Memphis Plays Cupid: A Guide to the City's Most Romantic Hotels

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

Who loves ya, baby? 10Best does - and we're proving it, with this guide to the most romantic hotels in Memphis.

When it comes to love, Memphis-style, the options are as unique as your relationship. Our list includes the most expensive and luxurious hotels in town, as well as a variety of options for those looking to charge their relationships with visits to Beale Street, a rooftop view of the Mississippi River, some time in the hot tub, or an in-room picnic.

All out, over-the-top, zillion-thread-count luxury is yours for the reserving at the historic Peabody Hotel, where you can spend an entire weekend overloading the senses with dinner at the 4-star Chez Philippe, a swim in the glamorous indoor pool, and drinks in the opulent Lobby Bar. If you're looking for a luxurious but more hidden getaway, the River Inn offers a quiet Harbor Town location with fantastic river views. Those who want to rev up their love with dancing, clubbing, and cocktails should consider the Westin Beale Street and the Hampton Inn, both right in the middle of the famed Beale Street action.

Some love affairs are best kept, well, under the radar. So if privacy, getting lost in a crowd, or an out of the way rendezvous is more your style, we've still govt you covered. The Hilton Memphis is a big business hotel - perfect for hiding in a crowd. And by the bustling Wolfchase Galleria, the Hyatt Place is a great choice for anonymity.

10. Embassy Suites Memphis
Photo courtesy of Hilton Worldwide

Located on Shady Grove Road in East Memphis, the Embassy Suites is a no-nonsense choice for the road warrior. Rooms are large and include a sitting area with a desk, couch and plentiful outlets, so you can set up your office-away-from-the-office. WiFi is free throughout the hotel, making it easy to connect; meeting rooms with full catering services are available, and a business center offers 24 hour access with printing, faxing and scanning available. The on-site restaurant, Frank Grisanti's, is a favorite of east Memphians, and a surprisingly excellent spot in which to host a business dinner. In addition, Circa and Ruth's Chris are just steps away, and a courtesy van can get you to local businesses, shops and restaurants with advance notice.

9. Courtyard by Marriott Downtown Memphis
Photo courtesy of Courtyard Marriott Downtown

The hotel features the newest concept in Courtyards with the slick lobby area in which to relax, a rooftop deck for watching the city come to life at sunset, and a smack-in-the-middle-of-downtown location that promises easy access to the most romantic restaurants in town. At night, lighted carriages are just outside the hotel's front door, ready to take you anywhere downtown - a nice change from a cab or walking. You can take a romantic stroll along the river just a few blocks away, too. At the end of the day, the rooftop deck with its city and river views is a great spot in which to unwind.

8. Memphis Marriott East
Photo courtesy of Memphis Marriott East

The 232-room Marriott in East Memphis occupies a funky little spot where Poplar Avenue splits as it crosses over I-240 - but the location is a prime one for anyone conducting business at International Paper, FedEx, the myriad of financial services companies in the area or simply looking for a central location from which to tour Memphis.While the hotel has undergone a head-to-toe makeover, the lobby bar is the best space of all. Backed by a two-story wall of windows and twisted, Chihuly-ish pendants, there's a downtown feel to this almost suburban space. Rooms feature dark woods and crisp white linens with touches of green, while suites mimic a more hip 70's decor vibe with arc lamps, furniture with clean lines and touches of wood and metal. Photographs offer glimpses into the city's icons, adding a nice touch of personalization. There's a nice outdoor patio complete with lounging furniture, and an indoor pool and fitness center.

7. 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. So maybe it's not the first place you think of for traditional romance. But if you and your honey love to be in the middle of the action, then this is the spot for you. 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.

6. 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 who want to really get away from the bustle of the city, but still be in proximity to great dining and shopping (which, guys, is definitely what women find romantic. Just sayin'). Rooms feature plush bedding, curved windows, and the kind of anonymity that's essential when one is perhaps trying not to be noticed. There's a hip bar and a choice of some of the city's best eateries nearby, too. The man-made lake which surrounds the hotel is home to a few swans - a nice if unintended romantic touch.

5. 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.It's probably the sexiest hotel in town right now, too. The downtown property is a natural choice for exploring the hidden nooks and crannies of downtown's dining and nightlife scene, too; go off Beale to explore Midtown's Cooper-Young or Overton Square neighborhoods. During basketball season, the Westin plays home to visiting teams, so be sure to keep that in mind when planning a romantic encounter - your honey might just fall for a professional athlete and that would kill the romance - at least for you.

4. Madison Hotel
Photo courtesy of Madison Hotel

The chic Madison is the best boutique hotel in the central business district, and oozes sophistication and big-city amenities. Luxuriously appointed rooms blend geometric wall coverings with bold colors, and many have a river view (ask for a room on a high floor facing west to lock in the view). Bathrooms are generally small yet still lush, featuring soaking or jetted tubs and touches of stone. The Twilight Sky Terrace is open daily, with drinks and small plates offered and during the summer is a more refined alternative to the nearby Peabody Hotel's rooftop gatherings, which are raucously festive. The hotel's restaurant, eighty3 - now with outside patio dining right on Main Street - is a perfect spot for a quick meal or drink before heading out to discover the Memphis music scene; the Main Street Trolley is the perfect ride to the South Main or Beale Street.

3. 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. The old time-y 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. Surrounding the hotel is an array of romantic dining options, – we'd advise hitting Itta Bena above B.B. King's on Beale, orthe hotel's own Chez Philippe, especially if you're thinking of popping the question (coat and tie definitely required).

2. River Inn of Harbor Town
Photo courtesy of River Inn of Harbor Town

Harbortown - home to the charming River Inn - isn't downtown per se, but locals consider it so (and we get the final vote). The Mud Island location and luxurious appointments combine for a quiet destination for those hoping to escape it all and perhaps cocoon with another, even if it's just for a night. The hotel is actually two buildings, with two restaurants and an excellent rooftop bar, open daily from 5:00 pm, offers calming views of the Mississippi River, less than 75 yards away. Home to the excellent Paulette's restaurant, rooms at the Inn include breakfast for two at the iconic Memphis restaurant - yum. In the area, talk ling walks along the river, visit Miss Cordelia's for a snack, or Cafe Eclectic for a morning jolt of java.

1. The James Lee House
Photo courtesy of James Lee House

This gorgeous old pile of a house in Victorian Village brings back the romance and splendor of a bygone era, with the five-star updates travelers demand of a high-end B&B. The house, a Victorian Italianate treasure, has been painstaking restored by an ambitious couple, with five lush suites made for love. The house, which served as the Memphis College of Arts until the college moved to Overton Park in the late 1950s, features plaster trim, plaster ceiling medallions, shaped moldings and marble mantels throughout, with modern updates including marble bathrooms, LED televisions, gorgeous antiques and fine linens. Bathrooms include modern versions of claw foot tubs.