Monday, May 16, 2016

Visiting Nashville - Loews Vanderbilt #TravelForReal

Two weekends ago, my husband and I visited Nashville to run the St Jude Rock n Roll Half Marathon. Music City lived up to all the promises of great music, delicious food and a lot of hills. We stayed at Loews Vanderbilt which is located in Midtown, a mile from famous music row. It was the perfect location, close enough to the scene but just far enough to escape from the hustle and bustle.
This modern hotel has 340 rooms (9 of which are suites) and we found it to be the ideal location to experience one of the country’s most popular destinations - Nashville.
Loews Vanderbilt has received $20 million in renovations since 2013 and I was blown away by all the details. I kept calling the decor Country Couture. Everywhere you turned, decor small or large was honoring music city.
To the right of the check in was a nice sitting area featuring a giant wall mosaic of Hank Williams.  Across from Hank's mosaic was another sitting area with a fireplace.
We stayed in a double room which was very spacious. I loved that the rooms honored Music City. The night stands resembled music tables. Concert paraphernalia adorned the walls. We've been lucky to stay at a few Loews resorts around the US and one thing I can say, they have the most comfortable beds.
Mason's is the hotels onsite restaurant. The bar has this awesome mason jar light which surrounds the entire bar space.
Inside the jars are lights which resemble firefly's. I probably took 100 pictures of this light.
We dined at Mason's twice and had cocktails at Mason Bar. The Bar featured a ton of craft cocktail, local beers and a great wine list. We had breakfast upon arrival and dinner the night before the half marathon. Knowing how talented Loews chefs are, we had high expectations and we left very satisfied.
Mason’s offers Southern-inspired fare with Appalachian and European influences. I was happy to find fusions such as shrimp and grits with kimchi collard greens and Ancho spiced pork chops with mango jicama slaw.
We started off our meal with the Mason Jars appetizer. Tomato jam, pimento cheese, deviled ham and lavash crackers. We couldn't decide which of the three were our favorite and I strongly suggest anyone dining at Mason's to start with this appetizer. It's great for sharing.
Since we were running a half marathon the next morning, I didn't order the shrimp and grits (it was a bit spicy prior to 13.1 miles). I went with the Springer Mountain Farms Chicken with chick peas, bockchoy, soy and shitake mushrooms. The chicken was cooked sous vide style leaving it juicy and full of flavor.
Gabe ordered the Grilled Ribeye which featured oyster creek mushrooms and fingerling potatoes. The Ribeye had a nice crust on it and sadly my camera decided at this point it wanted to die. So I am borrowing a photo from Mason's, dry aged steak with radishes.  We also had delicious Brussels Sprouts with fresno chilies, peanuts and bacon. Honestly, you couldn't go wrong with anything on this menu. Ton's of options for all palates.
Something that sets Loews Vanderbilt apart from other hotels is it's partnership with celebrity fitness trainer Erin Oprea. Hotel guests can train like Carrie Underwood by taking part in Balance with Erin Oprea program featuring a complete and private workout in the comfort of their own room. A quick call to housekeeping will result in equipment hand-picked by Oprea, including a yoga mat, stability ball, resistance bands and a resistance band anchor. This is awesome and I wish every hotel in the US offered this. I travel for work now and finding a balance to make time to work out while on the road can be difficult.
Along with the workout options, Erin Oprea partnered up with Executive Chef Brandon Frohne and created nutritional dishes including low sugar, low sodium, high protein and healthy fats. The Persian Breakfast Fritatta below is a crowd favorite. They even offer a healthy cocktail :)
Overall, we were very impressed with Loews Vanderbilt. We loved how close we were to everything (walking distance to Hattie B's) and the staff was extremely polite. Gabe and I would stay here again in a heart beat.

Until next time Music City!

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