Hotel Review: The Dream Nashville, Printers Alley

From $275

With a soft launch in December, the Dream Nashville, Printers Alley, a 168-room boutique hotel, opened officially in March in a downtown historic district, after a campaign to win over locals reeling from a breakneck building boom and too many lost preservation battles. The Nashville developer 4PANT LLC and the New York-based Dream Hotel Group appeased preservationists by restoring and incorporating elements of two historic structures: the circa-1891 Utopia Hotel and the facade of a building that once housed a 19th-century brothel and bar called the Climax Saloon. The hotel’s elegant interior pays homage to that history, melding vintage warmth and modern cool, with Art Deco flourishes.

The Dream Nashville is two blocks north of Lower Broadway, a four-block zone of revelry featuring bona fide honky-tonks and throbbing bro-country bars. Guests are a short hike from the legendary Ryman Auditorium; Bridgestone Arena, home ice for the Nashville Predators; Ascend Amphitheater, an open-air venue by the Cumberland River; and the Country Music Hall of Fame. North of Broadway, a more urbane vibe is unfolding. Several hip boutique hotels have opened recently, with affiliated cafes, rooftop bars and fine-dining restaurants. The Dream Nashville backs up to Printers Alley, a late-19th-century hub for printing, publishing, boozing and gambling. Prohibition converted saloons to speakeasies, which, after repeal, morphed into nightclubs, where Nashville Sound sidemen moonlighted as jazzmen.

Check-in was speedy and seamless. I booked a basic “Bronze King” double, paying extra for early check-in, late checkout and a $50 dining coupon. All were honored, and my husband, Hal, and I were upgraded to a premium suite and welcomed with a split of sparkling rosé and a note: “Enjoy your staycation! — The Dream Team.” Our suite was beautiful and homey, with high ceilings, wood floors and pocket doors between the ample sitting room, bathroom and bedroom. A burled-wood armoire and jewel-toned sofa, draperies and Turkish-style rugs glowed richly in the natural light. (The standard room echoes these style notes but in tighter quarters, with only a bed, a desk and a small bathroom.) At 4 a.m. a fire alarm tore us from sleep, but the all-clear came before we were dressed. I was told later that there had been a problem with a steam shower in one of the suites.

The bathroom was airy and spacious, with double marble sinks, classic black-and-white tile and mercifully soft lighting atop brass-framed mirrors. The toilet inhabits a tiny stall, while the shower is large enough to bathe a couple — or even two couples — but that wasn’t the kind of staycation we had in mind. Bath products were by C.O. Bigelow and smelled very nice.

On check-in day, I had a refreshing beet and blood orange salad ($10) for lunch at the cheery Natura Cafe, next to the hotel lobby. Next, we investigated the hotel’s four cocktail bars and settled on the Parlour Bar, which had a luxe cosmopolitan vibe. I enjoyed my Smoked Peach Old Fashioned ($12), although the ice cube was dated — with a raised “1891” design. Misleading, but classy. We had dinner at the hotel’s flagship restaurant, Stateside Kitchen, which has a French brasserie feel, with tile floors and a glass atrium ceiling. We loved our appetizers, deviled eggs ($6) and a giant prawn roll ($20), and our entree, a perfectly fired cowboy rib-eye with grilled asparagus and fries ($48).

Our room service brunch the next morning arrived in 20 minutes, as promised; the acai bowl ($12) and sausage and egg breakfast sandwich ($12) from Natura were fine but did not wow us.

All rooms offer free Wi-Fi and a minibar stocked with Veuve Clicquot, Hendrick’s gin and other premium choices. There’s a fitness center on the third floor, 24-hour room service, and a free car service on call.

Although there are many reasons to stay at the Dream Nashville Printers Alley, including its sleek design and on-site restaurants and bars, maybe the best one is the hotel’s proximity to Nashville night life — and the city’s incredible menu of music.

Dream Nashville, Printers Alley, 210 4th Avenue North; 615-622-0600; or

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