Hotel Options Abound for Sports Fans Headed to the Liberty Bowl

Photo courtesy of IHG
Photo courtesy of Peabody Hotel
By Sally Walker Davies, Memphis Local Expert

The Liberty Bowl is both an actual stadium - home field for the University of Memphis Tigers - as well as an actual post-season bowl game called the Liberty Bowl, which pits teams from the Southeastern and Big 12 Conferences against one another in late December.

Both the University and the Liberty Bowl are located in hip Midtown Memphis, but the stadium does not sit on the campus proper – it’s about a mile away, abutting the swanky east side of town. (That means there is no walk from the bookstore to the stadium –but worry not, you can pick up game gear throughout the stadium). The central location means that there are plenty of hotel options in any direction, whether you prefer to stay downtown near Beale Street, or closer to the shopping and upscale eateries in East Memphis.

There are a number of hotel options right on or near Beale for post-game fun, including the Hampton Inn – Beale Street, the Westin, and the Peabody. The hotels closest to the stadium include the Holiday Inn – University of Memphis and the GenX.

Whether you're in the mood for a lush retreat following the game, or a spot that puts you right in the center of the post-game action on Beale, there's an accommodation for every football fan’s preference within a quick drive from the Liberty Bowl.

 

10. Hilton Memphis
Photo courtesy of Hilton Hotels

The centrally-located Hilton sits on the edge between east Memphis and Germantown, and is ideal for those with meetings with financial companies in East Memphis. Business services include a business service center with meeting rooms, complimentary airport shuttles, and a modern fitness center for working off the day's stress. Nearby restaurants like Ruth's Chris and Circa cater to the business crowd at dinner, while easy access to the interstate means there's easy access to attractions around Memphis including Graceland and Beale Street. From executive-style boardrooms to large ballrooms that seat hundreds, options for presentations and group meetings are abundant. For more casual meetings, a sleek lobby bar offers the chance to unwind yet still talk business at the end of the day.

9. DoubleTree by Hilton Memphis Downtown
Photo courtesy of (c) 2013 DoubleTree

The DoubleTree offers excellent proximity to Beale Street and AutoZone Park, home of the minor league Memphis Redbirds (an excellent space to watch a ballgame), as well as a myriad of downtown attractions and shopping.. Like most of the properties in this line, amenities include free WiFi and cookies, and an on-site T.G.I. Friday's restaurant serves as the hotel eatery. The Main Street Trolley, Beale Street and the Cotton Exchange Museum are just a few blocks away, and the surrounding area includes a variety of locally-owned and quite good restaurants, from Charlie Vergos's Rendezvous to Automatic Slim's, and the tony Chez Philippe in the adjacent Peabody Hotel.

8. Hampton Inn Poplar
Photo courtesy of Hampton Inn Memphis Poplar

The Hampton Inn on Poplar is located in the heart of East Memphis and offers easy accessibility to I-240 and I-40, so touring Memphis and its sights are a snap. Within the neighborhood (although be forewarned this is not a pedestrian-friendly neighborhood, despite the sidewalks) are a number of great restaurants including the original Corky's barbecue, just across the street, and the excellent Mosa Asian Bistro, around the corner on White Station. The hotel is a typical Hampton Inn, which means you know you are getting nicely appointed rooms and public spaces, with free breakfast and wifi. This is a popular hotel that books in advance and often sells out, given the excellent location and price.

7. Courtyard Memphis Airport
Photo courtesy of IHG

The newly renovated Courtyard by Marriott is not on airport property, but close enough to be called an airport hotel. With its proximity to both the interstate and the airport, it is easy to get to any of the major business centers in town, and serves as a perfect spot if you've got an early flight (there's free shuttle service to and from the airport). A full-service business center handles post and parcel service, overnight pick-up and deliveries, and an array of business services; two meeting rooms with complete audio-visual services and catering options allow for presentations and small banquets.

