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I have held the IHG® Rewards Club Select credit card for many years because there are two aspects that I absolutely love about this card:
- IHG® Rewards Club Platinum Elite status
- Anniversary Free Night at eligible hotels worldwide, every year
That’s right…Platinum Elite status and a free night EVERY YEAR that you keep the card.
Personally, I’m more of a Marriott (but heading more towards Hyatt) guy, but with an annual fee of only $49, I’ve been able to extract phenomenal value out of the IHG Select card. Over the last few years, I’ve been able to use my free night certificate in expensive cities (e.g. London, Tokyo, etc.), essentially, exchanging the $49 annual fee for $400+ hotel rooms.
Unfortunately, IHG capped the properties where you can use the free night and no longer offer the IHG Select card. However, I have kept the card and continue to pay my $49 faithfully.
Recently, my wife and I decided we would redeem our free night at a location closer to home:
Hotel: Kimpton Aertson Hotel
Location: Nashville, Tennessee
Price: ~$300+ (60,000 IHG points/night)…or free w/ free night certificate
I lived in Nashville a few years ago so I am very familiar with the landscape. However, similar to most US cities, downtown Nashville has experienced an influx of new residents and relentless construction.
My wife and I were looking for a relaxing weekend away from the crowds so we chose the off-the-tourist-path, boutique, industrial-chic Kimpton located in Midtown.
We arrived in Nashville mid-afternoon and were warmly greeted by the parking valet attendants.
Note: The Kimpton, located in a mixed-use development building, can easily be overlooked. It’s identifiable signage is not apparent.
Personally, I was a bit surprised with the parking rates. I understand that most hotels require a fee but ~$40 per night is a bit expensive, no!? Where are we…Las Vegas!?
Every night the Kimpton has “social hour” where guests can…well, be social. Free cocktails are offered and there are a plethora of comfortable seats so you can relax. As we entered the hotel, we walked directly into, perhaps, 30+ individuals socializing in this space. The photos below were taken at a later time…
The hotel lobby also had a “Modern American Brasserie” restaurant called Henley. However, we chose to to visit some local favorites instead of patronizing the hotel restaurant.
As expected, the prices for Henley are on-par with most hotel restaurants…
Kimpton, periodically, runs a fun promotion that can unlock a free gift at check-in just by saying a particular phrase known as a “Secret Password.” Saying the “password” at check in during my past stays have resulted in rewards like comped parking, room upgrades, and breakfast vouchers. Secretly, I was hoping that parking would be omitted from my bill.
Note: If you’re staying at a Kimpton before 2 Sept. 2019, don’t forget to say the secret password…“Off Duty” and the staff marvel at how much of a travel expert you are.
After saying the password, I was able to ‘spin-to-win’ my gift. Unfortunately, comped parking was not an option. Instead, we won a bottle of wine.
One aspect that I love about Kimpton’s is their attention to detail. Often, they feature works from local artists while keeping the hotel space clean and simple.
Traveling with an infant can challenging as they don’t quite understand the rules of silence in a hotel setting so I requested a room at the end of the hallway hoping to limit our interaction with other hotel guests. We were given a room at end of the hallway on the 7th floor.
Upon entering the hotel room, we were again greeted with the clean, simple industrial-chic style that Kimpton is known for.
The bathroom was enclosed by a barn-style door.
This photo does not capture the scale of this shower. I did not measure it but I would estimate that it was 7×7 feet. It was large!
The bathroom was stocked with Atelier Bloem products.
Although these products (e.g. shampoo & conditioner) are not made for me, I do love their products.
I enjoy attention to details like using a leatherbelt as a mirror support…
…and if you have forgotten any items during your travel, one call will fix it.
Another barn-style door separates the bathroom from the toilet area.
– nighlighting, yellow accent pillows
– charming, hotel signature pillows
– vintage, bronze & iron sconces
– decorative, leather headboard
If you’re in need of a quick snack or drink, you have a few options.
There were countless usb ports and plugs to recharge your electronics. Often, this is an aspect that is overlooked and taken for granted…until you need it and it is unavailable.
As you can see from our room, the hotel is connected to additional residences and restaurants.
The mini-fridge was stocked with various beverages.
If you are interested in swimming, you will find the roof-top pool on the 8th floor. To access the pool, it will require a hotel room key and transit through various doors with touchpad technology.
The pool also has bathrooms and various stations with beach towels for guests.
The rooftop pool is extremely spacious and has a pool bar where guests are able to order snacks and beverages.
If you are interested in getting some exercise, you will find the hotel gym on the 2nd floor behind the 1/2 frosted glass panes.
The gym had various treadmills, elliptical machines, and free weights.
The gym also included a Peloton Bike. If you have a Peloton subscription, simply login, and you can continue your regimen.
As I mentioned previously, the Kimpton is surrounded by countless restaurants however, it is not in-the-heart of downtown Nashville. If you are searching for a bike ride that is a bit more casual than the Peloton bike, the Kimpton allows you to rent their bikes for free. You can visit front desk (or valet desk) stand and they will happily unlock the bikes so you can explore Nashville.
Our One Hiccup
We stayed at the Kimpton for two nights. However, we had to make two separate reservations because we used the free night certificate for the first night.
In the morning (on the second day), we went to breakfast and returned to the hotel before venturing out to explore the city. I decided to stay in the lobby with my daughter while my wife grabbed a few things from the hotel room. She returned to the lobby 10 minutes later and explains that her room key did not work. Up to this point, we had not used her key to access the room so we assumed that the key had not been activated. I gave her my key and she, again, headed to the room. She returned several minutes later, this time a bit more frustrated, because my key also did not work.
She approached the front desk and explained the situation and was told that it was “customary” that they keys had to be reprogramed because they were separate stays.
I’ve stayed in A LOT of hotels with separate reservations and never experienced this challenge.
We explained that we had separate reservations when we originally checked-in so it’s frustrating that the stays were not combined and we had to go through this hassle.
On a scale of 1-10…
- Location Score – 8.5 – The Centric is located in Midtown and is within a walking distance to many restaurants.
- Check-In Score – 9 – “Check-in” was seamless and easy.
- Service Score – 7 – The attendants at the valet stand / front door acknowledged us when we arrived (or departed). However, the incident of having to check-out / check-in again was disappointing.
- Vibe Score – 8.5 – This hotel was comfortable, quiet, and had a laid-back vibe.
- Restaurant / Food Score – n/a – Unfortuantely, we did not utilize the hotel restaurant but ventured to local neighborhoods for our meals.
- Amenities Score – 8.5 – An outdoor pool, free bike rental, & complimentary wifi make for a good weekend.
- Check-Out Score – 8.5 – Checkout was fast and efficient.
Overall, I would give the Kimpton Aertson a 8.3!
Annually, I stay in a lot of hotels. Some hotels are good, others need a bit of work. However, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the Kimpton…especially if you redeeming the free night certificate.
The location was ideal for us, the hotel was extremely quiet, and provided a solid get-away for our weekend.
It’s also worth noting that the Kimpton, proactively, invites guests to bring their pets. Regardless of size, weight, or breed…it’s free. Their website even says “If your pet fits through the door, we will welcome them in.”
Have you ever stayed in a Kimpton? If so, what was your experience?