When you think of edgy and cool hotels Florence Alabama doesn’t automatically spring to mind. On my visit to the Muscle Shoals Recording Studio, some of my fellow tour attendees were wondering why it was so hard to find places to stay in Florence Alabama. Apparently, there was a giant fishing competition on at the same time. Usually Florence Alabama is a popular place in the autumn thanks to its university and proximity to the Natchez Trace perfect for a scenic Alabama fall foliage drive.
Our tour guide at Muscle Shoals recommended the GunRunner Boutique Hotel as the best of the Florence Alabama hotels. I was intrigued because after my day trip through North Alabama I was meeting a friend and fellow travel blogger at the GunRunner Boutique Hotel. I was expecting a nice Florence Alabama hotel. I was definitely not expecting what I found at this stylish hotel in Florence AL.
Finding the GunRunner Hotel Florence Al
The GunRunner Boutique Hotel is so hip it doesn’t even advertise its presence. It took me a couple of times of driving around the block to locate this hotel in Florence AL. Seriously. The Sat-Nav said I had reached my destination but all I saw was a coffee shop.
When you pull into the parking lot next door to the coffee shop, you see a discrete sign for this Florence Alabama hotel. Enter through the side entrance, and you are in a black damask wallpapered lobby with coloured tiled glass and a motorcycle. And an open door to the coffee shop with lots of young hipster types sipping coffee and tapping away on their laptops.
Where exactly is this boutique hotel in Florence AL I had heard so much about? I ventured up the stairs to find myself in an expansive hotel lobby. Hurrah! I felt like I had actually accomplished something. Even if it was just locating the newest and coolest of the Florence Alabama hotels.
The Vibe of the GunRunner Hotel in Florence AL
The GunRunner Hotel Bar takes up the middle of the hotel lobby. The building used to be a car showroom and the pulley whereby cars were brought up to the showroom is still in place over the bar.
The GunRunner Hotel Florence AL is serious industrial chic. For example:
- Dimly light with the occasional crystal chandeliers? check
- Low slung chairs and leather Chesterfield sofas? check
- Exposed brickwork and dark weathered wooden floors? check
- Neon artwork and artfully exposed pipes? check
- Double height ceilings and extra tall doors? check
This hotel in Florence AL would not be out of place in Brooklyn NY. Not surprising since a recent Washington Post article described the city as “if Brooklyn were plunked in a Southern State.” You definitely don’t expect hotels in Florence Alabama to have the edgy glamour usually associated with big international city hotels.
Remember that coffee shop on the ground floor of this Hotel in Florence AL? That’s where you will be having breakfast.
The roof terrace has lounge chairs and views of Florence Alabama. A perfect place to wind down the day I would think!
A Florence Alabama Hotel With Individually Styled Rooms
The GunRunner Hotel has 10 spacious suites surrounding the lobby area which are decorated in an individual style. Each room is furnished after a specific notable person or place in the area. For example, there is a Frank Lloyd Wright Room and a Muscle Shoals Recording Studio Room. Several of the rooms have small terraces where you can sit and watch Florence Alabama go about its business.
The bartender let us see a couple of the rooms that were unoccupied at the time. Definitely swish. Some of the rooms accommodate a roll away bed if you are bringing a child with you.
The Muscle Shoals Sound Room was rocking a 70’s vibe and had gold records sprinkled throughout.
The Billy Reid Room had swatches of fabric and a moodboard on one wall. I loved the Eames-style lounge chair in the living area for watching television – something you don’t ordinarily find in a hotel.
The Sam Philips Room is named after the man who discovered Elvis and Johnny Cash (and was born in Florence Alabama). The room is definitely styling rock-n-roll with a guitar and a 70’s style drinks set.
Single Lock Records are a record label from Florence Alabama and the Single Lock Room featured some of its artists.
I wish I had seen the Frank Lloyd Wright room because I love how his espousal of “organic architecture” influenced the mid-century modern look.
Boutique Hotels in Florence AL
The GunRunner is the second of the boutique hotels in Florence AL. The other boutique hotel Florence AL can lay claim to is The Stricklen Hotel. The Stricklen Hotel is larger with 24 rooms and likewise has exposed brickwork and industrial lighting. I would categorise The Stricklen Hotel look though as more ‘accessible industrial’ – playing it safe with its taupes and grey color scheme.
The GunRunner Boutique Hotel on the other hand has embraced the industrial look mixed with modern farmhouse and the moody textured glamorous style of designer Abigail Ahern. It’s a bold risk-taking look and it totally works.
The other places to stay in Florence Alabama tend to be the more usual hotel chains and bed and breakfasts that you would expect to find. In the days when the Rolling Stones were recording at Muscle Shoals, they would have stayed at what is now the Hampton Inn in Florence – perfectly fine but a bit dull.
You can find the GunRunner Hotel at 310 E. Tennessee Street, Florence AL 35630.
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