6. The Westin Memphis Beale Street
Photo courtesy of The Westin Memphis Beale Street

If you're high-tech, high-style or simply high maintenance, then the Westin Beale Street offers sleek, luxurious surroundings in which to conduct your business. The downtown property is a natural choice for anyone meeting with AutoZone, financial services, or medical industry teams; six ballrooms can be configured in a variety of meeting set-ups, and event space rocks with views of Beale Street and the FedEx Forum. During basketball season, the Westin plays home to visiting teams, so be sure to keep that in mind when planning group meetings or events. The Westin's business center is open 24 hours a day, with staff available during regular business hours to help with faxing, scanning and more; WiFi is available throughout the hotel at an additional charge.

5. The Peabody Memphis
Photo courtesy of Peabody Hotel

The grande dame of Southern hotels, the historic Peabody is a treat for the senses; opulence abounds, a dynamite restaurant pleases the palate, and the famed ducks entertain both adults and children. All the guest rooms were upated in 2014,and feature cool color palates and sleek furnishings. The old-timey pool area - a throwback to the glamour days of indoor hotel pools - intrigues kids, and the chance to watch the duck parade and enjoy duck-shaped soaps and other in-room amenities are added bonuses for families. For business travelers, this is the perfect spot to impress if a meeting room is needed, or to discuss deals in the quiet corner bar. Surrounding the hotel is an array of dining options, with the famed Rendezvous just across Union Avenue and down a back alley, and the hotel's own Chez Philippe is a grand dining experience (coat and tie definitely required).

4. Hampton Inn & Suites at Beale Street

The Hampton Inn on Beale is smack in the middle of the Beale Street action, being just one block north of the intersection of Beale and Third. A number of rooms offer balconies, affording a birds-eye view of the always-on pedestrian life around Beale- but don't be dismayed by the thought of all those revelers; soundproofing glass and a rule that any open containers of alcohol have to stay on Beale means there's a better chance than you'd think of getting a good night's sleep. Beyond exploring Beale, this is a great spot to headquarter if you're also planning to catch a Broadway show at the Orpheum and a baseball game at AutoZone Park. Out of all the downtown hotels, this would be the least child-friendly, given the proximity or revelers on Beale; the clubs are open practically all day, so there's always a bit of rowdy behavior around the hotel.

3. Holiday Inn Select Memphis - Downtown
Photo courtesy of Holiday Inn Downtown Memphis

Few know that Memphis was where the Holiday Inn was born - and the downtown option of the hometown brand is a perfect setting for those looking to economize yet be close to it all. With its Union Avenue location across the street from AutoZone Park - home to the Redbirds, a farm team of the St. Louis Cardinals - the Holiday Inn is situated just a few blocks from all the major downtown attractions and surrounded by loads of locally-owned restaurants. The Rendezvous, famed for its Memphis-style barbeque, is just out the side doors (follow your nose, and the smoke from the cookers). A terrace-level pool and fitness room will entice the kids.

2. Best Western Plus Gen X Inn
Photo courtesy of Best Western

This boutique-y budget offering is in Midtown, close to some of the city's best restaurants and nightlife, as well as downtown attractions. On the Madiosn Trolley line and situated in the Medical District, the hotel offers well-appointed guest rooms complete with cable satellite television and high-speed Internet access. A complimentary continental breakfast featuring fresh made waffles is offered daily, and there's a 24-hour fitness center and business center. The trolley line offers quick and inexpensive access to downtown attractions, and just a few miles away, you can explore Graceland, wander through the Beale Street Historic District or visit the Memphis Zoo.

1. Holiday Inn University of Memphis All Suite
Photo courtesy of IHG

Most folks don't know that the Holiday Inn chain of hotels got it start in Memphis; Kemmons Wilson started with one hotel on Summer Avenue, creating a nationwide empire of roadway inns. The Holiday Inn at the University of Memphis is part of the hospitality management school named for Wilson - and a training ground for those hoping to follow in his footsteps. The all-suite hotel is pleasant,comfortable and nicely-priced, with an on-campus location that's close to everything. There are two restaurants, a lounge, and a fitness center; the University's excellent art museum is just steps away, and the surrounding neighborhood offers a number of small restaurants.