Downtown Nashville skyline.

This year, I’ve made it a goal to focus on exploring more ways to illuminate destinations from across the country. Though I’ll never not jump on an opportunity to write at length about Portugal––my trans-Atlantic fave––recent efforts are going well. In January I flew to Nashville as a guest of Hutton Hotel to preview its new songwriters retreats. Songwriters retreats will launch summer 2019 and offer budding musicians an intimate opportunity to receive mentoring from top industry professionals, and maybe even record a demo, if that’s what you want.

Nashville Hotels Are Ambassadors of Music



Over several days, musical banter and manifestation takes place in one of Hutton’s writers studios, of which there are two, and kitted out by names you might recognize. The warm, Southwestern-inspired studio with guitars hanging from the wall is partly designed by country music singer and songwriter Dierks Bentley––an homage to Bentley’s Arizona roots. The other studio sports a extra long leather couch that swallows you up on contact, and feels like a modern, urban loft thanks to One Republic frontman Ryan Tedder’s influence. The writers studios, which launched in 2018 has already hosted some star-studded names; “The Middle,” that dance pop earworm by Zedd, Maren Morris and Grey was partly recorded at Hutton.

And while songwriting workshops, seminars and retreats are offered elsewhere in Nashville, that a hotel is equipped with the space, equipment and experts needed to produce this type of experience is unique. But this is Music City after all, so it makes sense for the hospitality industry to tap into something that permeates every corner of town. Which is why it’s no surprise that Hutton Hotel also sports Analog. Its own live performance venue was transformed out of a former parking garage and is draped in jewel tones, features a stage situated lower than most to create accessible performances at eye-level, and a full bar for most imbibing whims.

Cambria Nashville Downtown and Dream hotels have dedicated performance venues too.


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Pineapple 🍕 + Nduja… ‘nuff said

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Outside the writers studios, there is food, of course. Over a few days, there is dinner at Folk for seamless service––the kind where every dining need is anticipated; another glass of wine, an extra spoon, a gracious explanation of a sunchoke––and a pineapple pizza I can’t believe I eat and wholly enjoy because I do not believe in cooked fruit (yes, pies are…difficult). There is also Hattie B’s banana pudding, which must be––after sampling what is probably the entire menu––its ringer.


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Nillaaaaaaaa Pudding #HattieBs

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Evenings manifest in two terribly entertaining outings. The first is Big Beer-only karaoke bar (trailer?) Santa’s Pub. The cigarette smoke is thick and jarring (hi, I live in California) and the heavily graffitied bathrooms make interesting reading material while you wash your hands. I also love the tall, young man who does what I wish I could do but don’t because sometimes I’m paralyzed by social norms: drink beer from a straw. The other unforgettable experience happened later that evening, but by then I am several beverages in so it is the beginning of a new day when we enter the sparsely populated, boogie-inducing cardio party of Motown Monday night at The 5 Spot. A quick internet search surfaces The Office in San Diego’s North Park neighborhood offers Motown music on Mondays, so maybe I’ll keep that in my back pocket in the event I want to relive the evening closer to home.

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