COMPILATION: Eccentric Southern Accommodations
Let’s face it… the South is full of eccentric people. It’s just part of our charm, right? Admit it or not, we all have a crazy uncle or cousin somewhere in the family tree. Come to find out, we also have our share of eccentric hotels, inns and even shacks dotting the southern landscape.
From kitschy – the King’s “Graceland Suite” – to cosmopolitan – a boutique hotel/contemporary arts museum in 19th-century tobacco and bourbon warehouses – these locales highlight the many personalities of the South.
The Thunderbird Inn Savannah, GA
This classic retro roadside motel / lodge located downtown was originally built in 1964 and has been renovated to feature 42 well-designed and stylishly appointed rooms.
Jailer’s Inn Bed and Breakfast Bardstown, KY
Iron bars on windows, 30 inch thick stone walls, and a heavy steel door slamming behind you may not sound like the typical tourist accommodation and Jailer’s Inn is anything but typical. The historic Jailer’s Inn, circa 1819, offers a unique and luxurious way to “do time.”
Shack Up Inn Clarksdale, MS
Blues lovers making the pilgrimage to the cradle of the blues, the Mississippi Delta, should not miss the unique opportunity to experience Hopson Plantation, located only three miles from the legendary Crossroads, Highways 49 and 61. Virtually unchanged from when it was a working plantation, there are authentic sharecropper shacks, the original cotton gin and seed houses and other outbuildings of a bygone era. Restored only enough to accommodate 21st century expectations (indoor bathrooms, heat, air conditioning, coffee maker with condiments, refrigerators and microwave in all the units), the shacks are comfortable yet authentic.
The Peabody Hotel Memphis, Orlando, Little Rock
The Peabody ducks still march to the marble fountain everyday at 11 am and 5 pm. What began as a joke between two friends back in the 1930’s (Frank Schutt, general manager of The Peabody, and his friend Chip Barwick) has now become a tradition that stands the test of time! When the two men returned from a weekend hunting trip to Arkansas, they had a little too much Jack Daniel’s Tennessee sippin’ whiskey and thought it would be funny to place some of their live duck decoys in the beautiful Peabody fountain.
Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel Chattanooga, TN
Where can you stay overnight in a beautifully restored Victorian train car?
The Chattanooga Choo Choo, of course! You may be reminded of a past era while staying aboardthe rail cars but they are equipped with all of today’s conveniences.
21C Museum Hotels Louisville, KY
Four-foot tall red plastic penguins line the roof of this boutique hotel and modern art museum like friendly sentries. A combination contemporary art museum, hotel and restaurant – renovated from five historic 19th century tobacco and bourbon warehouses – 21c is an innovative union of authentic Southern hospitality, thoughtful design and accessible luxury. And it has the awards to prove it…
Condé Nast Traveler magazine readers voted it among the TOP TEN HOTELS in the World in the 2009, 2010 and 2011 Readers’ Choice Awards.
Turpentine Creek Eureka Springs, AK
Turpentine Creek is an exotic sanctuary which provides lifetime refuge for abandoned, abused, and neglected “Big Cats” with emphasis on tigers, lions, leopards, and cougars. You can visit for the day or stay for the night and see the menagerie up close and personal with the on-site lodging and suites.
Jules’ Undersea Lodge Key Largo, FL
Jules’ Undersea Lodge is a piece of history, and is operated as a “living museum” from the Golden Age of Diving. Originally designed in the early 1970s, it was refitted and refurbished in the early 1980s as the first true ambient pressure habitat available to the general public. The one and only underwater lodge, this one is for the truly adventurous!
Heartbreak Hotel Memphis, TN
Long love the King! Located across the street from Graceland, you can’t get much closer unless you were staying there! The Elvis themed suites – the Hollywood, the Burning Love, the Graceland and the Gold & Plantinum – will have you feeling like rock-n-roll royalty.