Following an extensive $20 million renovation, the 120-room Redmont Hotel reopened last month in downtown Birmingham. It’s a gem of a place and is Alabama’s oldest operating hotel.
The 14-story boutique hotel includes 12 suites, along with two ballrooms and two board rooms. It has retained many of its charming historical features, art deco design and original 10-foot chandelier in the lobby. The Redmont, a member of Curio Collection by Hilton, includes a fine dining restaurant with an Italian flair and a café serving breakfast and lunch.
The Redmont opened in 1925 with a private bath for every room along with chilled water and ceiling fans, unusual luxuries for the time. The hotel was named for nearby Red Mountain. In the 1940s, the entire top floor was converted into a lavish penthouse for the owner and his family. In the 1980s, an investment group that included NBA players Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Ralph Sampson owned the hotel for a while.
But one of the most interesting twists in the hotel’s history is tied to the life of legendary, hard-partying, country artist and Alabama son, Hank Williams. Twenty-nine-year-old Hank Williams and his teenage driver spent the night on the second floor of the Redmont Hotel in late December 1952. They left the next morning in route to gigs in West Virginia and Ohio. Sometime after midnight on New Year’s Day, 1953, the singer fulfilled the prophecy of his own song, “I’ll Never Get Out of this World Alive.” His driver found him unresponsive in the backseat of his baby-blue convertible Cadillac. The Redmont had been the final hotel stay on his short journey on earth.
Find out more about the musician and the Hank Williams Trail through Alabama.