Hotels to Book for a Trip to Alabama

From downtown hotels to beachfront resorts and secluded farm country inns, here’s where to stay when visiting the Yellowhammer State.

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Pursell Farms
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Pursell Farms

Alabama has a rich culture, deep history, and some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet, but it’s never been known for its destination-worthy hotels. Until now, that is. Over the past decade, many new and restored properties have popped up throughout the state, giving travelers more options than the typical business and chain hotels.

Each of these nine properties provides a one-of-a-kind sense of place, from architecturally stunning hotels in downtown Birmingham and small-town boutique properties that will have you feeling like a local to gulf-side golf resorts with prime access to white-sand beaches. A visit to Alabama will reveal a state that offers not only true Southern hospitality but also mouthwatering Southern cuisine and surprisingly diverse topography.

Best Alabama Hotels of 2022

Editor’s Pick: Elyton Hotel

Elyton Hotel

Elyton Hotel

Why We Chose It

Located in downtown Birmingham and within walking distance of the city’s hottest restaurants, the Elyton Hotel brings new life to a stunning historic building.

Key Specs

  • Free Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Resort fee: No
  • Room rate: $$

Notable Amenities

Malin+Goetz bath products; pet amenities like beds, treats, and bowls

Hotel Description

The Elyton Hotel is named for a town that was incorporated into Birmingham when the city was founded in 1871. It’s housed in the impressive 16-story Empire Building, a structure with molded terra-cotta and pink granite columns on the facade and interior finishes of Italian marble and mahogany. For ultimate opulence, book the 1,318-square-foot Ely Suite, which feels like a primo apartment overlooking the city.

This elegant, 117-room property is an ideal stay for food lovers, as they can stroll to nearly 50 restaurants within a few blocks’ radius, including acclaimed spots Helen and the Essential. On-site, the Yard is a globally inspired restaurant serving breakfast, dinner, and weekend brunch, while rooftop bar Moon Shine features craft cocktails, small plates, and wood-fired pizza.

106 Jefferson

106 Jefferson

106 Jefferson

Why We Chose It

This stylish property is the only lifestyle hotel in downtown Huntsville and is within walking distance of shopping, dining, museums, coffee shops, and parks.

Key Specs

  • Free Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Resort fee: No
  • Room rate: $$

Notable Amenities

Gilchrist & Soames bath products, 24-hour fitness center

Hotel Description

Located on the historic site of the former Huntsville Hotel, an iconic spot during the Victorian era, 106 Jefferson is a new hotel with a neighborhood feel that opened in summer 2021. Part of Hilton’s Curio Collection, it pays homage to Huntsville’s history and NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center through art and design. Each of the 115 guest rooms (including 12 suites) have spacious bathrooms, mid-century details, and luxurious Irish linens.

All guests have access to a sundeck and a 24-hour fitness center with ample windows. The on-site Revivalist restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and features Southern-inspired classics with a European twist. On the rooftop, Baker & Able — named for the first primates to successfully complete a trip to outer space, in 1959 — serves cocktails and light bites.

Grand Bohemian Hotel Mountain Brook

Grand Bohemian Hotel Mountain Brook

Grand Bohemian Hotel Mountain Brook

Why We Chose It

This design-forward hotel in the ritzy Birmingham suburb of Mountain Brook is 10 minutes from the city but feels like an escape, as it’s just across the road from the Birmingham Botanical Gardens.

Key Specs

  • Free Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Resort fee: No
  • Room rate: $$$

Notable Amenities

Pool, valet service, billiards room, wellness center, spa, art gallery, cooking and wine-blending classes

Hotel Description

Opened in fall 2015, this 100-room hotel has luxurious accommodations, rooftop dining at Habitat Feed & Social (including the Bohemian Experience tasting menu), a spa, and the largest art gallery of any hotel in the Kessler Collection.

While sinking into relaxation here is entirely acceptable, you can also learn something new, whether by partaking in wine-blending classes with expert sommeliers or trying a cooking class. Reconnect with nature by spending an afternoon at Birmingham Botanical Gardens or the Birmingham Zoo, both within a few minutes’ walk, or explore the shops and restaurants in the surrounding Mountain Brook Village.

