A Badass Luxury Getaway at the GunRunner

by | Sep 15, 2018

Our recent luxury getaway at the GunRunner certainly exceeded our expectations for a weekend getaway in Alabama! I love to search out quirky and historic places to stay with Jim for a luxury weekend getaways. Muscle Shoals, Alabama holds a special attraction with its history and roots in music. While we will stay in chain hotels, when the opportunity presents itself to stay in a luxurious, yet quirky, historic hotel, then we are all over that. Our recent luxury getaway at the GunRunner certainly exceeded our expectations!

About the GunRunner

Located at 310 East Tennessee Street in Florence, Alabama, the GunRunner is in a strategic location – a block away from Court Street. Shopping, excellent dining, and attractions like the Gold Record Room are only a short walk away. When planning a couples luxury getaway, Florence & the Shoals are a great choice.

The GunRunner building is named for the former pawn and firearms shop that occupied the space. Two thriving businesses, Turbo Coffe and Greasy Hands Barbershop call the first level of the building home.

Turbo Coffee is a cafe that offers coffee, tea, and a selection of signature beverages. Turbo also serves made in-house cold-pressed juices, and superfood smoothies and some fabulous pastries.

Greasy Hands Barber Shop shares the ground level with Turbo Coffee. While we were in Florence, Jim stopped in and had a quick trim and a shave. Greasy Hands does things the old-fashioned way, with hot towels. Once you visit Greasy Hands, you will never look at a barber shop the same way.

Walk up to a Luxury Getaway at the GunRunner

The second level of the building houses the hotel. There are nine luxury suites on the second floor, and one suite, The Devils Backbone. The Devils Backbone Suite is handicap accessible, with a walk-in shower.

The rooftop of the GunRunner offers expansive views. The long-term plan is to convert this to an event space, perfect for wedding receptions, and small cocktail parties.

Billy Ray Casteel, a local businessman, and owner of the hotel wanted each suite to be uniquely designed to connect to and celebrate the music, art, fashion, and history that is exclusive to the Shoals.

Walking up the staircase you enter the massive common space. Scattered throughout are area rugs and conversation areas. A perfect spot for a luxury getaway!

Walking up the wide, gleaming, dark wood staircase, you enter the 3200 square foot common area, with a huge bar area. Scattered throughout the space are several intimate conversation areas, with vibrant red tapestry rugs to bring warmth. High overhead exposed beams and industrial looking accents greet your eye. The GunRunner is taking its cues from its first life as a car dealership.

From Car Elevator to Whiskey Bar

The massive GunRunner Bar is actually the car and freight elevator from the car dealership that occupied the building! When we were there the bar had not opened yet; but it is now open, and is a high-end whiskey bar, adding to the luxury feel that you'll experience when you plan your luxury getaway to the GunRunner.

Speaking of the car dealership, let’s talk about the bar area. The GunRunner Bar is a high-end whiskey bar. They offer music and a selection of serious libations. The original car elevator houses the bar  (which still has the cables, pulleys, and all equipment). Industrial chic has never looked so cool or as manager Chris McMeans shares, “or badass. That’s what the GunRunner is. A Badass Boutique Hotel.”

The massive GunRunner Bar is actually the car and freight elevator from the car dealership that occupied the building! When we were there the bar had not opened yet; but it is now open, and is a high-end whiskey bar, adding to the luxury feel that you'll experience when you plan your luxury getaway to the GunRunner.

This Badass Boutique Hotel Offers Couples (& Celebrities) a Luxury Alabama Getaway

Musicians, fashion designers, and celebrities have found their way to Florence, and the GunRunner. GunRunner reservations can only be made online or by phone, and you are sent a passcode to access your room. This passcode enables you to come and go at your leisure and offers privacy.

The GunRunner has become the choice of celebrities. Chuck Leavell, Ronnie Milsap, and Taylor Hicks, winner of American Idol’s 5th season, are among the celebrities who have stayed at the GunRunner.

You will have a hard time choosing a suite to stay in for a fun weekend getaway to Florence, Alabama. The Billy Reid Suite was decorated by the famed designer himself. The Frank Lloyd Wright Site is in honor of Alabama’s only Frank Lloyd Wright home, located only a short walk from the hotel.

The Designed around a horse theme, and paying tribute to the famous racehorse Glencoe, purchased by the Jackson family, who built the plantation Forks of Cypress in 1818, the Glencoe Suite is a double queen suite. Another double queen suite is the Lion Suite, referencing the University of North Alabama and its mascots, Leo III and Una. Of course, paying tribute to the music that came from the Shoals is the Sam Phillips Suite.

History, Industry, & Luxury Meet at the GunRunner

Jim & I chose the Lumber One Suite for our Alabama weekend getaway. This suite is named after Casteel’s wood packaging business, Lumber One. Lumber One has an exposed brick wall, cozy balcony, king-size bed (and the bedding is luxuriously divine!), elegant black bathroom with an amazing shower! This room is a fabulous choice for a luxury Muscle Shoals getaway!

While the interior of the historic building has been renovated, touches of the original building shine through in the exposed brick walls, wood beams that are high overhead, and of course the car elevator that houses the GunRunner Bar. Modern touches include luxurious bedding, thick, thirsty robes, Bluetooth speakers, flatscreen TVs, Keurig coffeemakers, and private parking.

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The Lumber One Suite is an excellent choice for your luxury getaway at the GunRunner!
Thick, thirsty robes are always a nice luxury touch! And the Gunrunner is definitely a great spot for a luxury Alabama getaway!

Plan Your Alabama Lux Getaway at the GunRunner

With its music scene heating up, and the arrival of the GunRunner, many believe that Florence is on the precipice of becoming the next Nashville, or Memphis. Why not make your Alabama weekend getaway to Florence, and experience the GunRunner for yourself.


Have you been to Florence, Alabama? What was your favorite activity?

Thank you to Visit Florence, Alabama and the GunRunner for hosting us. All opinions are our own.

The GunRunner Boutique Hotel in Florence, AL is ideal for a getaway for two


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