The Capital of Country Music, Nashville fulfills every anticipated mid-South expectation: upstanding gentry and plebeians alike parading in handsome cowboy boots; guitar-infused live music at every turn­; and a smooth, luscious twang rolling leisurely off the local tongue and welcoming visitors with a warmth and friendliness that seems refreshingly genuine (perhaps in part due to its drawl-drenched delivery). Yet, beyond the guitars and the whiskey, a central Nashville offering that comes seemingly out of nowhere with its seductive charm is the Hutton Hotel.

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A luxury steward of environmental consciousness, the lavish but grounded appeal is undeniable.. Don’t be fooled by the hotel’s physical surroundings; the Hutton Group knows exactly what they are doing, and they are doing it with utmost panache in a part of town that could be Anywhere, USA. On an otherwise bland and unremarkable strip on the western edge of downtown Nashville, the Hutton shines as a modern and refined beacon, a figurehead for high-end, boutique hotels focusing on eco-friendly operations and materials.

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Entering The Hutton’s main lobby, you are enveloped with a sense of charm and sophisticated whimsy. In the company of a steel sculpture of a horse and an elegantly curated wall of paintings by local youth, a set of sleek leather couches invite you to linger. Continuing that thought, The Hutton staff focus on nontraditional personal touches that make guests feel particularly cared for. Check-in is not conducted standing at a front desk, but sitting down, face-to-face with an attentive staff member who asks you to get comfortable—ironic, as the actual process is swift and seamless. This relaxed check-in experience affords an opportunity for The Hutton to provide a weary traveler with their first taste of true Southern hospitality.

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Representing the cutting-edge in sophisticated green hotelling, The Hutton’s focus goes far beyond the basic minimums that hotels are increasingly touting (sheets and towels washed only once a guest leaves and recycling bins tucked behind the minibars). Instead, the Hutton pulls out all the stops: stylish, renewable building materials throughout the hotel; elegant low-flow rain showerheads and water saving dual-flush commodes; high-end, low-energy lighting; non-toxic cleaners; and a laundry water recycling program.

The green-hued luxury experience exemplary throughout, but especially delighted us in the bathrooms, where chocolate-marbled countertops are laden with high-end, eco-friendly English personal amenities. And speaking of chocolate, be prepared to be overwhelmed with decadence when turn-down service welcomes you back with a tantalizing plate of the pastry chef’s choice truffles. Wash it down with a cup of organic coffee, brewed in-room, and slip into a silky Hutton robe while you bask in the gorgeous views of downtown Nashville.

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Lest you need additional impetus to stay at the Hutton, let their commitment to participating in community capacity building wow you, with their sponsoring of youth summits for emerging leaders in the hotel industry, and supporting of local art students. Further, the Hutton’s head chef, Charles Philips, focuses on using local, sustainable produce at the not to be missed, well-appointed restaurant, 1808 Grille. His exceptional culinary skill has put The Hutton in the spotlight by partnering with the National Foundation for Cancer Research to promote healthy eating habits to aid in cancer prevention.

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By far, The Hutton Hotel is definitively Nashville’s leader in luxury, environmentally friendly innovation. The Hutton sets the bar high for other hotels, both locally and across the country, and here’s hoping that the hospitality industry as a whole will be encouraged to aspire to the Hutton’s standards for eco-sensitive design and operations. The sophiticated elegance of this eco luxury hotel is a guiltless pleasure that everyone should be so fortunate to enjoy.

- Shira Siegel