Eloise had The Plaza. You have BentoLiving.
No one disputes that travel became super strange in 2020. International vacations were scuttled. Red-eye flights became sparsely populated. And let’s not even get started talking about the state of room service.
And yet, in the age of Zoom calls and virtual everything, the need to travel is indeed still here. In-person work collaborations are still a thing. People are getting on with life, in whatever form that may take. Enter the BentoLiving concept in the heart of Nashville’s Chestnut Hill neighborhood.
Father and son duo, Peter and Justin Koziol opened the hotel in January of this year, at a time when no one could have predicted what the rest of the year would hold. But their concept proved to be prescient in its approach. They envisioned a destination for travelers and locals alike, a place where Music City visitors could immerse themselves in neighborhood life and locals could have a common space for engaging in a truly unique way.
Billed as ‘The Hotel You Want to Live In’, BentoLiving deftly combines the benefits of extended stay options with the creature comforts of a traditional hotel. Check-in is still a personal process in a lobby that is replete with comfortable seating and lots of local art. The décor leans West Coast and minimalist without being cold or sparse. In fact, every detail seems incredibly well-considered; from the community workspaces on each floor to the background ambient sound of local birds tweeting lightly.
BentoLiving courts those guests seeking long-term digs—those on work projects in town or perhaps new residents to the city who want time to find their space before putting down roots. And yet, it is hotel-like enough for the traveler needing only one or two nights. Each room has its own washer and dryer, kitchen and small eat-in area that doubles as a workspace. Some rooms feature a balcony overlooking the neighborhood. There is a suite of five single rooms which share a common kitchen and laundry area that can be rented individually or as a group (think bachelorette weekend or small family reunion.)
Selecting the Chestnut Hill neighborhood for the BentoLiving concept was not a hard one for the Koziols. Slightly more than up-and-coming, this area is incredibly well-located to downtown and major thoroughfares. It has become a hotspot for artists and creative types who still want a home and a fenced yard. Justin says it was important to them to find ways to engage with their neighbors in intentional and thoughtful ways. The main level of the property features several retail spaces that are accessible from both the street and the lobby. Tenants were curated and include Suraj Spices and Teas, Forts, and Pink Door Cookies, as well as the hotel’s own Bodega market which fills a true retail void in this neighborhood.
BentoLiving blurs the line between hotel stay and neighborhood immersion in other ways as well. They offer yoga classes on the roof which are ticketed and open to both residents and hotel guests alike. Thursday nights, you’ll find a DJ spinning tunes on the rooftop or maybe the screening of a fun movie. The Koziols are planning a full-service restaurant concept for the hotel that should open in the third quarter of next year but current guests might not even notice its absence. A continental breakfast is offered in the lobby each morning and the Bodega has plenty of other options. As the sun sets, you’ll find both guests and neighborhood residents gathering at B1281, adjacent to the hotel, where healthy Hawaiian cuisine is balanced with fun Polynesian cocktails, making you feel like you’re somewhere on the big island.
2020 might be the strangest year yet but if you choose to view it as an adventure—not unlike every day for Eloise in the Big Apple—you’re guaranteed to find respite and renewal. You just have to know where to look.