Empire Hotel – a “sneak peak” at Birmingham’s newest historic luxury hotel (photos)

Empire Hotel Moon Shine Birmingham Alabama
View from Empire Hotel roof top bar – Moon Shine – of Railroad Park

Last month, the Washington Post published a story about Birmingham, Alabama becoming a destination for travelers across the country.

Inside the article, along with features about The Pizitz Food Hall and the Birmingham Civil Rights District, was a profile about the Empire Hotel – Birmingham’s latest luxury hotel that is opening in May.

This week, Bham Now, got a “sneak peak” of the restoration and transformation of the 108 year old (1909), 247 foot tall, classical revival style bank building (the Empire Building was home to numerous banks),  that was one of the four skyscrapers promoted as the “Heaviest Corner on Earth.”

Empire Hotel Birmingham Alabama
Empire Hotel’s molded terra-cotta and monumental pink granite Doric columns

Here are the vital statistics about the Empire Hotel which will be operated as part of the Marriott Hotels’ “Autograph Collection.”

  • 117 guestrooms including 6 suites
  • 4300 square feet of flexible indoor and outdoor event space
  • The Yard – 130 seats – restaurant located on the lobby level of the hotel. The Empire’s signature restaurant, The Yard will feature “southern progressive” cuisine by chef Haller Magee.
  • Moon Shine – 86 seats – rooftop bar – featuring panoramic views of Birmingham.
  • Full service concierge
  • Fitness Center provided complimentary
  • Valet parking

One of the highlights of Bham Now‘s tour of the Empire was the view from the Moon Shine rooftop bar.

View from the north side of the Empire Hotel

Empire Hotel Birmingham Alabama
Empire Hotel looking north

View from the west side of the Empire Hotel – left to right – Railroad Park, the new transportation center, The Pizitz, McWane Science Center and Alabama Power

Empire Hotel Birmingham Alabama
On top of the Empire Hotel looking west

Allegorical figures, Italian marble, the “E” shield

Along with the rooftop views, one of the most unique facets of the building are the allegorical figures at each corner of the building and the beautiful craftsmanship.  According to the history of the soon to be famous sculpted busts, the allegorical figures represent one of the architects William Welton (as Emperor William) and the superintendent for the project Frederick Larkin (Frederick the Great). Unfortunately, we don’t know which is Fredrick or William.

Empire Hotel Birmingham Alabama
Figure on the north side of the building
Empire Hotel
Figure on the southwestern side of the Empire Hotel

Inside the Empire Hotel, you will  see the Italian marble walls, the beautifully crafted stairs and the “E” motif

Empire 15 Empire Hotel - a "sneak peak" at Birmingham's newest historic luxury hotel (photos)
Empire Hotel’s Italian marble
Empire 4 Empire Hotel - a "sneak peak" at Birmingham's newest historic luxury hotel (photos)
Railing and stairs at the entrance of the Empire Hotel
Empire Hotel Birmingham Alabama
Iconic “E” borders the ceiling entrance

Supported by Alabama’s historic tax credit law, the Empire Hotel, is another historic building that has been restored in the Birmingham downtown area resulting from the successful 2013 preservation law. Other historic buildings in the Magic City that have taken advantage of the tax credit include, the Lyric Theatre, The Pizitz, Florentine Building and the Redmont Hotel.

Empire Hotel Birmingham Alabama
20th Street side of the Empire Hotel
Empire 10 Empire Hotel - a "sneak peak" at Birmingham's newest historic luxury hotel (photos)
Empire Hotel Entrance

A new “gem” in the heart of the city, this century old bank building will be restored as an elegant hotel, opening its doors to the world in May.

Truly one of Birmingham’s “originals.”

For additional details about the restaurant, the rooftop bar and guestrooms, visit the Empire Hotel website.


Pat Byington
Pat Byington

Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.

Articles: 2158