I was at a conference at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel last week (no, not that one… this one). And while I didn't experience a lot outside the conference goings on (it was a busy four days, ya'll) I did take some time off to leisurely stroll through the gardens, walk by the river and rest in a gazebo.
I may not have mentioned that the Opryland Hotel has almost 2900 rooms, multiple ballrooms and exhibit space, 6 fine dining restaurants, 3 lounges, 8 eateries, 14 shops, a nightclub, a spa and an arcade. It's beyond huge.
The staff at the Opryland Hotel are spectacular. From the bellman who helped us unload seemingly endless bags, to the front desk staff who checked us in later than we planned, to our housekeeper, to the staff that served and cleaned up after 500+ conference goers, to the bellman who took even more bags from our room and loaded them in the van everyone, and I honestly mean everyone, exudes what is commonly called Southern hospitality.
I mentioned that the hotel is huge. In fact I took a wrong turn -twice- trying to get to the reception wing to check in.
Upon entering the reception lobby you immediately notice the columns surrounding an incredible stained glass dome.
The concierge desk sits directly below. I actually laid on the floor to get a really good shot of the different images in the dome.
Isn't it gorgeous? Check in is to the right (and also the left when it is very, very busy) through the arches. A lovely case showcases the Gibson guitars you can rent by the day- it is Music City, after all.
At check in you are given a map to help you find your room- which will also come in handy as you navigate the acres of hotel later on.
The bathroom had a marble vanity and tiled floor and shower. Water pressure was strong. A second vanity with sink was just outside the bathroom- which was great for a room filled with women.
After our long drive I just wanted to eat warm food and have a pint, so we went to Findley's Irish Pub. Lively traditional music was being played as we watched the Brazilian men at the table next to us have drinking contests with Guinness. (I do wonder how they felt the next morning.) My Scotch Egg was thin on the sausage and seemed a bit overcooked but my companions enjoyed their fish & chips and large salad. The pint was wonderful.
Walking back to our room I noticed the hotel actually has a radio station in it. 650am WSM broadcasts live24 hours a day.
I took some time off from my conference just to wander through the hotel. The Delta has beautiful gardens, shops, a 1/4 mile river (with boat tours and a swamp creature) and buildings that bring you into the deep South.
I may have gone a bit overboard but I couldn't help photographing the flowers. Such beautiful riots of color were welcomed as my landscape at home is covered in snow!
From the Delta you can enter the convention center in grand style.
The Cascades and the Garden Conservatory flowed together for me… Beautiful waterfalls, relaxing gazebos and paths to stroll… I could feel the tension melting out of me as I wandered here.
A note on wandering through the hotel: While the hallways are carpeted the pathways through the conservatory, the cascades and the delta are brick or concrete. They may be slippery (this is, basically, a biodome). While heels are ok for short periods I suggest a cute flat with a soft insole. I speak from experience.
Because most of our food was catered by the hotel (and was delicious) I didn't get a chance to experience the restaurant offerings. We had an event at the Jack Daniel's Saloon which featured some yummy appetizers but the most beautiful meal we had was at the Ristorante Volare. A lovely salad, eggplant Parmesan served over tortellini and tiramisu for dessert. Mmmm…
I am very much looking forward to our return trip to the Gaylord Opryland Hotel; at the end of the conference I won a two night stay in an atrium view room. I can't wait for my girls to see this hotel!
About the Gaylord Opryland
Room rates begin at $219 per night for traditional view, $284 for atrium garden view.
Be sure to check specials and packages; the hotel has multiple events throughout the year.
Parking is an additional charge; $25 per night for valet, $18 per night self park.