Luxury is typically defined as something non-essential but more and more these days I find myself redefining what I view as essential. And isn’t that the way it should be? As we grow and change so do our priorities. One of the major adjustments I’ve made since becoming a parent is my standards for hotel accommodations. After a recent stay with Marriott Knoxville Downtown and The Tennessean Hotel, I can say with complete confidence that they now rest comfortably on the top of my list for where to stay when you’re lucky enough to find yourself in the Maker City.
First, let’s talk location. Marriott Knoxville Downtown and The Tennessean Hotel are perched in an unbeatable position within walking distance of the Knoxville Convention Center, the downtown area, The University of Tennessee, and perhaps the most iconic area of Knoxville, World’s Fair Park, which is home to the spectacular Sunsphere. Visit Knoxville was kind enough to take us inside the Sunsphere for a tour and I’ll be sharing those photos in a separate post later. Spoiler alert- it was breathtaking. A must if (like me) you grew up in close proximity and you think you’ve seen all Knoxville has to offer. You would be wrong you sweet gorgeous fool.
But let’s get back to our regularly scheduled programming…
Marriott Knoxville Downtown offers 302 newly renovated rooms with mid century modern flair and everything you need for a comfortable stay. Pro tip- ask for a room with a view of the park.
Please note that these photos feature multiple different tiers of accommodations offered at Marriott Knoxville Downtown.
The Tennessean Hotel has fewer rooms available, clocking in at a modest 82, which I believe is a nod to World’s Fair held in Knoxville in 1982. However, the richness and opulence available to those fortunate few is anything but modest.
The goal of the staff at The Tennessean Hotel is to remind you that luxury is personal. They have a signature scent that ever-so-subtly permeates the space. Their signature cocktail is the smoked old-fashioned and after one sip you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it. What struck me most was the décor. With a keen eye you’ll notice a heavenly union between European influence and the unmatched beauty of Tennessee’s rivers.
The aesthetics of both The Tennessean Hotel and Marriott Knoxville Downtown feature carefully curated pieces that bring art and artists to the forefront. In short- these are my kind of people.
Knoxville, Tennessee is known as “The Maker City” because in 2016, Knoxville hosted a “maker’s summit” where local creatives (especially small and mid-size entrepreneurs) came together to network and express what is necessary to ensure their success. This event was inspired by Etsy’s Maker Cities Summit in Brooklyn, New York. Shortly following, Knoxville received Etsy’s seal of approval as an official “Maker City”. Once again, this “scruffy, little city” proved that you should never underestimate Tennesseans.
The culmination of art, culinary excellence, and southern hospitality birthed Marriott Knoxville Downtown’s restaurant Maker Exchange.
One thing that surprised me about my stay at Marriott Knoxville Downtown was the coffee shop.
Knoxville takes coffee very, VERY seriously, as well they should. What was surprising is that I could get an incredible cup of coffee in the same funky, eclectic setting as I’ve come to expect in Knoxville, all without leaving my hotel. Most notably, they feature beautiful mugs from local artists. A personal favorite of mine in Knoxville is Sutton Ceramics. If you don’t know about her work you’re missing out. Look her up on social media and thank me later.
Last, but certainly not least, is something that you will be sure to add to your list of Knoxville must-do experiences. I give you, Tea Service at The Tennessean.
Remember what I said about luxury? Aside from taking a nap on this cozy, overstuffed couch, my idea of luxury most certainly includes tea and scones in the drawing room. True to form, The Tennessean Hotel has its own signature blend of tea called “Sweet Peach Noir” that was divine without any cream or sugar. Who am I?
This is the perfect treat for Mother’s Day, special occasions, or really any day. Go on, you deserve it.
You can find their full schedule of tea services here including a Holiday Tea in December that will likely be a gift from Mama Claus to Mama Claus.
If you haven’t been to Knoxville, go take a look around The Maker City, stay at one of these incredible adjoining properties, and treat yourself to tea.
Sip sip, hooray.
*My stay was gifted but, as always, all opinions are my own.