When we started planning our road trip from Dallas to West Virginia for a post-Christmas family vacation, I immediately knew I wanted to stay at The Guest House at Graceland. A blogger friend had recently posted a few pictures on Instagram, posing on the oversized plush chairs in the lobby of the hotel and I was intrigued. The Guest Host at Graceland is a newly opened, 450 room luxury hotel in Memphis. They have only been open a few months, in fact their Grand Opening was October 27th, 2016.
We were trying to keep our road trip budget-friendly, so I held my breath as I logged into my Expedia.com account and checked the price for a room the day after Christmas. I was pleasantly surprised that we could get a room in a boutique hotel for under $200! In fact, with my Expedia points, I was able to book the room for about $150 a night.
The morning after Christmas, I lined up six suitcases by the front door while I waited on my husband to return with the rental car he picked up that morning. The kids each had a backpack full of toys and various pillow pets, blankets and water bottles ready for the 7 hour drive to Memphis. Once we filled our travel coffee mugs, packed the car and said goodbye to the dogs, we were finally on our way.
The Guest House at Graceland
The Guest House at Graceland is located about 15 minutes south of downtown Memphis and within walking distance of Graceland. We have stayed in downtown Memphis but this was the first time we have stayed near Graceland. After 8 hours on the road, we pulled into the parking lot of the Guest House around 5:30 PM. The beautiful Southern Colonial hotel was brightly lit and hard to miss. The hotel and surrounding property is gated, so we had to check in with a security guard to enter the parking lot. Although we had the option to valet, the parking lot was not full and we only had one suitcase for our overnight stay so we self-parked.
If you are flying into Memphis, free shuttle service if available to and from the hotel. Also, shuttle service is provided to downtown Memphis and Beale street if you want to go into the city during your stay. We were only in Memphis overnight and just wanted to experience the hotel, so we did not use any shuttle services during our stay.
The front doors open into an eye-catching circular lobby with a white and mirrored domed ceiling. The lobby is filled with oversized purple and gold couches along with huge silver and white chairs arranged into intimate seating areas. The carpet caught my eye right away because it was silver, grey and hot pink!
Since it was the day after Christmas, a tall tree sat in the center of the lobby with pink, green, purple, gold and silver sparkly decorations. To the right of the lobby is the hotel bar with a grand piano and the reception desk is located on the left. Only two guests were ahead of us to check in, so the line moved quickly. I pre-paid for our reservation on Expedia.com so we just had to give them our parking ticket and get our hotel keys.
The 3rd floor of the North Tower and our room were decorated in the same silver, white and hot pink colors as the lobby. When we opened the door to our room, the TV was on and playing music by Elvis Presley. In fact, you can hear Elvis playing everywhere in the hotel. I didn’t notice it right away, but Sophia pointed it out and asked if that was the only music they play! From the TV in our room, you could choose your Elvis music by decade; the 1950’s, 1960’s or 1970’s.
The queen beds were super soft and comfortable, with fur accent throws and hot pink pillows. After dinner that night, we laid in bed and watch Monday night football. I am not sure if I was tired from traveling or if the beds were just extra comfy, but I fell asleep before the game was over.
It is hard to tell from the pictures below but the walls of our room were covered in silver wallpaper. The inside of the drawers on the dresser and the inside of the closet were also hot pink. I was happy the room had a refrigerator, which comes in handy when you are traveling with kids. One thing that the room did not have was a bath tub. I didn’t mind but my 7 year old son only takes baths, so my husband had to show him how to take a shower instead!
After our 8 hour trip, the last thing we wanted to do was get back in the car and go out to dinner. Luckily, The Guest House at Graceland offers several dining options, so we did not have to leave the hotel. Delta’s Kitchen is the main restaurant, serving classic southern cooking and a breakfast buffet each morning. Shake Rattle & Go is the coffee bar which offers bakery items, sandwiches, salads and snacks. However we headed straight for the most family friendly option, EP’s Bar & Grill.
EP’s Bar & Grill feels like a cross between a diner and an upscale bar, but it was casual enough that we could show up in the same clothes we had been traveling in all day. Several TV’s around the restaurant were showing sports highlights and a pool table was tucked in the back corner. Trey and I each ordered a beer and split a burger and fries, which was served in a guitar-shaped basket. It was delicious but not necessarily big enough for sharing at the end of a long travel day.
The kids each ordered from the kids menu which offered the standard burgers, chicken fingers and mac-n-cheese. My only critique is about the kids menu. Both of them ordered mac-n-cheese and for $8, I expected more than standard Kraft noodles from a box.
Sophia wanted the banana pudding for dessert, however we decided to skip dessert and go back to the room. About an hour later, I regretted not ordering the banana pudding. It looked delicious and I got hungry again since I only ate half a burger. Learn from my mistake and definitely order the bread pudding!
The lobby bar also offers a light dining menu or if you prefer to stay in your room and relax, you could order room service.
The next morning, I woke Sophia up early so we could continue our mother-daughter travel tradition. Any time we stay in a hotel, Sophia and I get up early for a girls-only breakfast and to explore the hotel together. We tip-toed out of the room around 7 AM, leaving the boys in bed sleeping and went down to the first floor.
The breakfast buffet at Delta’s Kitchen smelled amazing but we were not in the mood for a sit down breakfast. It was early, before 8 AM on the Tuesday after Christmas, so the restaurant was not crowded. However Sophia begged me to not embarrass her by going inside to take pictures, especially when we were not even eating breakfast there.
Instead of the restaurant, we decided to check out Shake, Rattle & Go. We ordered coffee (obviously), hot chocolate, and a chocolate croissant and apple-cinnamon muffin to share. The lady working behind the counter was SUPER sweet, I wish I could remember her name. She warmed up our pastries and asked Sophia if she wanted whipped cream on her hot chocolate.
After we finished eating our girls-only breakfast, we explored the hotel. First we walked in theater where they show Elvis movies each night. The theater is also the location for live music, entertainment and shows year round. Beside the theater are several ballrooms, which are available for meeting space, weddings, and other events. While it looks very large from the outside, the hotel actually had an intimate feel and was not difficult to navigate.
Well, I didn’t find it difficult to navigate. After dinner the night before I took the kids outside to see the pool. I told Trey to meet us at the pool but he claimed he could not find it! At the back of the lobby is a wall of windows and doors that looks out onto the large circular lawn. Behind the lawn is a stone wall, which gives privacy to the pool and whirlpool area. The kids and I checkout out the pool but it was too cold for swimming.Is the new @GHGraceland a good fit for your family vacation? Click To Tweet
I would love to come back to Memphis in the spring and sip a cocktail by the pool. In fact, I would love to come back to the hotel for a couple’s getaway weekend. We could have drinks in the Lobby Lounge, eat dinner at Delta’s kitchen and see a show in theater. Then we could tour Graceland and the Elvis Presley’s Memphis, a new entertainment complex opening in March 2017.
Overall, The Guest House at Graceland was a wonderful stop on our family vacation. While the hotel is family friendly, I highly recommend it for adults. Be sure to check out the Calendar of Events and plan your visit to Graceland too!