City Mills Hotel, Columbus GA Review: From Grist Mill to Boutique Hotel

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City Mills Hotel, Columbus, Georgia - Exterior of City Mills Hotel
Exterior of City Mills Hotel showing outdoor patio, covered porch, and parking lot. Photo credit: Connie Pearson
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The writer was hosted.

City Mills Hotel in Columbus, Georgia began its life as a grist mill in 1828 and is now the city’s first luxury boutique hotel. During my visit, I loved its historic location at 1801 1st Ave. beside the Chattahoochee River. I had wonderful views both inside and outside and the hotel is centrally located and close to many fun things to do in Columbus.  

I liked the hotel so much that I give it a shout-out in my new book about nearby Auburn, Alabama, 100 Things To Do In Auburn, AL Before You Die. 

What You’ll Find at City Mills Hotel

  • Moderately priced accommodations
  • Original structure, steel and wood beams, and refurbished pieces from the former mill
  • A warm, personal greeting and friendly check-in at the 24-hour front desk 
  • Plenty of free parking 
  • Access to the Chattahoochee Riverwalk and to an excellent restaurant

What You Will Not Find at City Mills Hotel 

  • Valet parking
  • The traffic and crowds of big city hotels
  • A swimming pool
City Mills Hotel, Columbus, Georgia - Rooms incorporate the original exposed brick walls and are furnished with custom furniture and art by local artists.
Rooms incorporate the original exposed brick walls and are furnished with custom furniture and art by local artists. Photo credit: Connie Pearson

Our Guest  Room 

The hotel offers 64 comfortable guest rooms. The luxury bedding topped our list of in-room treats, and I can personally attest to a fabulous night’s sleep thanks to the wonderful pillows, mattress, and linens.

Other room amenities include a private bathroom with signature toiletries, air conditioning (especially important in the American Southeast), free wifi, ceiling fan, desk and chair area, alarm clock, refrigerator, hairdryer, and Nespresso machine for that all-important morning coffee.

City Mills Hotel, Columbus, Georgia - Private bathroom
Private bathroom. Photo credit: Connie Pearson

Room types range from riverfront rooms with balconies, to riverview rooms, a junior king suite, corner rooms with more windows, and a suite with queen beds and a loft for children.  

I had a classic room with a king bed, and it was spacious and comfortable. I especially enjoyed the large walk-in shower.

Room rates at City Mills Hotel range from $129 to $289 USD in 2023, depending on room type, military status, and other discounts.

The outdoor patio is perfect for relaxing and watching the activities on the river.

City Mills Hotel, Columbus, Georgia - Banana pudding for dessert at Millhouse Kitchen & Bar.
Banana pudding for dessert at Millhouse Kitchen & Bar. Photo credit: Connie Pearson

Dining at City Mills Hotel 

Free continental breakfast is included in the room rate. I dined on fresh pastries, fruit, parfaits, biscuits, and gravy, cereal, eggs, juice, and coffee.

For dinner, Millhouse Kitchen & Bar is the onsite restaurant. It offers a delectable menu and more incredible river views of the Chattahoochee.

Many items from the original mill are incorporated into the stunning décor. We especially appreciated the careful attention paid to providing an elevated dining experience.

Menu items harken to the area’s Georgia roots. We dined on crush puppies (combining shrimp and corn), boiled peanuts, redneck chicken wings, peanut soup, catfish, and banana pudding. My fried catfish had a light, crisp breading, and the tomato gravy on top was the perfect complement.

City Mills Hotel, Columbus, Georgia - Millhouse Kitchen & Bar
Millhouse Kitchen & Bar. Photo credit: Connie Pearson

Amenities Available for All City Mills Guests

  • Twenty-four-hour front desk 
  • Light snacks and bottled water are available 24/7
  • Dry cleaning and laundry services 
  • A selection of pet-friendly rooms, complete with signature pet bowls created by Mollie Jenkins Pottery, a Columbus company
  • Coffee machines and tea makers 
  • Discounted rate for active duty, veterans, and retired military personnel
  • Free parking 
  • Free wifi 
  • Outdoor patio and waterfront lawn are attractive common areas for guests
  • Easy access to the Chattahoochee Riverwalk 
  • No fitness room, but free access to the nearby YMCA
  • All major credit cards accepted

Yoga Classes and Spa Treatments

River Flow Yoga & Wellness is onsite at City Mills Hotel. River Flow Wellness offers four different types of massage therapy administered by trained professionals and Infrared Sauna Heat Therapy and color therapy. Yoga classes are scheduled throughout the week for all levels of participants, so guests will want to pack a mat and comfortable workout clothes.

I did not schedule a massage or a yoga class when I was there, but both are on my must-do list for the next visit.

Logistics and Details for City Mills Hotel 

For your mapping devices, the address is 1801 1st Avenue, Columbus, GA 31901. The phone number for the front desk is (706) 940-0100. Columbus Metropolitan Airport is 4.8 miles away, Montgomery (AL) Regional Airport is 82.9 miles away, and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is 98 miles and about an hour and a half away via I-85 South and I-185 South.  

Columbus is the second largest city in Georgia with Atlanta being the largest. It shares a bridge and a state line with Phenix City, Alabama, and it is in the southeast portion of Georgia.

Staying in Columbus is an affordable choice for people heading to Auburn for football weekends. If City Mills Hotel is booked, check the Hampton Inn Columbus Downtown, Hotel Indigo Columbus at Riverfront Place, or the Wyndham Columbus.

Reasons to Visit Columbus, Georgia 

Columbus is fortunate to have access to the programs, events, and opportunities created by the presence of Columbus State University and the Columbus Georgia Convention & Trade Center. Plus, Columbus has music and theatrical entertainment available through the Springer Opera House and the Rivercenter for the Performing Arts. I attended a performance of “Guys and Dolls” at Springer Opera House that was excellent in every way.

The Chattahoochee River

The river has been called the longest urban whitewater rafting course in the world, but it can also be changed into a calm water canoeing and kayaking course for a portion of the day. The Columbus Riverwalk is a fantastic public area for walking, biking, and geocaching.

City Mills Hotel, Columbus, Georgia - Portrait of Ma Rainey inside the Ma Rainey House & Blues Museum.
Portrait of Ma Rainey inside the Ma Rainey House & Blues Museum. Photo credit: Connie Pearson

Terrific Museums

Columbus is filled with fascinating museums. The National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center is said to be one of the best military museums in the country. With the presence of Fort Moore in Columbus, the military influence is strong. I stayed a couple of hours but would love to have had more time there.

Other unique museums include the Ma Rainey House & Blues Museum, the Columbus Museum, the Columbus Collective Museums, and the National Civil War Naval Museum.

At the Columbus Collective Museums, you can learn about several soft drinks that trace their origin to Columbus and find lunch boxes that will bring nostalgic smiles.

Uptown Columbus (as it is called by the locals) is a virtual outdoor art museum with quirky sculptures and colorful murals. It is pleasantly walkable and takes you past shops and restaurants along the way.

City Mills Hotel, Columbus, Georgia - Colorful mural in Uptown Columbus.
Colorful mural in Uptown Columbus. Photo credit: Connie Pearson

Great Food 

In addition to the onsite restaurant at City Mills Hotel, other great restaurants are within an easy drive. Some of those are The Animal Farm, Saltcellar, The Loft, Minnie’s Uptown, Plucked Up Chicken & Biscuits, Bodega 1205, My Boulange, plus many others along with a host of chain restaurants.