Southall is a new luxury resort just outside of Nashville
Southall, a new luxury resort just outside of Nashville, Tennessee, is as all-American as a Norman Rockwell painting.
Opened in December, the property is a real working farm, with expansive apple orchards, formal vegetable gardens, acres of land for foraging for wild edibles, and 15,000 square feet of hydroponic and traditional conservation greenhouses to maintain crops throughout the year.
All of this terrain allows guests to stroll along 5 miles of hiking trails through old-growth forest, kayak and paddle board on 7-acre Lake Mishkin, and pull up chairs by the fire pits.
Unlike a Norman Rockwell painting, Southall offers luxury perks like a 15,000-square-foot spa with eight individual treatment rooms and two couples’ suites, plus an all-weather heated pool overlooking the lake.
All-day dining at Sojourner features Southern dishes on a menu that changes daily based on fresh produce, and this spring will bring the launch of a signature restaurant called January.
A certified canning kitchen — nicknamed the Jammery (how Rockwellian is that?) — serves as a demonstration space for culinary education, pickling and canning workshops, and tastings of the resort’s local honey .
“Our honey tastings have been extremely popular,” said executive chef Andrew Klamar. Southall’s honey has been recognized as one of the best in the country, winning Good Food Awards in 2020 and 2022, even before the resort opened to customers. “One of the jokes we tell at honey tastings is that we hope when our guests get home they’ll pull their honey bear out of their cupboards and throw it away. Ours is so good.
While Nashville has seen a hurricane of hotel development in recent years, it was eerily lacking in true resort property.
Southall, however, opened just 30 minutes from the heart of Music City in the satellite suburb of Franklin, a longtime haven for country music stars. The location made sense. Franklin has become the place to be in the American South, with an estimated population of just under 90,000 – seven times more than just 12,407 in 1980.
“No one has ever built such equipment here before,” said founder Paul Mishkin, who worked in the Chicago securities and options industry for 40 years before coming to Tennessee in 2013 with the idea of develop a real estate investment focused on agriculture. He fell in love, like many, with the region’s temperate climate, rolling hills and unassuming air.
“I had never seen anything like it in this area,” Mishkin said. “And the land was cheap compared to what I thought the value might be.”
He bought the first plot of what would become Southall a year later in 2014, and slowly began to accumulate neighboring plots into a 325-acre property – the only problem was that the land had virtually no infrastructure.
“I learned that it’s basically impossible to take virgin land without utilities, a 1-inch water pipe, and some city power,” Mishkin said. “I took that raw land and like ‘Sims City’, turned it into something. It was a colossal undertaking with the zoning and bringing in the resources.
Southall was created after more than seven years of development. The costs and challenges of building an agriculture-focused hotel from the ground up were significant, but it’s a proven concept.
Blackberry Farm, a Relais & Châteaux property 200 miles east of Walland, Tennessee, has capitalized on (and, some would say, pioneered) the luxury farmhouse model since it first opened in 1990.
The two properties differ in key ways: Blackberry Farm is a 50-minute drive from the small town of Knoxville, and Southall is just outside of downtown Nashville; Blackberry Farm controls 4,200 acres to Southall’s 325; And blackberry farmAll-inclusive rates easily top over $2,000 per night with a three-night minimum, while rooms at Southall start at $839 per night.
“Franklin exploded with growth and became very attractive,” Mishkin said. “There’s a lot less open ground than when I came here, but I like to think we’re preserving what we can. The land I have is still at least 90% green”.
New York Post