Construction begins in June on the Chancellor’s House Hotel, at the corner where University Avenue and South Lamar Boulevard cross, on the site of the former Checker’s restaurant downtown.
With luck, the hotel will open by next June, or perhaps later in the summer as listed on the sign.
Developer Tom Stone describes the hotel as elegant, but that simple one-word description doesn’t do the interior justice.
On the first floor, public lounge entryways will be flanked with marble columns, and each bar has barrel ceilings and its own fireplace. The Legacy Bar has wood flooring, a change from the marble hallways that lends it a more cozy, homelike feeling. French doors will surround one side of the room on a curve.
The Library Lounge is a smaller room with floor-to-ceiling windows that look out onto the garden. It also has decorative, recessed ceilings and chandeliers.
The ballroom has 144 seats, and by opening up the pocket wall that separates it from the tearoom, the hotel can seat an extra 16 guests for large events.
“Weddings are going to be a huge part of our business,” Stone said, adding that the hotel will be able to create any reception that a guest envisions.
The full kitchen will be located on the first floor, and will offer full room service and sit-down hot breakfast, along with full, formal teas in the afternoons.
The hotel will have 24/7 valet service for guests, and valet service from and to both the Oxford and Memphis airports. The hotel will also drop off and pick off guests for University of Mississippi football games.
“There’s no need for the inconvenience of a rental car,” Stone said.
Every room is a single- or double-bay suite, with 60-inch flat screen TVs and some with walk-behind bars in rooms large enough for entertaining. The typical bathroom is all marble and granite, with a TV over the separate bathtub and a separate shower.
Guest rooms all have decorative, recessed ceilings.
The rooftop terrace will be cozy, with two entertainment areas filled with couches and other relaxed seating.
“You can go up and have a cocktail and watch the sunset, and be able to have your own privacy up there,” he said.
All second-floor suites have balconies facing Lamar Boulevard. The city asked that the third floor be stepped back, to lessen the impact of a straight-front hotel. So all the third-floor rooms have large terraces.
Outside, the visual appearance of the hotel’s underground parking level will be minimized by the slope of University Avenue and covered in decorative landscape material.
In front of the hotel, the garden will remain in full color for much of the year. The planter boxes will sit on hidden wheels, so staff can wheel off flowers when they begin to fade and roll in flowers that are in season.
Other planter boxes will hold small trees, and Stone said he’d love to try Little Gem Magnolia trees.
“They don’t get more than 20 feet tall,” he said. “It would be fantastic to have magnolias out there, the smell of those.”
He said a combined sculpture and fountain element will be the focal point of the garden, in front of the hotel, but he’s still looking for it.
“We’ll be shopping all over the world for some of these pieces,” he said. “It’s been a real project of love.”
Gretchen Stone is HottyToddy.com associate editor. Gretchen can be contacted about this story at Gretchen.Stone@HottyToddy.com