Since we had to be in Florence overnight, Av and I decided to visit the new Marriott Shoals Hotel and Spa there.
The hotel has only been open since June; they get a lot of business from being one of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail hotels. When we were checking in, lots of other people were there with their golf bags.
This hotel is developed by the RSA (Retirement Systems of Alabama), who also oversees several other nice hotels in Alabama. A little more about the RSA’s involvement can be found here.
The Renaissance Tower there was built several years ago as the ‘tallest tourist attraction in Alabama’ (it’s 300′ tall), which gave a really good view of the city and the Tennessee River. There also used to be an aquarium feature inside the tower. I’m not sure if that’s going to be reopened.
Av asked during check-in if the restaurant, 360 Grill, was open yet, but it won’t be open until September 20th; the neat thing is that it is a revolving restaurant, like the one at Niagara Falls (and Atlanta, and other big cities). The person at the reception desk told Av that it will make a quicker revolution during lunch and a much slower revolution at night for supper. Neat!
The only thing I wasn’t wild about was that the doorman called us, and the other guests “guys”, like “how are you guys?”. Everything else about the service, from the check-in to the maid service, and room service, was great though.
A great sign was that when we got on the elevator, this gentleman, who was also a guest, asked if we had ever stayed there before. We told him that we hadn’t, and he said that we were in for a real treat – that he had already stayed at the hotel a few times this Summer and that it really was nice.
The room was nice. The beds were a little more firm than Av and I like, but we really enjoyed our stay. The furniture that the television sat on featured fishing scenes, which was appropriate for the location. Inside it was a mini-refrigerator. There was also a desk with chair (although internet access was $10 extra/day), and another chair to lounge in beside the balcony door.
The bathroom had separate shower and tub. The bath amenities were the usual small Neutrogena soaps, shampoos, etc.
I think that room service must have come either from their restaurant/bar called “Swampers” (remember the part in Sweet Home Alabama where they say, “and Muscle Shoals has got the Swampers”? The hotel named this place after the Swampers, who were a group of studio musicians that recorded backup for people that came to town like Elvis, Aretha Franklin, the Rolling Stones, Willie Nelson, *tons* of people – Muscle Shoals was a huge music-recording town) or from the other restaurant on-site, the Bronzeback Cafe (‘bronzeback’ is another name for a smallmouth bass).
BTW, we didn’t get to try the spa yet, it isn’t going to open until September 20th.
We’ll definitely come back to this hotel the next time we are in town. It really was nice.