The Central Station, Curio Collection by Hilton, Unveils Design Inspiration for the New South Main Hotel
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The Central Station, Curio Collection by Hilton, Unveils Design Inspiration for the New South Main Hotel

Historic elements, local artwork and a world-class music experience await guests at the 123-guest room boutique property

October 11, 2019 // // MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Kemmons Wilson Companies, along with Henry Turley Company, unveiled the design details for the highly anticipated Central Station Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton. Slated to open doors in October 2019, the new 123-guest room hotel will offer an immersive Memphis experience unlike any other, drawing upon the city’s rich history in music, art, craftsmanship and the popular train line, which passed through the 105-year-old building.

Originally built in 1914 as a transit hub, The Central Station is a National Landmark that draws its historic charm from South Main’s distinct architecture, unique history and community spirit. Looney Associates and the leaders behind Crosstown Concourse worked closely with McLean Wilson and Henry Turley Company to create a space that truly immerses guests in the area’s rich history of music and the building’s roots in transportation. The design incorporates elements of the original Central Station structure with authentic artistic collaborations, all with a direct connection to traditional and contemporary Memphis, leading visitors on a journey through art and music.

Looney Associates incorporated Memphis’ rich hues through the color scheme, design elements and various interactive experiences into the hotel’s elegant guest rooms. Twelve-foot ceilings, with original double hung windows, create a breathtaking view of the past and present. Neutrals are combined with pops of color in rich blues and cinnamon. Custom wall coverings and carpets feature patterns found throughout the original building, while luxurious bath areas will utilize material reminiscent of subway tile.

In a nod to Memphis’ history of metal craftsmanship, finishes will be burnished, not polished, for a subtler aesthetic. Photography by local artist Jamie Harmon takes guests on an expedition through stops along the ‘City of New Orleans’ train line.

“Central Station is a testament to the city’s history and culture, and we are thrilled to be able to utilize the vast talents of the artists and artisans of the city in bringing this hotel to life,” said McLean Wilson, principal, Kemmons Wilson companies. “The South Main District continues to grow as an exciting and vital area of Memphis, and the Central Station Hotel will play an integral part in bringing visitors and residents together in a true Memphian sensibility.”

Paying homage to Memphis’ rich music history, check-in desks are built to resemble 1960’s era stereo consoles, while the hotel lobby incorporates a monumental art installation, utilizing a variety of speakers in its walls. Referencing the building’s history as a train station, as well as its current function as a respite during travel, the hotel bar will be called 8 & Sand. The phrase was a parting salutation among train conductors to wish each other well and a safe journey - “8” refers to the highest gear and wide-open throttle and “sand” on the rails ensures a smooth ride.

Encompassing two stories, 8 & Sand features natural finishes and dramatic windows, which let light loom into the area during the day and are uplit in the evening to create a dramatically magical experience. A DJ booth, located in the center of the bar area, has been cleverly fashioned from a repurposed church organ, and a house DJ will be spinning records daily from an expansive collection of vinyl records that serve as a floor to ceiling focal point. A unique daily playlist will be broadcast over the hotel’s central station of music, curated from albums that have been collected for their connection to Memphis music.

Offering comfortable sofas and parlor-style seating, 8 & Sand incorporates the bar and a separate, acoustically treated Listening Lounge, both of which will showcase the legendary craftsmanship of Memphis-based audio designer Jim Thompson and his EgglestonWorks speakers. Designed by Thompson and his team of acousticians, the Listening Lounge will provide guests with one of the most incredible audio experiences in the world.

Each guest room will also showcase their own EgglestonWorks speaker, uniquely designed specifically for the hotel, which will bring the daily playlist into this personal space. Instead of a morning paper outside their door each day, guests will find a printed playlist of songs to be broadcast that day. Hidden in plain sight on the room’s desk will be an unmarked handcrafted knob which, when turned, brings the playlist through the speakers, adding a tactile quality and element of surprise.

Eight thousand total square feet of event and meeting space on the opposite side of the vinyl record wall, including a 6,500 square-foot ballroom, will occupy the terminal’s former waiting room space. The train marquee remains as a testament to the past along with light fixtures inspired by train lanterns of times gone by. Intimate meeting rooms will be nestled on the sides of the main area.

“The South Main area where the hotel is located is unlike anywhere else in the city, and our design team has done everything to incorporate that,” said Jim Looney, president, Looney Associates. “Central Station has more design layers than hotel guests typically encounter—especially through music and art sourced from cities and towns along the rail line from New Orleans to Chicago. People cannot get this experience anywhere else.”

The Henry Turley Company was selected by the Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA) to develop the Central Station area. The area’s 17 acres comprises The Central Station Hotel, Malco Powerhouse Cinema and an existing Farmer’s Market, as well as residential and retail establishments. Trolley service and an Amtrak station are also among the diverse components, all of which anchor this growing neighborhood on the South side of downtown.

“The goal is to create a transit-oriented development that will make the Central Station area be central again,” said Alex Turley, vice president of real estate, Henry Turley Company. “This could not have happened without MATA. There is a sense of arrival that signals to both Memphians and guests that they have arrived at a unique and vital place that’s always active and connected to the community. The fact that the hotel celebrates our heritage and invites folks to our city while juxtaposing the new Memphis experience and iconic Memphis music makes this a boutique hotel with big ideas.”

Managed and operated by Valor Hospitality Partners, The Central Station will be located in the heart of the birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll, award-winning restaurants, historical landmarks and a robust art scene, at 545 S Main Street, Memphis, TN.

For more information, visit and follow Central Station Hotel on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

About Central Station Hotel

Central Station Hotel is a 123-room luxury hotel, located in one of the most historic and famed neighborhoods in Memphis, known for restaurants, locally owned shops and community-operated music festivals. The Curio Collection by Hilton™ property features mid-century interior designs, enhanced with cutting-edge sound technology throughout the hotel and in-room feature, perfect for music lovers, leisure and business travelers. For more information, visit

About Curio Collection By Hilton

Curio Collection by Hilton is an upper-upscale, global portfolio of more than 70 one-of-a-kind hotels and resorts. Curio Collection properties provide travelers authentic experiences through distinctly local offerings and unexpected amenities tailored to every traveler type, all while providing the benefits of Hilton and its award-winning guest loyalty program Hilton Honors. Read the latest brand and hotel stories at; discover Curio Collection destinations through the eyes of locals with 48-hour itineraries at; determine what kind of traveler you are by taking the curiosity quiz; and connect with Curio Collection on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

About Kemmons Wilson Companies

Kemmons Wilson Companies (KWC) is a third-generation, single-family family office headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee. Established in 1948 by Kemmons Wilson, founder of Holiday Inn, KWC has owned, operated or partnered with people in over 400 ventures to date. The third generation leads the company today and continues to focus on private investing with a concentration in several key industries – resorts, hotels, aviation, cleantech, craft brewing, retail fashion design, software, insurance, and restaurants. With a long-term perspective and focus on relationships, they continue to adhere to the same timeless core values and principles that the previous generations instilled. To learn more, visit

About Valor Hospitality Partners

Valor Hospitality Partners is a full-service hotel acquisition, development, management and asset management company. With 48 hotels in its portfolio, Valor Hospitality Partners offers an array of services, including site selection, product selection, entitlements, financing solutions, conceptual design, construction and project management, procurement, technical services, pre-opening and operations management. Valor also provides consulting services on a wide range of project scenarios, including working with new or existing ownership groups on reviewing site selection, assessing feasibility studies and project budgets, compiling project budgets and underwriting. For more information, visit

Media Contact:

Emily Torres
Crowe PR

SOURCE Curio Collection By Hilton



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