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More Green Acres

 

ImageDear Friends,

Many of you have followed us as we embraced, for quite a few years now, a local, sustainable culture at The Hermitage Hotel by sourcing our food and products and other amenities either from Nashville, Tennessee, or regional vendors.  We incorporated Hatch Show Print into website and décor in parts of the hotel, we sourced local artisans such as Vincent Peach and Linda Twist to highlight in Rachel’s Boutique, and we even went so far as to start our own garden at the Land Trust for Tennessee’s Farm at Glen Leven.  Next year, we will be changing out all of the mattresses in the hotel to beds that are made right here in Nashville.

Today, we are thrilled to announce the purchase of a 245 acre farm in Dickson Co, TN.  Double H Farms, as it will be known, is part of a bigger plan to expand our focus on preservation and sustainability.  The farm will be used to create a sustainable brand of beef that is distributed beyond the Capitol Grille.  It will also grow corn for a future grist mill and will eventually help expand the gardening program.

“The goal is to focus the future of The Hermitage Hotel and Capitol Grille by helping to preserve land, continue sustainable farming practices, and make our product more available to the community,” said Greg Sligh, managing director of The Hermitage Hotel and now also president of Double H Farms, LLC.

Farm operations will be overseen by Greg Sligh in cooperation with Executive Chef Tyler Brown and the rest of The Hermitage Hotel and Capitol Grille team.  Mr. Sligh has a strong family history in farming.  For more than a century his family owned a 600 acre farm in Missouri.  Mr. Sligh spent his summers and school breaks playing and, when old enough, working on the farm with his grandparents.  Today, he and his relatives still own and manage the original farm where he vacations with his wife and sons.

The purchase of the farm has been a long time goal born out of the experimenting with raising cattle at the Land Trust for Tennessee’s Farm at Glen Leven in partnership with farmer Blair Myers.  That project was spearheaded by Executive Chef and Head Farmer, Tyler Brown who will be actively involved, working with Greg to develop an ideal plan for the new venture.  The initial goal for this farm is to develop and increase the herd of grass-fed cattle.  Diners at the Capitol Grille have also been enjoying some of the beef which has been grazing in the sunny pastures at the Farm at Glen Leven.  However, with the increasing demands of the restaurant the larger amount of acreage allows for the herd to be increased significantly.  We also plan to sell the Double H Farms brand of beef to other interested restaurants in Nashville and elsewhere.

“For the past few years we have embraced the culture of locally sourced and sustainably grown food with the Capitol Grille and locally produced items throughout The Hermitage Hotel, with more to come.  This move will enable us to impact a much larger number of people,” said Executive Chef Tyler Brown

Nestled in the hills of White Bluff, Tennessee and bordering Montgomery Bell State Park, Double H Farms is an ideal setting with creeks that are fed by natural springs from the park.  This setting will allow for the rotation of cattle from one pasture to another to allow them to graze on the sweet grasses in the fields through a relatively simple process because of the infrastructure that already exists on the land.  The Farm is protected with a conservation easement and will always be a continuation of the Duke family’s home and farm, founded in the 1930’s.

Visit our Facebook page at The Hermitage Hotel – Nashville for more photos and updates on the farm.

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Hotel Gift Shops Are More Than Just Tylenol & Magazines

On a recent trip to South Beach, I stayed in a boutique hotel on Ocean Drive.  As soon as I walked in, I noticed a dress on a mannequin just beside the elevator.  The attentive bellman noticed me noticing the dress and quickly came to help direct me to the gift shop. 

Well, for what must have been an historic moment in my life, I was not interested in shopping at that time. I was much more interested in getting down to the serious business of lying by the pool.  But I had to admit that another reason kept me out of the gift shop that day: Even though I was at one time counted as a top customer of Rachel’s Gifts at The Hermitage Hotel’s gift shop – because they carry so many cute clothes – I still harbored a bit of a stigma toward gift shops at other hotels.  I mean, these are the places that are tucked away in small rooms because the hotel could not think of anything else to do with the space, right?  They sell Rolaids, toothpaste, and stuffed animals for frazzled business travelers to take home to the kids.  (The stuffed animals, not the Rolaids and toothpaste).  Needless to say, I was not very sold.

