The Russell, Nashville
Will Ross, August 4, 2022
America’s latest boom town is home to a vaulted property, once a Presbyterian church and now a striking hotel with social conscience intact – The Russell in Nashville, Tennessee. While Downtown and Germantown neighbourhoods have been the epicentre of Nashville’s growth, The Russell has taken up a quieter setting. By offering thick walls and throttled air conditioning on opposite bank of the Cumberland River, The Russell presents a restorative enclave suited to athletic travellers looking to sleep beyond the heaving Broadway strip and its tributaries.
Since opening in 2019, The Russell has re-branded a corner of East Nashville, converting a 1904 Presbyterian church into a 23-bedroom boutique hotel. The hotel has retained the building’s DNA with original stained glass windows, old brick walls and wooden pews fronting the venue. A handsome atrium is flooded with light throughout the day – exultation for remote workers who can also be grateful for a pair of call booths. Each of The Russell’s two-dozen bedrooms is unique, ranging from classic rooms to suites with skylights, photographed in detail on the hotel’s website.
The Russell comes from property developers Anchor Investments which has made a point of not only maintaining a historical connection to East Nashville, but also a close link with the local community and non-profits. By matching bed nights from paying guests, The Russell gives away a substantial portion of each night’s stay to local homeless ministries, with the average weekend stay providing one of:
- 16 beds nights
- 100 free showers
- 30 free meals
Even though town is a walkable 1.5-mile cab / walk to town, East Nashville has catered itself with its own portion of Nasty hospitality. The outstanding music venue Basement East is available for drop-ins, coffee at Barista Parlor is up the road, and sumptuous cuisine at Butcher & Bee a stone’s throw away.
There a plenty of culinary reasons to cross the Cumberland, but make a note of Big Al’s Deli which will do nothing for your personal bests and everything for your sense of Nashville nourishment – head there for a lunch and anticipate needing a nap right after.
The Russell joins two other Nashville properties in its goal to support underserved communities. Mission Hotels includes boutique hotel The Gallatin as well as 506 Lofts, apartments in downtown Nashville. A fourth is planned for 2023 – Tulip Street United Methodist Church.
As for athletics, Nashville Running Company happens to be around the corner from The Russell, connected with East Nasty Running Club. Cyclists should look up East Nashville Triathlon Club (Instagram) for rides departing from The Russell’s side of the Cumberland River. Also make a note of up their track works, taking place at Stratford High (Google Maps), accessible for independent workouts too.
Swimmers will need to cut into town to find a decent public swimming pool – Centennial Sportsplex who have drop-in rates starting from $8. Their long course 50m setup is indicated through a handy Google Calendar schedule on their website. As for strength and conditioning, look to Barry’s Bootcamp in Downtown – one way to straighten out any ill-discipline during a stay in Nashville.
For more information and booking, visit russellnashville.com. I stayed in room 3:2 in April 2022 (third floor: Room 2)