Valley Hotel

Valley Hotel

Valley Hotel

Why We Chose It

Opened in 2021, this sleek lifestyle hotel in charming downtown Homewood is within walking distance of dozens of shops and restaurants.

Key Specs

  • Free Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Resort fee: No
  • Room rate: $$

Notable Amenities

Ballroom, fitness center, on-site guest parking

Hotel Description

Less than 10 minutes from downtown Birmingham, the 129-room Valley Hotel blends Southern charm with contemporary decor. A striking mural by Birmingham artist Trés Taylor is a focal point in the elegant lobby, where you’ll also find the Valley Coffee Co., a tiny cafe that features fresh-baked pastries and opens to a charming private terrace with a European feel.

The chef-driven restaurant, Ironwood Kitchen & Cocktails, serves hearty Southern classics and a stellar weekend brunch. The Terrace Bar, on the second floor, has one of the best patios in the metro area, with an outdoor firepit and lounge seating creating cozy surrounds for imbibing cocktails and local brews. Guests rave about the hotel’s welcoming staff, well-designed common areas, spacious rooms, and walkable location to everything in Homewood.

The Laurel Hotel & Spa

The Laurel Hotel & Spa

The Laurel Hotel & Spa

Why We Chose It

The Laurel is a luxury teaching hotel, providing students with immersive training in partnership with Auburn University’s Hospitality Management program.

Key Specs

  • Free Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Resort fee: No
  • Room rate: $$$

Notable Amenities

Champagne upon arrival, Bulgari bath amenities, spa with salt room, aperitif hour and after-dinner chocolates, rooftop lounge, cabanas

Hotel Description

The Laurel, which has 16 luxurious rooms and 10 suites, is part of the Tony & Libba Rane Culinary Science Center at Auburn University. Located on campus, it opened at the end of August, just in time for the 2022 football season.

As the state’s first ultra-luxury hotel, it features contemporary guest rooms with details like Nespresso machines and remote-controlled blackout curtains. Guests can enjoy an on-site spa, fitness studio, yoga pavilion, and, on the roof, a pool, gardens, and bar. The upscale teaching restaurant 1856, Hey Day Market food hall, a coffee roastery and café, and a microbrewery will also be available to guests.

GunRunner

GunRunner

GunRunner

Why We Chose It

Located inside a historic building, this boutique property in Florence, Alabama, celebrates the history of the Shoals area with tasteful rooms that open to a communal living room and bar.

Key Specs

  • Free Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Resort fee: No
  • Room rate: $$

 Notable Amenities

Upscale bar in common area, luxury spa

Hotel Description

Each of the 10 loft-style suites at the GunRunner represents something iconic about the Shoals, like music (the Muscle Shoals Sound suite), fashion (the Billy Reid suite), and architecture (the Frank Lloyd Wright suite). Seven of the 10 have private balconies overlooking downtown Florence. The luxurious accommodations all include walk-in showers, wet bars, and refrigerators.

In the center of the hotel is GunRunner Bar, which is open to both guests and the general public. It features leather couches, a fireplace, and a three-sided bar for socializing. Downstairs, GunRunner’s spa offers a wide menu of services, and locally owned Turbo Coffee serves up freshly brewed java and breakfast items.

Grand Hotel Golf Resort & Spa

Grand Hotel Golf Resort & Spa

Grand Hotel Golf Resort & Spa

Why We Chose It

A short trip from Pensacola, Florida, or Mobile, the Grand Hotel is a golfer’s dream, with two championship courses that are part of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail.

Key Specs

  • Free Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Resort fee: 15%
  • Room rate: $$$


Notable Amenities

Two golf courses, golf clinics at on-site practice facility, 10 tennis courts, activities lawn, 24-hour fitness center, bike rentals, spa, marina, private beaches, numerous restaurants and bars, two pools

Hotel Description

Repeatedly named a top hotel in Alabama, this 405-room resort on the Gulf Coast was built in 1847, and its main building dates to 1940. It became part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection following a major transformation in 2018 that added new event and meeting facilities and completely made over the spa and guest rooms.

