Doubletree Hotel Birmingham
The Doubletree Hotel Birmingham (originally the Kahler Plaza Hotel, later the Plaza Hotel South, Birmingham Hilton and Radisson Hotel of Birmingham) is a 295-room, 14-floor hotel and conference center located at 808 20th Street South on the southwest corner of University Boulevard in the heart of Southside's Medical Center.
The exposed concrete building was built in 1973 on the former site of the Cullom Apartments, which served as the UAB Medical Center Annex until their demolition in 1969. It was developed by Birmingham's Daniel Realty Company and UAB. A five-level parking deck was built alongside the hotel, which was to have been paired with a 200-unit apartment building when first proposed.
The hotel was first operated by the Kahler Corporation of Rochester, Minnesota as the "Kahler Plaza Hotel". A raised terrace houses the hotel's swimming pool and saunas. The original cocktail lounge, called The Depot, was decorated in the style of an early 1900s train depot. The main dining room, dubbed The Tiffany, was decorated in an art nouveau style. Jake Reiss III opened his J. Reiss Custom Clothier in the hotel in the mid 1970s.
By 1975 the hotel was being operated by Best Western. In the 1980s it was briefly owned by the Hilton Hotel chain. An Irish pub, Gator O'Brien's, operated there in 1986 with Foxy Fats & Company as its house band. In the late 1980s the property was sold to Columbia Sussex of Fort Mitchell, Kentucky, which rebranded the hotel as a Radisson Inn. Hilton did not return to the area until it bought the former Sheraton Perimeter Park South in 2002. Radisson operated the hotel restaurant as J. Gatsby's.
In November 2005 Columbia Sussex began a $10 million makeover of the southside hotel reopening it in June 2006 as the city's first Doubletree (a Hilton brand). The restaurant was renamed Bistro Americana.
- Beiman, Irving (November 23, 1969) "UA, Daniel Realty plan hotel complex." Birmingham News
- "City's newest hotel opens its doors" (October 1, 1973) Birmingham News - via Birmingham Public Library Digital Collections
- Williams, Roy L. (June 9, 2006) "Radisson to become first Doubletree Hotel in city." Birmingham News
- Bakken, Jim (November 3, 2016) "UAB Educational Foundation acquires on-campus hotel, announces major upgrades" UAB News
- Doubletree Hotel Birmingham website