Upward Mobility

Southern Comfort

Do you sometimes wake up in your hotel room and look around, only to have difficulty recalling what city you're in this week? You won't if you're staying at the Talbot Heirs Guesthouse in Memphis, Tennessee, says 34-year-old entrepreneur Jamie Baker. She and her husband, Phil, also 34, own one of a growing number of "urban inns" that cater to business travelers seeking a more memorable experience than hotel chains offer.

Formerly an apartment building the Bakers purchased in July 1995, the Talbot Heirs Guesthouse contains nine guest suites decorated in different themes. For example, one room incorporates a black-and-white retro motif with a black leather sofa and an iron bed fashioned from an old fence. Another is outfitted southern style with a Tennessee marble floor, plantation shutters and a classic fainting couch. All the guest suites have fully equipped kitchens; suites cost from $150 to $250 per night.

"We wanted a place that felt like the guest room of someone's house," explains Jamie, "wedded with the privacy and security of a hotel."

For travelers who need to get down to business, there are two phone lines in every room; fax machines, treadmills and stair-climbing machines are also available upon request. In addition, the hotel has two conference rooms for holding meetings, luncheons or dinner receptions.

As if that's not enough, the Bakers recently acquired a property two doors down they've dubbed "Suite 10." It's a 2,000-square-foot penthouse that's open for business with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, treadmill, fax machine, full kitchen, living room and dining room for eight. How's that for traveling in style?

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This article was originally published in the July 1996 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Upward Mobility.

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