What Graceland is to Memphis, Opryland is to Nashville. In other words, whether you're an Elvis fan or not, you owe it to yourself to visit the mansion at least once. Ditto for Opryland. Whether you're into country music or not, a tour of this palatial property with its 85-foot water fountains, tropical foliage, and winding "rivers," has become almost obligatory. The Opryland has the look and feel of a cruise ship and it does attract thousands of visitors daily (on top of the numbers who are actually staying at this massive hotel). The most impressive of the hotel's numerous areas is the Cascade Conservatory, which consists of two linked atriums. Waterfalls splash across rocky outcroppings, and fountains dance with colored lights and lasers. Bridges and meandering paths and a revolving gazebo bar add a certain quaint charm. Elsewhere at Opryland, the Magnolia lobby resembles an elegant antebellum mansion, with its classically proportioned double staircase worthy of Tara itself.
The hotel's stunning new spa, Relâche, provides an extensive array of salon and fitness services. Scented candles flicker and soothing music wafts through the dim corridors and 12 treatment rooms, where guests can indulge in raw-earth stone pedicures, warming sugar-spice facials, and pink-pearl firming body massages. There is also a 25-meter indoor pool (in addition to outdoor pools) and a state-of-the-art fitness center with an arsenal of cardio machines and other exercise equipment.
Opryland's standard guest rooms, while not overly spacious, are comfortable and convenient. All the rooms have been updated with new furnishings including queen beds with pillow-top mattresses and fine linens. Rooms with atrium views (which cost $75 extra) are charming, but keep in mind that musical events occurring in the lobby below your window might not be as quaint if you want to hit the sack early. Gift shops, cafes, and food specialty stores are scattered throughout Opryland. From family-style Italian dining and a build-your-own burger joint to upscale steak and seafood restaurants, that old cliché rings true: There's something here for all tastes and budgets. And don't be too cheap to unscrew the water bottles in your room. Opryland has recently begun charging overnight hotel guests an additional $10 per day resort fee, which includes the H20 and Wi-Fi.
Boots Made for Walking -- If you're staying at the Opryland Hotel, comfortable walking shoes are a must. Even if you opt for the valet parking, the distances between drop-off points and your room can be daunting. Each member of the bell staff at Opryland walks an average of 12 miles a day.
Facilities: 14 restaurants and lounges; 2 outdoor pools and 1 indoor pool; golf club; fitness center; off-premises children's daycare; game/video room; concierge; tour desk; car-rental desk; business center; 20 retail shops; spa/salon; 24-hr. room service; laundry service; dry cleaning.
In Rooms: A/C, TV w/pay movies, dataport w/high-speed Internet access and Wi-Fi; kitchen or kitchenette in suites, minibar or unstocked fridge in some units, coffeemaker, hair dryer, iron, safe.
- © Frommer's 2013
- Very Highly Recommended 2010