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Crown Point-based IIG designed historic hotel paying homage to music history

Crown Point-based IIG designed historic hotel paying homage to music history

Crown Point-based IIG designed historic hotel paying homage to music history

Crown Point-based IIG designed historic hotel paying homage to music history.

Crown Point-based Interior Image Group, or IIG, designed The Sessions Hotel in Bristol, Virginia, that just opened.

The Northwest Indiana hotel design firm, which recently relocated from Dyer to Crown Point, helped renovate a historic grain mill, a candy factory and a supermarket into a 70-room boutique hotel that commemorates the 1927 Bristol Sessions that some say marked the town as the birthplace of country music.

IIG renovated the historic buildings to create the newly opened 78,000-square-foot Marriott International’s Tribute Portfolio hotel.

“When it came to designing The Sessions Hotel, we wanted to make sure we included as many of the historical characteristics that tie back to Bristol and the origin of the space as possible,” said Patti Tritschler, CEO of Interior Image Group. “Guests can experience this throughout the hotel, specifically in the guest rooms where we really put emphasis on incorporating the building’s past life into this modern hotel.”

The design mixes present with past, including restored materials like oak wood flooring, bricks, wood beams, a grain silo and a working Victrola vintage record player in the lobby. LP labels serve as room numbers, and vintage microphones as lighting pendants. The property features a music venue, day spa, Southern craft restaurant and rooftop bar and lounge. 

Based in downtown Bristol, Virginia by attractions like the Bristol Motor Speedway and the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, the hotel serves Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina and Kentucky. Bristol itself consists of twin cities in Virginia and Tennessee.

“As an adaptive reuse project and boutique hotel, the property has taken time for us to complete,” said Kimberly Christner, partner in the project and president of Cornerstone Hospitality. “We’ve taken our time and as such we’ve perfected the overall guest experience with curated art, repurposed items from the buildings into functional pieces, designed creative and high-end amenities that serve to add to the overall experience and tells the story of the buildings and Bristol. The property is centered around music, authentic experiences and extraordinary comfort. Every selection is intentional.”

The hotel was years in the making.

"This project has been a labor of love and like most historic repurposed buildings, sometimes comes with frustrating delays," said Todd Morgan, a partner in the development and president of MB Contractors. "We've actually been working in some capacity on this project since 2014. As with all projects of this size and complexity, working through the Historic Preservation Trust at the state and federal level and ensuring that we comply with all rules on four different buildings takes time. We have redesigned it many times to get it perfect as a result.

"In the end, it’s absolutely stunning and a real showstopper for the Bristol community, southwest Virginia and eastern Tennessee. We’ve made sure to maintain authenticity through all of the spaces in the buildings."

The development group partnered on the $23 million project with famed country musician Jim Lauderdale who was once named the "Godfather of Americana Music" by Rolling Stone magazine. 

“We’re incredibly proud of what we’ve accomplished with this project and can’t wait for the Bristol community and visiting public to enjoy the property," Christner said. "It will definitely be a place that people will be talking about. We’re more than excited to be in Bristol, to be affiliated with Marriott and grateful for all of the support we have received from the City of Bristol, both on the Virginia and Tennessee side; the Virginia Tourism Corporation and the Bristol community. This really is a project for the Southwest Virginia and Eastern Tennessee communities, we just had the great honor of developing it. We now get to enjoy providing memorable experiences for everyone who visits and stays with us.”


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Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.

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