Clarksdale's Lofts May Cost More Than A Dime, But They're Probably Worth It
All this week, Julia Buckley will be taking us down the Blues trail in the Mississippi Delta and giving us the lowdown on the hotel scene. So kick off your blue suede shoes and get comfy.
So you want to visit the Mississippi Delta, but the Tallahatchie Flats seem just a little too dirty, you don’t want a chain motel, and the Alluvian, lovely as it is, could be anywhere. Never fear, though – you shan’t be robbed of your authentic Delta experience. You just have to move an hour north of Greenwood to Clarksdale. There, you’ll find The Lofts At The Five And Dime.
Although the Lofts are the swankiest places to stay in Clarksdale, they’re not exactly a hotel – they’re six mini apartments above the old Woolworth's building in downtown Clarksdale. They’re all owned privately but rented out pretty much permanently. All this really means to you is that you get a full kitchen, living room and washer-dryer included with your bedroom (score), that each loft looks different from the next (fine) and that, occasionally, you’ll see marks of the owners (in Loft D, for instance, there was a photo of the family in the bathroom).
You won’t feel all adrift as you might in a normal apartment, though, because the whole outfit is overseen by Bubba O’Keefe (to be honest, it’s really worth staying there just to say you’ve stayed with a man called Bubba). If we tell you Bubba is the epitome of southern hospitality, you probably won’t believe us, so we’ll just tell you that we met him as he was showing a guest – and, now, a friend – round the WROX museum in town, which he owns, and our quick museum tour turned into a two hour sit down and chat on the original sofas upstairs where Ike Turner used to work and Elvis popped in to play. Amazing.
So, yeah, Bubba will be your friend/concierge in town. Don’t worry about that.
We checked out Lofts C and D (the others were occupied) and liked them a lot. Each loft has a long entrancehall with a bathroom and a washer-dryer, which then opens up into a big open plan kitchen, living room and dining area. Tucked behind that, you have a bedroom (the only drawback is that the bedroom doesn’t have a window – though the light from the living room still gets in) and the master bathroom with huge shower.
As the name suggests, they’re pretty lofty and airy – this would be a great place if you had to stay in and work. Also, because they feel more like a home than a hotel, they don’t feel stale. And they all have some local touches, from the picture of a guitar in C to the blues books on the table and Robert Johnson portrait on the wall of D. Very nice.
We didn’t actually stay here, but only for reasons of budget – lofts cost $150 weeknights and $175 on weekends. If we’d had the cash, we’re not sure we’d have found much wrong with it.
Just book early, as they do fill up (often with celebs - UK fanboys of Sir Trevor McDonald will be thrilled to learn he stayed over just a few weeks ago). Luckily for the disorganized among us, Bubba plans to open a hotel just one block away from the lofts by next year. We’re calling the decor “plantation chic”.