Guest Author - Nick Greene
Named after Birmingham's Red Mountain, the Redmont Hotel opened in 1925 and is currently listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is the oldest operating hotel in Birmingham.
Constructed in the 1920s from plans developed by acclaimed Georgian architect G. Lloyd Preacher, the Redmont was one of the earliest hotels in the US to provide private baths in each guest room. Located on the corner of 5th Avenue North and 21st Street, the hotel originally housed 200 rooms, but today is a 114 room hotel, residence and conference center. At the time of its opening, the hotel was considered quite luxurious and each room had chilled water and ceiling fans. In 1937, the famous Rainbow Room lounge opened.
The hotel was sold to businessman Clifford Stiles in 1946. Stiles, who also owned a number of other hotels, converted the entire top floor into a home for his family. It included terraces and a private elevator along with a lawn for the family pets.
Some of the more famous guests included Hank Williams and George Wallace. Williams spent his last night in the Redmont before continuing on his way to Charleston, West Virginal. He died before reaching his destination. Wallace; as well as his mentor and predecessor as governor, Jim Folsom; used a Redmont suites as a campaign headquarters. This room later became known as "the Lucky Governor's Suite."
The Redmont was again sold in 1986, this time to a group of NBA players including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Ralph Sampson. It underwent a $7 million dollar renovation then and another in 2000 when many previously hidden architectural details were restored. In 2006, the hotel announced plans to convert the top two floors into nine one and two bedroom condominiums and a top floor penthouse.
Rumors claim that Clifford Stiles, who died in 1975, still haunts the hotel. He may not be alone. Other guests have reported seeing the figure of a lady rumored to have been murdered on the 9th floor. One claimed to have been chased by the ghost of the previous owner’s dog, while other people say their possessions have been moved around during the night. Some even believe the ghost of Hank Williams haunts the hotel.
Today, the still elegant Redmont Hotel provides airport and downtown shuttle service. It has a fitness center, rooftop bar and business center with all rooms having wireless Internet access.
The Redmont Hotel
2101 Fifth Ave.
Birmingham, AL 35203