It’s lucky that Birmingham is on the way to Florida as it makes a perfect stopping place to create a car trip that is a leisurely pleasure instead of one that leaves you exhausted when you arrive. It’s even luckier that the darling little upscale, boutique hotel, the Hotel Highland, is located in Birmingham and that we were able to spend the night there recently.
Because it’s quite, quite lovely.
Located in the middle of the trendy Five Points South neighborhood near the University of Alabama – Birmingham and plenty of local tourist attractions, the Hotel Highland is really situated in a great location. With several excellent local restaurants and shops located an easy walk from the hotel, you really don’t even need your car after the valet parks it for you.
We pulled up in front of the hotel and headed into the quiet lobby which gives a fabulous first impression of the hotel. Rich, vibrant jewel tone colors enhance the modern vibe of the area with comfortable, plush furniture.
Built in the 1920’s by local architect Charles H. McCauley as an eight-story office tower for doctors in Birmingham, the lower floor was occupied by shops and a drug store. The Art Deco design of brick stone and terra-cotta with aluminum spandrels beneath the windows was inspired by other Medical Tower buildings in Atlanta, Chattanooga, Nashville, and St. Louis and the modernistic elevator doors of black and silver were emblazoned with a design motif which symbolized the Five Points area.
In the early 1980’s Dr. Donald Kahn, a retired cardiac surgeon from Birmingham began an ambitious development project to renovate the old Medical Arts Building into a modern and stylish hotel. Called the Pickwick Hotel after a dance club next door which had burned down, it had an Art Deco design which had adorned the original building with the medical symbols still preserved on the elevator doors in the lobby. In early 2007, the Pickwick Hotel was transformed into the Hotel Highland with 63 rooms, 28 of which are large and comfortable suites.
The original architect and owners would be proud to see what the building of medical offices has been transformed into. We strolled from the lobby into the adjoining H Bar, a small martini bar which continues the appealing atmosphere of the lobby with vibrant colors, contemporary lighting, plenty of seating, and large windows to enjoy the view of the street and passers-by. Perfect for small social events or wedding parties, it’s also the perfect place for a drink in the evening.
Finally, we checked in and headed up to our room. We did not realize quite how nice it would be until we opened the door. We had a great Luxury King Suite where we could have cheerfully stayed for several days. Complete with a living room and bedroom, the suite has a king sized bed, sleeper sofa, two flat screen televisions, and is beautifully furnished. One of the nicest amenities is a kitchenette with a wet bar, refrigerator, and microwave. How nice for families!
This suite was really more like a little apartment and would be the perfect place for a girlfriends getaway or family outing. But the two of us proceeded to spread out and take over the place, enjoying every square inch.
The bedroom was especially nice and roomy with a comfortable desk area.
We actually didn’t realize our stay came complete with a nice continental breakfast until we were shown around the hotel. Again, this would be so great for families. It’s really a great savings to have your breakfast included in your rate.
The only thing we didn’t like about our stay was that it was too short! Only one night was not nearly enough time to enjoy our fabulous suite and to explore the Five Points area. We had a great view from our suite but we will need to return for a longer visit.
And definitely stay again at the Hotel Highland!
Full disclosure: Our stay was provided by Hotel Highland but as always, we will share our honest opinions about any travel experiences we have