Updated: Sep 19, 2022
MUCH BETTER THAN A HOTEL
If you've ever stayed at Turquoise Place in Orange Beach, AL or The Beach Club Resort & Spa in Fort Morgan, AL, then you know the level of quality that I found in Tuscaloosa last weekend when I was given the key card for a beautiful unit at Westgate Luxury Condominiums directly across the street from Bryant-Denny Stadium. Absolutely nothing could be more perfect for avid Alabama football fans. A private parking garage means no fighting traffic. Just arrive before the crowds and relax as game time nears.
I had a one-bedroom unit all to myself for two nights. It was huge!!! In addition to the king-size bed in the main bedroom, there were bunk beds in a sleeping alcove, and the large couch could easily provide a comfortable night for another person. There were also one and a half bathrooms.
By all means, take some groceries and plan to eat in for a few meals when you stay at Westgate. The kitchen had a Sub-Zero refrigerator, a Wolf oven, a separate icemaker, a dishwasher, and a large pantry. It would be a dream to prepare some meals in that space. There was even a large grill on the covered balcony.
I sank into the couch in the living room and wanted to stay awhile. Very comfortable. Flatscreen TVs were in the living room and the bedroom.
Lots of security measures were in place, so it felt completely safe. And, if I'd stayed longer, I could have used the full-size washer and dryer tucked away in a convenient closet.
If you are an owner at Westgate, you have access to the Skygate Club with everything you would need for upscale tailgating before the game -- grills, umbrellas, restrooms, a game room for the kids, and lots of TVs for keeping up with other games happening on the same day.
But don't worry. You don't have to be an owner. You can click this link to determine availability and to find the perfect size unit -- https://www.westgateal.com/rentals/about-our-condos/
WHERE TO GO FOR BREAKFAST
After a comfortable and restful night's sleep, you'll probably want to enjoy a great breakfast.
Two places in Tuscaloosa are laden with traditions that are very important to the Crimson Tide faithful. One is the Historic Waysider Restaurant on Greensboro Avenue. Those "in the know" say that legendary coach Paul "Bear" Bryant ate breakfast there often and staked his claim to a particular corner table. A bust of Bryant now sits atop that table adorned with a miniature version of his famous houndstooth hat. The walls are covered in newspaper clippings and photos of Bama glory days. The exterior is painted crimson and white. You can't miss it.
Biscuits are said to be the must-try menu item, but I can personally attest to the tastiness of the eggs, grits, and sugar-cured ham.
The other favorite of Bama folks is Rama Jama's, located in the shadow of Bryant-Denny Stadium at 1000 Paul W. Bryant Drive. Every square inch of the walls and even hanging from the ceiling, you'll see Crimson Tide memorabilia going back for decades. Rama Jama's serves breakfast and lunch Monday through Saturday from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. with breakfast being slightly more popular than lunch. All the traditional items are on the menu, but my personal fave was a serving of hash browns. Really crispy and good.
The University of Alabama claims to have won 18 national championships in football. (Those of us who graduated from Auburn University find a few of those to be a little "fuzzy," but that's another story). In honor of those supposed 18 championships, Rama Jama's serves a National Champion BLT sporting 18 strips of bacon and a National Champ Burger boasting 18 ounces of beef. Let them have their fun, I say. :)