Tag: Deep South Hotels

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Who'd You Rather: Ike Turner Or John Lee Hooker? The Choice Is Yours In Clarksdale

Where: 615 Sunflower Ave [map], Clarksdale, MS, United States, 38614
August 4, 2011 at 10:31 AM | by | Comments (0)

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.

If you only have time to stay in one Delta town, it’s probably going to be Clarksdale – there’s more to see and do there than the other places. And if the lux Lofts at the Five and Dime are out of your budget’s league, as they were for us, then you should do what we did and go for The Riverside Hotel.

The Riverside oozes blues history - so much so that it even has its own blues marker standing outside. So if you want to immerse yourself in the music, this is where to come. First up, the sober history: the building was originally Clarksdale’s Afro-American hospital, and it’s here that blues singer Bessie Smith died after a car crash (according to legend, she was refused entry to a closer, white hospital).

Then in 1944 the building was extended – think doubled in size – and converted into a hotel by the redoubtable-sounding Mrs ZL Hill. Being Clarksdale’s only African-American hotel during segregation meant that every black artist who came to Clarksdale (and there were many) stayed there. John Lee Hooker, Ike Turner, Muddy Waters, Robert Nighthawk, Aretha Franklin’s dad, etc etc. Even JFK Jr stayed here when he came for a blues festival.

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No Blues And No Biscuits, But That's A Good Thing

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 501 2nd Street [map], Indianola, MS, United States, 38751
August 3, 2011 at 9:50 AM | by | Comments (0)

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.

Indianola is a place that many people seem to skip when they’re in the Delta. We made this mistake our first time, too, with a drive-through visit to the (incredible) BB King Museum. This time, we decided to stay overnight – and were recommended the Blue Biscuit Bungalows.

The Blue Biscuit itself is a blues bar open at weekends opposite the BB King Museum in downtown Indianola. As a bar, it’s pretty and charming; but as a place to stay, it’s one of the best in the Delta.

You have two options: one, a shotgun cottage that, unlike the Tallahatchie Flats, has been done up: painted yellow outside and converted into a modern house inside with awesome kitsch everywhere (yes, Elvis is in the building). That’s out on the road by the bar.

The other option is the one we stayed in: the summer house. It’s tucked away in the owners’ garden, by the pool and next to their main house. So your bed is about 10ft from the swimming pool. While we’re on the subject: swimming pool. Mississippi Delta. Two things we never thought we’d see together. Wow.

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Clarksdale's Lofts May Cost More Than A Dime, But They're Probably Worth It

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 211 Yazoo Avenue [map], Clarksdale, MS, United States, 38614
August 2, 2011 at 10:26 AM | by | Comments (0)

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.

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