaved black truffles. I couldn’t resist the bread and practically drank the amazing olive oil served with it.
Our desserts were elaborately constructed, colorful works of art. The kind that have to be photographed before you dig into them.
Even if you don’t stay at The Joseph Nashville on your next visit, be sure to check out the rooftop pool and dine at Yolan.
The Spa, Pool and Fitness Center
Thankfully we had warm, sunny weather when we visited in October and were able to really enjoy the gorgeous rooftop on the 21st floor. After settling into one of the lounges by the pool, I walked around to all four sides to see magnificent views of Nashville. The pool area is accented by a plant wall, one of seven on the property, with 14,000 plants.
On one side, I craned my neck to look down to a roof several floors below, which had a colorful sculpture put there for the enjoyment of people whose rooms faced that way. See what I mean by focus on every detail?
I had a wonderful hot stone massage in Rose Spa, the middle name of Joel’s daughter.The spa has a full line of body treatments and facials plus a salon for nails and hair.
Also located on the 21st floor along with the spa and the pool, the fitness center has cardio equipment and weights along with amazing views of downtown Nashville.
The Carefully Curated Art Collection
Joel’s family in Columbus, Ohio, is a big collector of contemporary art. So large that you can see some of it yourself at The Pizzuti collection of the Columbus Museum of Art.
So it’s no surprise there is a particular focus on art at The Joseph Nashville, both inside and outside. Some pieces are from the family’s private collection while others were commissioned by artists who have a connection to Tennessee.
Two of my favorites were at the entrance: a large blue bench sculpture and a video/seating area. The videos change throughout the day and I found myself mesmerized watching a man fishing from a tiny house floating in the water.
“When you arrive at most hotels, it’s an uninspiring experience,” Joel said. “We wanted guests to feel something different from the moment they arrive at the hotel. The sculpture and video wall are very intentional for that reason.”
There’s also a London cab parked at the front of the hotel, which will be used to transport guests who sign up for signature experiences at the hotel. These include a shopping excursion to Billy Reid’s store (he designed the staff uniforms for The Joseph Nashville), a behind-the-scenes tour with Chef Mantuano and a visit to the VIP design studio of Lucchese in Nashville where you can design your own boots.
In addition to the art by local artists found throughout the lobby, there’s a gallery on the 8th floor where the meeting space is that will host the works of one artist on a rotating basis.
Yes, it’s a tough time to open a new property. It may take a while until a lot of those turntables in the guest rooms get taken for a spin. But I have no doubt this new luxury property in Nashville will be buzzing with guests soon.
– Jan Schroder, Editor-in-chief