The Berger Bungalow: Walking in a Winter Wonderland at Marriott Shoals Hotel and Spa in Florence, Alabama

Walking in a Winter Wonderland at Marriott Shoals Hotel and Spa in Florence, Alabama
Posted on:12.04.2017

The minute I knew that we were traveling to Florence, Alabama, I quickly searched Google in order to find out where to stay. Out of the twelve hotels in Florence (according to TA), Trip Advisor ranks Marriott Shoals Hotel & Spa #1 for the best value and when we chatted with our friends about it, they also told us that it was the most elegant hotel in the city, so we knew we had to check it out. I am so glad we did because we had a fantastic stay! 


The first thing I noticed when walking into Marriott Shoals was the Christmas tree. It was massive and so perfectly decorated - I really wish I knew how long it took to decorate it. We traveled to Florence the weekend after Thanksgiving and I was surprised that they already had decorations up, but I was so glad because they were so gorgeous - it truly was like walking in a winter wonderland and I could not stop taking pictures of the tree and all of the other decorations (as you can see below).

Decorations aside, the hotel was so beautiful and very well maintained. You can automatically tell that it is elegant and upscale, but the touches of funky musical decor throughout the hotel really made it stand out to me. If you read my article on Swampers Bar & Grille, then you know that they have a 'mini museum' and tribute to Muscle Shoals music. In addition to all of the pictures and decor in Swampers, the rich musical history is displayed throughout the entire hotel as well, through pictures, small details, and even the music they play. All of the music they play throughout the hotel and conference center has some relevance to the area, which I think is extremely cool! The only time they do not do this is between Thanksgiving and Christmas when they play festive holiday music instead.

Spread out over six floors, Marriott Shoals Hotel and Spa offers 192 rooms and 7 suites. In addition to the hotel rooms, they also have 30,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. This is perfect for meetings, retreats, weddings, rehearsal dinners, and receptions. The fantastic views don't hurt, either!

The grounds of the hotel are amazing, as well. We walked outside of the hotel, past a small, relaxing cascading waterfall and found The River Heritage Park, which is right outside of the hotels doors. It includes a short walking trail called The Walk of Honor, which recognizes people of Florence and Lauderdale County who have achieved national or international acclaim. The park also includes a fantastic playground for children, picnic tables, as well as a fountain that you can play in! We loved walking along side of the Tennessee River and Wilson Dam.

On the way back from The Walk of Honor, we went through the outdoor pool area and it was gorgeous and large. There was even a water slide, which I am sad I couldn't test out since it was cold! Two things that I did not see while I was there was the indoor pool and the spa. I've heard that the spa is a great place to purchase gifts (Christmas, anyone?!) and also relax! I cannot wait to go back and test that relaxation out! ;) 


We were upgraded to The Patton Suite and it was beyond perfect. We had a gorgeous view of the pool, the park, and the Tennessee River, the room was very spacious, and it was so comfortable, clean, and relaxing. One thing that really stood out to me was how handicap accessible the room was, especially the bathroom. I am not personally handicapped, but I know how important this can be to some families and I really appreciated that about the room.

My younger sister was in town for the wedding as well and came over to our room to get ready with me before the rehearsal dinner and wedding, so we really appreciated the extra space that The Patton Suite offered. There were three huge mirrors, so we were able to get ready without the added pressure of waiting for each other to get out of the bathroom. Ian really liked it too because we were able to get ready faster (which meant more watching football for him!). 

The bed was so, so comfortable. I have a hard time sleeping because I deal with back pain pretty frequently. I probably just need to invest in a new mattress, but let me tell you something - the mattress was amazing and I am happy to say that I had no back pain at all while sleeping at Marriott Shoals Hotel and Spa, which was such a nice change for once!

One other thing that stood out to me was how energy efficient the room was. I know this isn't a huge deal to some, but I really liked seeing that they were not wasting energy! Every time we opened the balcony door, the air would shut off and it would only come back on when we shut the door back. In addition to this, you could only turn down the air so low in order to preserve energy (I am guessing?), but trust me, we love sleeping in the cold and the room was the perfect temperature.


I hope that by now you have read my review on Swampers Bar & Grille. If not, go check it out! The food that we tried while staying at Marriott Shoals Hotel & Spa was fantastic. Unfortunately, we did not have time to try their fine dining restaurant, 360 Grille (which happens to be the only revolving restaurant in Alabama), but I can only imagine how good it was. The views from up there must be incredible! 

Although the hotel has breakfast, lunch, dinner, drinks, and snacks available, when we wanted to explore downtown Florence, they provided us with recommendation cards for restaurants to try! We tried Ricatoni's Italian Grill based on their card and it did not let us down.


  • The views
The view looking out from our hotel room was jaw dropping. The hotel overlooks the gorgeous Tennessee River and a dam, so you constantly have a great view. I loved waking up and sitting on our patio with a cup of coffee. It was the perfect way to start each morning! 
  • The grounds
Like I mentioned above, the grounds are very well taken care of and there is an endless list of things to do right around the hotel, which is so nice.
  • Southern elegance
The hotel had every high-end amenity that you could ask for and southern charm poured out from the decor and people. Every single person I met in the hotel was more than happy to help with anything we needed and they remembered you the next day. This doesn't happen at your average hotel! 
  • The city
I was really surprised with Florence, which I will explain more about in my travel guide in a few days. I loved the city so much! The Shoals area has an abundance of things to do - they have a huge music scene, which I have previously mentioned, but they also have quite a few historical landmarks such as the Helen Keller Birthplace and the Rosenbaum Home. There are many fantastic restaurants, bars, and other things to do around the area. Like always, I will go into more detail in my travel guide.

We received a complimentary stay in order to facilitate this article, but as always, all opinions are my own! Thank you so much to Marriott Shoals Hotel and Spa for having us - we enjoyed every minute of our trip thanks to you.

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