We’ve all been watching the new hotel go up on 18th Street, and now the 129-room Curio Collection by Hilton hotel is set to open in mid-February. “Its design will be a blend of southern charm and modern lifestyle with classic elements and tailored details that draw on surrounding natural elements,” General Manager Danny Hiatt tells us. We chatted with him to learn more about its dining offerings for both guests and locals and what else we can look to see when the hotel opens its doors.

Can you start by giving us an overview of the hotel concept?

The Valley Hotel is a number one a Curio by Hilton hotel, which is a collection of independent hotels that are about all things local. We are excited for the opportunity to partner with all the local businesses. We have art by local artists in the guest rooms and throughout the lobby that will also have a see-through fireplace. We are also creating guest room packages with local retail items, and we have a sundry shop by the front desk we hope will offer local items too.

There will be several dining destinations in the hotel that will be open for guests and locals. Can you tell us about those?

Ironwood Kitchen and Cocktails is an upscale kitchen and bar. We will focus on elevated comfort food to reimagined southern comfort staples. The concept is iron meets fire with the history of Birmingham’s iron production. We will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner there. The Terrace Bar will be a high-energy location looking over 18th Street with views of downtown and Vulcan. If you are standing in front of Ed’s Pet World it’s on the right-hand corner on the second level of the hotel opposite Maple Biscuit Company. We’ll also have an upscale coffee bar and café that will offer locally sourced food and coffee. It will have an outdoor courtyard and bistro that will allow guests to go outside.

How will these dining concepts be unique to Homewood?

We will source local ingredients for Ironwood. We want to create an experiential destination. We want to tap in with the local craft beer scene and we will have specialty drinks with fresh ingredients. We will have a wine list we think will be state-of-the art from different vineyards and varietals.

What event spaces will the hotel offer?

Adjacent to the bar is our ballroom foyer area with floor-to-ceiling windows with beautiful views. Our upscale Red Mountain ballroom has about 4,300 square feet. It’s absolutely gorgeous. We have already had about three dozen wedding inquiries for it. We also have a Shades Creek Room that is about 900 square feet and is off the ballroom. It can be used for corporate meetings. Downstairs we have the Vulcan Board Room that will have state-of-the-art technology.

How do y’all approach opening a hotel in the middle of a pandemic?

We are opening during COVID, but Hilton has been a world leaders in their cleanliness and sanitation program to ensure guest safety and sanitation. After we sanitize and clean a room, we put a door seal on the room, and every touch point is sanitized. We want everyone to feel comfortable and safe as we get through this pandemic.