Each of the well-appointed rooms is spacious and comfortable, but outdoors is where the real magic awaits. Families will enjoy exploring the resort’s 550 acres, visiting nearby shops and restaurants in downtown Fairhope, and taking part in traditions like the cannon firing at Cannon Park on Mobile Bay every day at 3:45 p.m.

The Lodge at Gulf State Park

The Lodge at Gulf State Park

The Lodge at Gulf State Park

Why We Chose It

The LEED Gold-certified Lodge is situated within an Alabama state park, providing guests with myriad opportunities to engage with nature.

Key Specs

  • Free Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Resort fee: No
  • Room rate: $$

Notable Amenities

Family games, complimentary bicycles, Gulf-front infinity pool, fitness center

Hotel Description

Opened in fall 2018, this sustainability-minded Hilton hotel in Gulf Shores, Alabama, is located inside Gulf State Park, providing guests with easy access to white-sand beaches and the emerald green waters of the Gulf of Mexico. It’s also one of few upscale hotels on Alabama’s beaches.

The hotel has 350 guest rooms, including 20 suites, along with a pool bar and grill, two Gulf-front restaurants, and a coffee and wine bar. Guests can step outside to enjoy the park’s more than 28 miles of hiking and biking trails, a 900-acre freshwater fishing lake, an outdoor classroom and amphitheater, an interpretive center, a fishing pier, and butterfly gardens. They can also partake in activities like kayaking, paddleboarding, geocaching, birding, and more.

Pursell Farms

Pursell Farms

Pursell Farms

Why We Chose It

Located near Sylacauga in central Alabama, this outdoors paradise appeals for its seclusion, pastoral landscapes, and many outdoor adventures.

Key Specs

  • Free Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Resort fee: $40–$45
  • Room rate: $$$

Notable Amenities

Award-winning 18-hole golf course, sporting clays shooting range, outdoor pool, spa, stargazing tours, children’s petting zoo

Hotel Description

First developed as a golf course with cabins and cottages along the fairways, Pursell Farms became a travel destination for more than just golfers in 2018 with the addition of the Inn at Pursell Farms. This three-story, country estate-style inn has 40 beautifully appointed guest rooms with details like antique furniture, custom fabrics, and four-poster beds, as well as stunning views of the 18th fairway, rolling meadows, and woodlands. Guests may awake to the sound of cows mooing in the pastures before enjoying coffee on their balcony.

The Inn has three restaurants: the upscale Arrington, which has outdoor seating and a firepit; Old Tom’s Pub, which is open for lunch and dinner; and the Grille, for quick bites. Outdoor activities include a UTV experience, sunset wine and snacks atop a mountain, axe throwing, archery, horseback riding, pickleball, tennis, bocce ball, electric bikes, and more.

Final Verdict

When searching for hotels in Alabama, bump the Elyton to the top of your list. This architecturally stunning property perfectly marries history with modernity, and its downtown Birmingham location, swanky rooftop bar, and upscale guest rooms can’t be beat. If you’d prefer to experience small-town Alabama, head to the GunRunner in Florence or Pursell Farms outside Sylacauga. For travelers with families who want to hit the beach, the Lodge at Gulf State Park or Grand Lodge Golf Resort both offer outstanding outdoor activities along the water.

Know Before You Go

  • Alabama is known for its high heat and humidity during summer. Plan a trip for late spring or fall for the best weather.
  • For a great under-the-radar island experience, check out Alabama’s Dauphin Island.
  • Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport has the most flight options, and Huntsville International Airport is growing. If you’re planning to visit multiple places in Alabama, the state is a great place for a road trip.

How We Chose These Alabama Hotels

We evaluated several dozen hotels in Alabama before selecting the state’s best, considering elements like the property's reputation and quality of service, its design and architecture, location, and notable amenities such as pools and outdoor activities. We reviewed each property's dining options, spa facilities, and the types of experiences available to guests and also took into account customer reviews and whether the property has collected any accolades in recent years.

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