That said, the next day, after soaking up all of the sun I could take, I wandered to the hotel gift shop – where my mind was changed about hotel gift shops! I was thrilled to find not just one dress, but two entire walls South Beach dining and club scene worthy clothes.  A couple hours later, I emerged from this shop with the dress I wanted, plus shoes and jewelry to complement the outfit. 

If I had been watching closely during the tours of The Hermitage Hotel I give regularly, I would have realized that gift shops in luxury hotels hold great appeal to many people.  So many times, my tour of our hotel is ultimately delayed by a “peak” in Rachel’s Gifts. 

As downtown residents and employees have come to love The Hermitage Hotel, so have they found a love for Rachel’s Gifts.  Our clothing can add a fun, flirty look to any wardrobe.  The jewelry comes from local boutiques and it often accessorizes wonderfully with something already in your wardrobe.  We also offer the luxurious products that guests enjoy in our rooms, such as Molton Brown beauty products, high thread count bedding and even our extremely popular makeup and shaving mirror.  Also, no need to “help” our luxurious Frette bath sheets escape from the hotel. We have plenty available in Rachel’s Gifts.

Finally, for our guests in August,  in honor of shopping and refreshing your wardrobe, we are offering all of our in-house guests a 15% discount on all clothing, home items, and jewelry select items from Rachel’s Gifts. Basically, this discount applies to anything but the sundries, such as Tylenol, Rolaids, toothpaste, etc.

So, stay with us in August for a last trip before Summer ends and enjoy a discount that allows you to take the memories of your trip home with you.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

Warm Regards,

Janet Kurtz

Director of Sales & Marketing

P.S. Attention Facebook Fans, remember, by making your reservation on our Facebook Page you receive an additional 15% off of our rates*.  So book today for August and take advantage of this extra special through Rachel’s Gifts. 

*(Restrictions apply)

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Winner of the Dog and Cat Days of Summer Contest

Once again, we were blown away by the great stories of our Facebook fans! After the close of our most recent Facebook contest, the Dog and Cat Days of Summer, we had the privilege of reading some amazing pet stories. Some stories were hilarious and others were heart-warming, but all the stories were outstanding. It was very difficult to choose a winner.

After much consideration, we are proud to announce that Cathy Cole Wright (Facebook post #21) is the winner of the Pet Pampering Package!

To read all the contest entries, including Cathy’s winning story, visit http://tinyurl.com/lzqqzl.

If you are the winner, please claim your prize by e-mailing me at jkurtz@thehermitagehotel.com within the next five days.

Warm Regards,
Janet Kurtz
Director of Sales & Marketing
The Hermitage Hotel
615-345-7120
jkurtz@thehermitagehotel.com

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Hermitage Hotel Named Among AAA’s Top Historic Hotels

AAA has ranked The Hermitage Hotel, the only Mobil Five-Star and AAA Five-Diamond hotel in Tennessee, among its top 10 historic hotels in North America. The list, which was created by polling AAA’s lodging inspectors for their favorites, includes a total of 41 hotels. The Hermitage is the only AAA Five-Diamond hotel to make the top 10.

“AAA inspectors rate more than 31,000 hotels a year, which means that a hotel has to really make a great impression to be remembered in a survey such as this one,” said Greg Sligh, general manager of The Hermitage Hotel. “It is an honor to be included among AAA’s top 10 historic hotels. We are very proud of this accomplishment.”

AAA’s top ten historical hotels include:
• The Hermitage Hotel, Nashville, Tenn., AAA Five-Diamond
• Boston Omni Parker House Hotel, Boston, Mass., AAA Three-Diamond
• Brown Palace Hotel and Spa, Denver, Colo., AAA Four-Diamond
• Casa Marina Resort, The Waldorf Astoria Collection, Key West, Fla., AAA Four-Diamond
• The Dearborn Inn, A Marriott Hotel, Dearborn, Mich., AAA Four-Diamond
• Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island, Mich., AAA Four-Diamond
• The Settlers Inn at Bingham Park, Hawley, Pa., AAA Four-Diamond
• Sir Francis Drake Hotel, San Francisco, Calif., AAA Three-Diamond
• West Baden Springs Hotel, West Baden Springs, Ind., AAA Four-Diamond
• The Wort Hotel, Jackson, Wyo., AAA Four-Diamond

For more details about these hotels and to view the full 41-hotel list, visit CLICK HERE.

