Using personality to transform a run-of-the-mill business hotel

If you visit the website of the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel Nashville, you have the impression that it’s a nice upscale business hotel but interchangeable with numerous other hotels you may have seen in other cities. However, it only takes a few minutes on site to realize that this hotel has so much personality that you want to pack it in your suitcase and take it with you on future business trips. The local staff has done an amazing job of adding a layer of quirkiness and uniqueness to what would otherwise be a standard-issue business hotel.

Before you even walk through the doors, the lion statues out front give the first hint that things are different. When it’s cold, as it has been the past few days, the lions wear capes.


 The day I arrived, the lions were wearing the cutest rain slickers. Sadly I didn’t have a chance to snap a picture before their outfits were changed, but you can see a copyrighted picture on Flickr ( From what I have heard, they also dress the lions up in sports uniforms to support some of the local teams.

The next thing you notice when you walk in the lobby is the grass. Indoors. Around the pillars and on the reception desk. Live grass. Very unexpected.


One of the other great things about the hotel is that “Loews loves pets” (  Unlike the other unique aspects of the hotel, which seem to be specific to Nashville, the pet policy applies to the whole chain. In the lobby, there is a special doggie chair and dog dishes. When you check in, your “Very Important Pet” gets presents.


Here is Reese, one of the canine friends we made during our stay, with her mistress.


Last, but not least, the Loews Vanderbilt staff is superb: true hospitality offered with warmth and a smile (and really quick and reactive). The hotel has also embraced social media: if you check in on Foursquare, you get a voucher for goodies in the bar, and connecting on Twitter (@) is also recognized.

All-in-all, I have been impressed by how defining a unique and authentic personality for the hotel makes it stand out so much from the crowd. By adding an element of fun and putting a human face on the hotel, the Loews Vanderbilt team have transformed a good hotel into a delightful one.




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