Considering the hotel hasn't had a renovation since it first opened in 1974, the Clarion Hotel Memphis - Graceland deserved the royal treatment.
The lobby of the newly renovated Clarion Hotel near Graceland. — Photo courtesy of Clarion Hotel - Graceland
And that's what it got – just a stone's throw from where Memphis' own royalty, Elvis Presley, lived. Once the Ramada Inn, the new Clarion-flagged property is chic and sleek, with all 245 rooms getting a major makeover. Featuring contemporary furniture, plasma televisions and bathrooms with granite counter tops, the hotel offers free WiFi throughout and iPod docking stations in the rooms.
In the lobby – now painted in calming hues of brown and cream – there's one throwback to the old hotel, Dad's Place. It's said that Elvis himself used to hang out there, and his booth is as it was during those days. The lounge also kept its wood paneled bar and the club-like atmosphere; there's even live music most weekends.
The hotel's restaurant, Trumpets, is working on an urban garden on-site which will engage neighborhood children in the growing (and eating) of healthy foods.
The hotel was the site of Elvis Tribute Artist competitions in 2012, which some Elvis fans decry as a sellout. Even so, the new property and its hopeful personality are welcomed in the area, which has decidedly seen better days. As city leaders have noted, it's a step in the right direction for the Graceland area - and hopefully the first of many.