Though COVID-19 has stalled many travel plans, AFAR continues to cover the world; there’s always room for inspiration.
My sister, Lauren, and I have plenty in common. We’re both journalists, we both studied at NYU, and we’ve even worked at the same company in the past. But what has cemented our close relationship over the years is our love of both travel and Dolly Parton. In fact, over the past two decades, we’ve planned not just one but two entire vacations around visiting Tennessee to celebrate Dolly Parton.
First, back in the early 2000s, we went on a family road trip from Memphis to Knoxville, visiting musical landmarks from Elvis’s Graceland to the Grand Ole Opry, blasting a playlist of classic Dolly with some ’90s Shania Twain and Faith Hill mixed in along the way. Then, when we were all grown up and planning Lauren’s wedding in 2012, we decided a trip to Dollywood was the ultimate way to celebrate her bachelorette with all of our friends.
Now, we have our third reason to head back to Tennessee to celebrate the musical legend. Earlier in July, Nashville’s brand new Graduate Hotel located near Vanderbilt University opened a rooftop bar called White Limozeen—named after the 1989 Dolly Parton album and song. Designed by Graduate Hotels’ in-house studio, White Limozeen’s decor is inspired by the queen of country, as well as other Music City greats who moved to Nashville to chase their dreams, according to Ben Weprin, Graduate Hotels CEO and founder.
“White Limozeen is a celebration of the nonconformists that have always done it their own way,” said Weprin in a press release. “It’s unique, beyond special, and tells the narrative of a relentless, rags-to-riches journey.”
That high-low element can be seen throughout the indoor lounge and outdoor pool space. Inside, you’ll find an onyx wraparound bar and glitzy chandeliers. On the outdoor patio, hot pink fringed umbrellas provide shade for oversized floral daybeds situated around a wading pool. Anchoring the entire space is a massive pink Dolly Parton statue made from chicken wire. It’s a little bit kitsch, but also completely fabulous—just like Dolly herself.
The bar program at White Limozeen is led by Demi Natoli, formerly of Chicago’s Lost Lake and Nashville’s the Patterson House and continues the high-low theme. You can choose from pool cocktails like the pink Queen of the Rodeo (“a gussied-up Cosmo,” according to the drinks menu), the vodka-cucumber Frozen Iguana (“if spa day was a slushie”), as well as frozen Aperol spritzes and champagne Jell-O shots. Wine lovers can order from a list that focuses on French and American natural wines.
The food menu is dedicated to homestyle renditions of traditionally French dishes like mussels steamed in Nashville hot butter, trout fritters with almondine dip, and chicken liver pie with pumpernickel crust.
White Limozeen is currently open and operating with social-distancing measures in place, including limited seating. For more on Graduate Hotels’ COVID-19 Response Program launched in partnership with Procter & Gamble, visit graduatehotels.com/graduatecares.
Once it’s safe and responsible to travel, you’d better bet my sister and I will be meeting up with all of our friends at White Limozeen immediately.