By JOHN McBRYDE
Though a specific date hasn’t been determined yet, officials with the Harpeth Hotel in downtown Franklin plan to have it open in time to fill rooms for the Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival taking place Sept. 21-22 at the Park at Harlinsdale Farm.
A part of the Curio Collection by Hilton and Valor Hospitality Partners, the Harpeth Hotel is scheduled to open sometime in September and will be the first portion of the $105 million Harpeth Square project in downtown Franklin to be doing business.
In addition, the 119-room boutique hotel will be the first lodging opportunity in downtown Franklin. It’s part of the project that will also include 150 high-end apartments, a 596-space parking garage, 12,000 square feet of retail space and 6,500 square feet of Class A office space.
Ellie Westman Chin, president and CEO of the Williamson County Convention & Visitors Bureau, said the hotel will be a boost for the city.
“There’s a whole market of business we haven’t pursued because we need an independent, boutique hotel, and that will serve that purpose for us,” she told the Franklin Home Page earlier this year. “So we are very excited that’s going to open and they have made that commitment. I really think it’s going to be a game-changer for us.”
The Harpeth Hotel recently unveiled its design inspiration and details of its property. It relates to the story of the state’s history emboldened by the defining moments of the 19th century, while creating an ambiance resembling a warm and welcoming Southern home, according to a press release. The design celebrates the city’s rich historical heritage, while incorporating refined and modern amenities.
The hotel features 21 unique styles of guestrooms. At the entrance of guestrooms, tiled mudrooms feature coat hooks and shelving, while headboards’ herringbone and chevron patterns, the distinctive bedding and curtain fabrics and the expansive bathroom vanities resemble elements within the 19th century Tennessee house. Finally, rooms feature local artwork that offer insight into the town’s character and history.
To reflect Tennessee’s legacy of whiskey-making, the Harpeth’s flagship dining venue, 1799 Kitchen & Cocktails, features architectural elements designed to resemble a whiskey barrel, creating an experience rooted in curiosity for diners throughout the restaurant. No feature of the barrel’s design has been overlooked, from the ceiling inside the barrel that resembles the mash created when whiskey is distilled to the carpet within the barrel selected to resemble the bottom of a classic rocks glass.
Not only does 1799 Kitchen & Cocktails pay homage to Tennessee’s whiskey-infused heritage, the restaurant also speaks to the town’s agricultural origin. Notably, the craft cocktail bar features gaping wood slats, mimicking a conventional corn bin from the 19th century. Farm elements are also seen in the property’s café, McGavock’s Coffee Bar & Provisions.
The café offers the charming atmosphere of a general store with reclaimed tables, farm chairs and tile designs from the early 19th century. Agricultural elements are seen throughout the remainder of the hotel with lobby sconces resembling flame-lit farm lanterns, waxed wood barn door walls and equestrian artwork in the library.
With over 5,000 square feet of meeting and event space, the Harpeth will cater to corporate groups, weddings and other social events. The Riverside Ballroom and Maury Boardroom spaces were designed to pay homage to the city’s history of war, Southern lifestyle, and politics. The chevron ceiling design in the ballroom, mirrored in the lobby and library, is a nod to the uniforms of the soldiers who fought in the 1864 Battle of Franklin.
In the Riverside Foyer, wall sconces resemble the decorative handmade lace of ballroom dresses in the early 19th century, while the carpeting is inspired by the daffodils in the garden of the historic, Civil War site, Carnton plantation. The Maury Boardroom itself tells the story behind Franklin’s name. The room is named after Abram Maury, the city’s founder and the politician responsible for naming the city after Benjamin Franklin.
“Every feature on the property has been carefully selected to walk guests through the history of our incredible city, while providing the thoughtful touches and comforts of a traditional Southern home,” said Justin Foster, the Harpeth’s general manager. “At every turn, you’ll find something new to uncover and learn about Franklin. The design elements we chose speak to the intricate events and details that the area was built upon and give guests an authentic look into the town’s experience and character.”