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Lace up your blue suede shoes because you might get all shook up by this news – looks like Graceland is going to get a huge new hotel.
Elvis Presley Enterprises, the King’s estate, has received approval for a 450-room hotel to take up a whopping 24 acres of land just north of Graceland, on the same side of Elvis Presley Blvd.
The Guesthouse at Graceland is tentatively scheduled for a August 2015 opening – just in time for the 38th anniversary of Elvis’
so-called death on August 16.
Local architects Hnedak Bobo Group is in charge of the $70m project, and behind the cutesy-looking façade with its Graceland-Grecian-style façade (white columns, black shutters) will be a restaurant, sports bar, exhibition building, theater and meeting/event space. Hopefully “sports bar” is code for “Elvis impersonator bar” – the idea of going to Graceland to hang out in a sports bar is properly Heartbreak Hotel. (Speaking of the actual Heartbreak Hotel, currently the nearest hotel to Graceland, according to Memphis Daily News reporter Bill Dries, the estate will close this once the Guesthouse opens.)
On April 4 1968, Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated while standing on a balcony at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, TN. Since that day, the hotel has found new life as the National Civil Rights Museum, an impressive collection of photographs, videos and written accounts chronicling the history of the civil rights movement.
As historic hotels go, they don't come much more important than this place. And now the museum is adding to its repertoire.
Though room 306 has always been open to visitors (everything, from the furniture, curtains, carpet, rotary telephone and current newspaper, has been recreated to make the room look exactly the way it did when Dr. King stayed there), that was as far as they could go. Which is still quite a profound experience, given how much time Dr. King spent in that particular room (he was no stranger to the motel—in fact, room 306 was nicknamed the King-Abernathy Suite in his honor, after so many repeat stays).
Turndown Service / Tennessee Hotels / Delta Hotels / Memphis Hotels / HotelChatter Reviews / Free WiFi / → All Tags
All this week, Julia Buckley will be taking us down the Blues trail in the Mississippi Delta and giving us the lowdown on the hotel scene. So kick off your blue suede shoes and get comfy.
Chocolate, schmocolate. Turndown service usually leaves us slightly cold – or rather, it did until our stay at the River Inn of Harbor Town in Memphis two weeks ago. Because there, turndown not only means a gussied up bed. It not only means posh, round, Ferrero Rocher-like truffles rather than a tasteless slab of sugar on the pillow. No, at the River Inn, turndown also means a little carafe of port.
Why mention Memphis in HotelChatter's official Mississippi Delta Week? Because if you’re traveling to the Delta, it’s most likely that you’ll start off (and end up) in Memphis. Not only is it the closest major airport to the Delta, but it’s a fitting place to top and tail your trip, seeing as Memphis was the town all the blues musicians wanted to get to.
We’ve been to Memphis a couple times now, but never had much luck with hotels, the Benchmark being the low point, and the surprisingly snazzy Motel 6 in Horn Lake the high – but it’s a 20 minute drive from town. And though we’ve hung out and watched the duck parade at the Peabody, it’s always been out of our budget or fully booked.
But this time was third time lucky in Memphis, and not just because of the port.
While most people headed out to have pancakes with mom yesterday, Memphis battled flooding from the Mississippi River that's expected to reach 48 feet on Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service. However, downtown Memphis hotels are safe and open for business.
We called the Holiday Inn Select Downtown Memphis to see how it was faring, and the front desk said that downtown, which is perched on a bluff, isn't affected at all. "I'm not even wearing a swimsuit or anything," the front desk clerk joked.
There's a lot that lures travelers to Memphis: the city's rich music scene—it was the birthplace of rock 'n' roll and soul music, after all—the finger-lickin' good barbecue and the jumping nightlife on Beale Street are just a few. If you want to go South for the winter, here are Memphis hotel options for every budget.
See our three hotel picks after the jump.
Last week, we found ourselves on an unplanned Easter road trip and ended up in Memphis on Good Friday. Having paid our Graceland dues, we decided to shack up for the night, and soon realized that the town was pretty full for the weekend.
Our options? The Peabody had a double room for $200, but the Benchmark had one going for $130. The lobby looked a little worn but the staff were nice, we were tired, and we hadn't seen the warnings on TripAdvisor so we gave it a go.
Cubicle Dreamin' is a feature in which we ask the hotel mavens to take some time out of their busy work day, surf the Internet, and tell us what hotel they wish they could beam themselves to right that very second--all on the slave driving companies dime, of course. Oh, like these people aren't surfing aimlessly anyway--at least now their purposeless clicking will be cobbled together into useful hotel stories--we hope. Have a destination hotel you are just dying to leave your cube for? Send the story our way.
In this episode, Hotel Maven Jennifer Merritt puts on her blue suede shoes and heads to Graceland. Enjoy.
I'm not much of an Elvis fan, but for some reason I've always wanted to go to Graceland. Because I'm not one of those jumpsuit-and-wig-wearing fanatics, I want to make sure my trip to Memphis isn't all Elvis, all the time. It appears that the River Inn of Harbor Town may be the solution to that conundrum.
[Ed. Note: Hotel Maven Tim Leffel continues his summer jaunts by checking in on the hotel scene in Memphis. Enjoy.]
At the Madison Hotel in Memphis, jocks, rock stars, and us regular folk can all enjoy a dish of style with the blues and barbeque.
In the dark days of Memphis hotel history, there weren't a lot of choices for the discerning traveler. You either stayed at a faceless chain hotel or you stayed at the grand and historic Peabody. Since the Madison Hotel opened in a restored bank building at the end of 2002, however, Memphis visitors have been able to add some much-needed pizazz to their options. (And celebrities can stay somewhere that isn't designed for their grandmother's tastes.)
When you step into the lobby of The Madison, your senses get a welcome jolt: dark blue and red velvet sofas, colorful paintings, and a soundtrack that is a million miles from Muzak--real Memphis music with soul. The homage to the city's history continues with oversized photos of the blues greats, framed cymbals,and a hotel logo that's formed from two music notes. A "Smashed Brass" sculpture by the mezzanine stairway is composed of four saxophones, two trumpets, and two trombones--all run over by a truck and framed in their flattened state.
More on the hotel including its famous clientele after the jump