Architectural Profile: Appalachia’s Bristol Hotel

The recently revamped Bristol Hotel—in downtown Bristol, which skirts the border of Virginia and Tennessee—is a shining model of small town redevelopment. The 1925 building, originally housing offices, is now a landmark attraction. Several of the project’s elements reflect the unique character of the Appalachian region.

Bristol Hotel rooftop bar with view of mountains

The facade acknowledges the building’s Art Deco roots. Roman arch style entryways also evoke its historic character. And a preserved hand-crank elevator is a tip of the hat to this early technology.

Bristol Hotel view of facade with art deco sign

Other design elements include exposed brick walls. The lobby’s front desk is made of recycled glass. There’s also a hanging glass sculpture of vintage soda bottles.

Bristol Hotel interior of restaurant with exposed brick wall

Lumac, the rooftop bar, provides guests with stunning panoramic views of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains. And Vivian’s Table, the hotel restaurant, celebrates local food culture by utilizing farm-to-table sourcing of regional ingredients.

Bristol Hotel rooftop bar

The Bristol also evokes the town’s history of denim blue jean manufacturing. Around the turn of the last century, local bird dog breeder Landon Clayton King decided he needed tougher clothes to withstand the rigors of his rarefied vocation (also farming and hunting). Thus was born the L.C. King Manufacturing Company, providing long-lived workwear for more than a hundred years. The company partnered with Bristol on many of the hotel’s design elements.

LC King Manufacturing exterior view of building

The hotel honors the century+ of denim by offering a denim recycling initiative for guests, who may leave defunct jeans at the desk upon checkout. The Bristol recycles these contributions via the Valley Institute Elementary School’s annual recycled textiles fashion show and Blue Jeans Go Green.

Bristol Hotel wide shot of hotel overlooking street

The Bristol had an impressive first year, cracking the top ten of USA Today’s Best New Hotel 2018. See the Bristol Hotel for more information.

Posted July 1, 2019 by Joseph Starr

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