By Hope S. Philbrick
The lucky numbers are 616.
Book a stay in the room of that number at Carnegie Hotel in Johnson City, Tennessee and you’re guaranteed feel like a winner.
Finding the room is a bit of a trick, since when you step off the elevator on the sixth floor an arrow on one sign points towards rooms “601-614,” another aims the opposite direction towards 617 and higher numbers. Spin around and there’s a sign for the “Roosevelt Suite.” But no door sports the number 616.
Faced with this head scratcher, I stuck the electronic key card into the suite to see what happened. I expected a red light to flash, perhaps even sirens to blare, but the light flashed green so I pushed the door open…timidly, fearing I’d bump into the authorized guest. An envelope addressed to me sitting on a table near the doorway erased concerns. I stepped in, took one look around and couldn’t believe my good fortune.
This is one big, luxurious suite. A whole wall of windows with layers of draperies overlooks East Tennessee State University, across the street.
The palatial living room boasts a fireplace, wet bar, and a flatscreen TV tucked into a cabinet that also houses a mini refrigerator. There’s a round dining table, long leather sofa—the back of which is so gracefully sloped it must be a style favored by discriminating Hollywood starlets—two upholstered chairs with ottomans and a desk. There’s enough space to jump around with joy.
The bedroom houses a plush king-sized bed and a second TV in an armoire. The sleeping quarters can be closed off from the living room, which is perfect if your travel companion prefers a different sleep schedule.
I was so tickled that I rushed back down to the lobby and practically grabbed the guy who’d checked me in for a hug over the counter. And he’d thought I was happy when I’d snagged a parking space near the front door!
To feel even more like a lottery winner, book a treatment at the Austin Springs Spa & Salon. A hot stone massage is an excellent choice, though any treatment will do. Change into a robe and slippers in the private changing room, stash your clothes and valuables into a locker, sit in the sauna if you’ve got some time or head straight to the relaxation lounge and let the ahhhs begin. At the appointment time your therapist will escort you to a private treatment room. Inside that sanctuary the massage table awaits; it’s pre-heated, draped in satin, and so cushiony that you may fall asleep before the treatment begins. Skilled hands rub tension away; hot stones nudge muscles into even deeper relaxation. Amenities like a private shower in the treatment room, a choice of water (plain, lemon or cucumber) and a fresh rose elevate the pampering.
For a celebratory dinner, no need to leave the premises. Wellington’s is popular with hotel guests as well as locals. The antique bar, salvaged from Chicago, serves Johnson City’s best whiskey selection plus a full range of adult beverages. Sit there sipping Champagne or whatever your drink of choice and you might rub elbows with an ETSU professor, alumni or football coach. Then slide into a leathered chair or booth in the restaurant and let the server deliver your choice of dishes like the signature “deconstructed Wellington,” which features an eight-ounce filet mignon stuffed with mushroom duexelle plus a foie gras puff pastry, smashed potatoes, vegetables and cabernet demi. Or perhaps you’ll be more tempted by grilled citrus chicken or wild mushroom beef stroganoff. Just save room for dessert.
Ride the elevator back to your suite and savor its luxuries until it’s time to slip between crisp sheets for deep sleep.
No need to wish for sweet dreams.
You’re living the dream.
- Free Wi-Fi
- Free fitness center
- Airport shuttle (by appointment only); $35/person one-way
- Heated outdoor pool (open Memorial Day through Labor Day)
- Dog friendly; $25 per dog per day (friendly, well-mannered dogs under 50 lbs. only)
- Free USA Today available at front desk
Carnegie Hotel has earned the AAA Four Diamond rating.
1216 W. State of Franklin Road
Johnson City TN 37604
866-757-8277 or 423-979-6400
— Photos © HSP Media LLC
Featured products, services and/or travel arrangements may have been complimentary in part or in full; this affords the research opportunity but does not sway opinion.