Long before the SoBro Guest House was a rock-n-roll enclave in the middle of a country music capital, the building was nothing more than an aging apartment complex. But Ethan Orley and Philip Welker — a duo who already had success with the Oliver Hotel in Knoxville — saw potential for a casual, overtly cool hotel in Nashville, and this location seemed like the ideal spot. They wanted something that was low on frills but high on design, a setting that catered to the type of person who isn't too keen on a schedule but still prefers convenience wherever he goes. What they settled on was 24 apartment-style suites, complete with a living room and kitchen, that have been eclectically styled by locals. "[Orley and Welker] found their knack in taking old buildings and turning them into places where people want to stay," said Ashley Earnhardt, the creative director and brand manager of the pair's company. "SoBro's got this hipster vibe but caters to everyone." There's no check-in desk when guests arrive, and when they do show up to claim their rooms, they'll find a bedroom accented with bright palm trees and artwork made from graffiti. That's the thing about a place like SoBro: with the right touch, anything goes.
An exterior mural of gradient green lines by Nathan Brown Creative Works is visible from a mile-wide radius.
Doing away with a check-in desk was intentional. "This is more 'on your own,'" explained Earnhardt. "You get in when you get in." The short walk to each of the suites is designed to be soothing, thanks to a paint choice of emerald green.
The suites' look was conceptualized by the Tennessee studio Holler Design, which crafts its pieces from local lumber. "It's a little bit Bohemian, a little left-of-center," Earnhardt said.
"You can't go wrong with white," joked Earnhardt about the traditional all-white bathrooms in each of the suites. All baths received updates with the renovation.
Each suite has its own full kitchen, plus a snack bar stocked with local eats, such as Bongo Java whole-bean coffee, a hometown artisan purveyor.