AAA’s 65 full-time, professionally-trained inspectors visit and rate more than 31,000 lodgings in the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean per year. In order to be classified as historic, a property is typically more than 75 years of age and exhibits features of a historic nature with respect to architecture, design, furnishings, public record or acclaim. For more information, visit http://www.aaa.com.AAA

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Dog and Cat Days of Summer Contest – Win a FREE Pet Pampering Package

DogWhen Gene Autry checked into The Hermitage Hotel in 1941, it was a huge honor. Mr. Autry was one of the top celebrities of his day, but what made his visit even more special was that his horse, Champion, stayed right by his side – and even slept in a separate room in The Hermitage Hotel.

The Hermitage was Nashville’s first pet friendly hotel and it is still one of the few hotels that allows pets today. Do you want to pamper your pet? Tell us your favorite Fido or Fifi story and you could win you a free Pet Pampering Package, which includes a deluxe room, breakfast for two (humans), a special pet bed and pet amenity (specific to dogs or cats) and an item from our pet in-room dining menu.

To enter the contest, visit our Facebook page discussion board under the “Boxes” tab and select the topic, “Dog and Cat Days of Summer Contest.” (Here’s a direct link: http://tinyurl.com/lzqqzl ) Post your best pet story and you are automatically entered to win a Pet Pampering Package. Stories about all kinds of pets will be considered.

Want to really catch our eye? Include a link to a photo of your pet in your post!

Entries must be received by July 24. The winners will be announced July 28.

Warm Regards,
Janet Kurtz
Director of Sales & Marketing
The Hermitage Hotel
615-345-7120
jkurtz@thehermitagehotel.com

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What It Takes To Earn Five Diamonds

Bathroom - 1It was less than nine months after the completion of our $17 million renovation that the Hermitage Hotel received the prestigious AAA Five-Diamond rating. Since 2003, The Hermitage has been among the very few hotels – just .27 percent of the 60,000 AAA-rated lodgings in the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean – to proudly bear the highest honor a hotel in North America can achieve.

From time to time, guests ask me what it takes for a hotel to earn the five-diamond rating. The short answer is this, “It takes a hotel experience like none other.” But since you have a moment, I’ll give you the longer answer.

After a hotel meets AAA requirements for comfort, cleanliness and hospitality, it is rated on a scale of one to five diamonds, describing the level of complexity in service, décor and amenities — from simple to luxurious. Lodgings receive their annual ratings from one of AAA’s 65 full-time, highly trained evaluators. All evaluations are unannounced to ensure that AAA professionals experience a hotel just as a consumer would.

AAA’s evaluation criteria are rigorous to say the least. The main categories of inspection are the hotel’s exterior, public areas (including breakfast area, restaurant and dining facilities, recreational facilities, shops and lobby), guestrooms, guestroom amenities and bathrooms. Within each category are many sub-categories of inspection with corresponding requirements for each diamond rating.

I’ll spare your time by not listing the strict requirements of each sub-category that a hotel must meet to receive the five-diamond rating. (However, if you would like to know the specifics, CLICK HERE.) But I can sum up the five-diamond level by saying it requires going beyond the highly elite, narrowly defined requirements of the four-diamond rating to a level that can often only be defined as stunning, of unique design or of outstanding elegance.

While AAA describes its five-diamond rating as, “North America’s most coveted symbol of excellence in the hospitality industry,” it is our norm that we strive to deliver and exceed for our guests day after day.

Since the best is our standard, we need a new challenge. If only there was a six-diamond rating…

Greg Sligh, Managing Director of The Hermitage Hotel

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Best NASHVILLE Vacation Memory Contest – Win a FREE Two-night Stay

Bedroom - 2Whether you call Nashville home or visit to get away from your everyday life, the sights and sounds of Music City create the perfect backdrop for some unforgettable vacation memories. What is your best vacation memory that happened in Nashville? Tell us and you could win a FREE two-night stay at The Hermitage Hotel.

To enter the contest, visit our Facebook page discussion board under the “Boxes” tab and select the topic, “Best NASHVILLE Vacation Memory Contest.” (Here’s a direct link: http://tinyurl.com/oo8x79.) Post your proposal story and you are automatically entered.

The contestants that submit the five best Nashville vacation stories will each win a free two-night stay at The Hermitage Hotel. The winners will be announced on June 9, 2009. No purchase is necessary.

Warm Regards,
Janet Kurtz
Director of Sales & Marketing
The Hermitage Hotel
615-345-7120
jkurtz@thehermitagehotel.com

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