Touches of Tuscaloosa, Alabama—home of the Crimson Tide—can be seen all over the city’s first full-service hotel downtown. Wilson Hotel Management opened the $31 million Embassy Suites Tuscaloosa Alabama Downtown in March. The company’s president, Kemmons Wilson Jr., is a graduate of The University of Alabama and made sure the hotel reflected the campus and community.
Although it’s not overtly decked out in crimson and white, Embassy Suites Tuscaloosa Alabama Downtown has touches of the university throughout, such as houndstooth carpeting in the lobby and images of campus favorites, like Denny Chimes on The Quad and the president’s mansion, peppering the walls. Eight stories high with river views and 154 suites, the property was a necessary addition to bring more meetings business to the West-Central Alabama town, says Heather Dill, director of sales and marketing for the property. For meeting space, the hotel has a 5,240-sq.-ft. ballroom, which divides into five flexible sections, and a 2,100-sq.-ft. prefunction space for registration.
“We have a lot of association business on the books already,” says Dill. “It helps that we’re only 2 miles from Bryant Conference Center too.” So far, Professional Fire Fighters of Alabama, Alabama League of Municipalities and National Association of Letter Carriers have events planned at the hotel this year. Just don’t try to book over an Alabama football weekend—rumor has it the rooms are sold out for every home game weekend for the 2015-16 football season.
Foodies will revel in the fact that the hotel snagged chef Chris Hastings to open its restaurant, The Side by Side. Hastings is a James Beard Award winner and the gourmand behind renowned Hot and Hot Fish Club in Birmingham, Alabama. Planners can book several private dining rooms in The Side by Side.
Insider Tip: Thirty restaurants in downtown Tuscaloosa are within walking distance of the hotel. Try locally owned Chuck’s Fish, with fresh fish flown in daily, private dining rooms and a banquet room.
Photo Credit: Embassy Suites