We recently stopped in Birmingham for an overnight stay on the way to Memphis. I am sharing our honest review of the beautiful Tutwiler Hotel.
Located in downtown Birmingham, Alabama is the majestic and historic Hampton Inn & Suites Birmingham-Downtown-Tutwiler boutique hotel that promises a memorable destination experience.
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Table of Contents
- Tutwiler History
- The Hotel
- More Southern Hotel Reviews
You need a little historical background in order to appreciate this boutique hotel. I am always curious what the story is behind old buildings, especially one like the Tutwiler which is over 100 years old.
The current location of the Tutwiler downtown is not it’s original location. The original Hotel was built in 1914 by a group of steel magnates. They were interested in adding a luxury hotel to downtown Birmingham for the purpose of entertaining guests in town on business. One of the investors was Major Edward M. Tutwiler.
The original Tutwiler was located on the corner of 20th Street and 5th Avenue North, opened in 1914. The majestic hotel was known as the “Grand Dame of Southern Hotels.” . The Tutwiler built with all of the modern conveniences, became a major hub for political, business and social gatherings. Some of its famous visitors included; President Warren G. Harding, Charles Lindbergh, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, Rocky Marciano, Babe Ruth, opera star Mary Garden, Jeanette McDonald and Nelson Eddy, Walter Pidgeon, Dr Norman Vincent Peale, and Vice President Hubert Humphrey.
You can imagine the many celebrations that took place at The Tutwiler. Many parties, events and honored guests who frequented the place. Don’t forget to think of the many local folks who made their living working at the Tutwiler. Lots of history down through the years.
Time marches on and with it, change comes through the decades of American history. Through the change of ownership and the visions of others, renovations were made to keep up with the times. Eventually the Tutwiler closed for good in 1972.
The original building was imploded in 1974 to make room for The First Alabama Bank. There was no Tutwiler in Birmingham for about 12 years until they reopened in 1986 after remodeling the old Ridgely Apartments building which also was built by Major Tutwiler.
The current location for the Hampton Inn & Suites Birmingham-Downtown-Tutwiler is 21st St and 6th Ave. It was Temple Tutwiler III, the great grandson of Major Tutwiler who birthed the idea of turning the Ridgely apartment building into a new Tutwiler Hotel.
Major Tutwiler also built the Ridgely Luxury Apartment which opened the same year as the original Tutwiler Hotel.
Upon complete of renovations to make the apartments into a luxury hotel, the historic architecture, including the exterior, polished marble floors and vaulted ceilings, are original to the 8 story Ridgely.
The hotel is gorgeously beautiful inside and out as these pictures will attest.
The courtyard just off the front porch is beautifully landscaped to showcase the majestic historic structure. You know you are in the south with shade trees and flowering Crepe myrtle flanking a brick pathway.
Notice the amazing ornate ceiling and beautiful chandelier. A grand piano greets you in the lobby with it’s polished marble floors.
A sitting area just off the main lobby. The architecture showcases lots of detail in the walls and ceilings. The furniture is plush and cozy. Even the wall decorations ooze luxury as with this gold framed mirror behind the sofa.
Hotel and Motel amenities are always important. Things we always look for in a hotel are; a fitness center and free wi-fi. Free breakfast is a bonus. We expect the bed and room to be comfortable.
You will currently find; a nice fitness center, a huge free breakfast bar and coffee bar, as well as pet-friendly and non-smoking rooms.
There are two each of the cardio equipment; bicycles, treadmills and elliptical machines available. There are also free weights available. Your room key will get you into the door of the Fitness Center. Towels are provided and there is a water dispenser with disposable paper cups.
I especially enjoyed the view of the cityscape from the elliptical while I was working out. Cardio machines can be quite boring. This nice view made it pleasant.
Hot Breakfast Buffet
The dining room is right across from the Fitness center. The coffee bar is located just outside of the breakfast buffet and large dining room. I was impressed by the choices of coffee creamer flavors and sugar substitute options.
The hot breakfast buffet is very large and impressive. There is a wide variety of hot and cold breakfast options on several different bars. The Waffle Bar is a hot spot with lots of topping options for your waffle. The dining area is large and very nice. Attendants keep the buffet filled throughout breakfast and the tables clean.
The one thing that impressed me the most about the room was the extra outlets easily accessible on the bedside table. How many times have you been in a hotel and had to strain to get to an outlet underneath or behind furniture just to charge your phone or device?
Luxury is little things. Of course there are beds in hotel rooms but are they comfortable and are the pillows pleasant to sleep on? Yes and yes. We slept well at the Tutwiler.
I also like this cozy chair facing the TV in the room. I wish it also had a footstool but it didn’t. My hubby slid the chair over to the bed and propped his feet on the bed while relaxing in the evening after dinner.
The restaurant is currently called The Six Sixteen and is family owned and operated. We ate our dinner there that evening for the full experience of what the Tutwiler has to offer.
The décor in the restaurant is quite beautiful and has a cozy retro vibe with a 60’s flair. I love the lights and the velvet chairs.
The menu had very few items to select from. We were determined to eat there so we chose from the few options anyway.
We were not impressed with the food though. It lacked much flavor and came is small portions for the price. We both ordered an Italian pasta dish. There was no bread served with the meal which was surprising since bread is common with pasta in most restaurants. It was literally only a bowl of pasta with precious little meat and even less flavor.
The waitress was very friendly and gave excellent service but I can’t really recommend the restaurant. They do have a bar but since we don’t drink alcohol we didn’t patronage that area. The décor in the bar area is also lovely.
For me there are only two negatives. I have already discussed the restaurant which I can’t recommend.
Parking. Valet parking isn’t cheap and you basically have no choice. You are on your own to find a place on the street in the downtown area which is not likely to happen.
The Hampton Inn & Suites Birmingham-Downtown-Tutwiler boutique hotel has a respectable 4 1/2 stars to 5 stars on most of the travel sites like Trip Advisor. I would recommend a stay at Tutwiler if you are in the Birmingham area and enjoy a nice boutique hotel experience.
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