The Guest House at Graceland
In Memphis, Tennessee, adjacent to the city's most famous attraction – Graceland, the home and final resting place of the King of Rock'n'Roll, Elvis Presley. The property sits on a boulevard named after Presley and there's more Elvis in every direction. To the north, Graceland, the mansion, while across the road to the east is the "Elvis' Memphis Experience", opened in 2017, which is essentially a huge Elvis museum containing stuff that there's no room for at Graceland itself, such as Presley's collection of classic cars and motorcycles, his many stage outfits and his two private jets.
Opened in late 2016, in time for the 40th anniversary of Presley's death, the Guest House features 450 rooms and suites across seven storeys, looking out towards the museum on one side and over the large outdoor swimming pool on the other. There are two restaurants, a bar, gym and a 464-seat theatre for live performances.
Contrary to the ostentatious, even gaudy, '70s style that remains in place in Elvis' own home, the rooms at the Guest House are far more subdued. My spacious room has two double beds, two armchairs, a large cabinet-cum-desk and an ample bathroom. The tones are muted greys and brown, sleek, sharp lines. The only hint you're staying in an Elvis-related hotel is the large photograph detail of one of the King's famous stage outfits, and the TV playing Elvis tunes on your arrival. You can select your favourite Elvis era for this music, or tune in to one of the two all-Elvis TV channels.
There are two dining options – the upmarket Delta and the sportsbar-style EP Grill. The latter option doesn't really fit with the rest of the tone of the hotel – it's a burgers and fries joint sitting in an otherwise stylish and luxurious property (to be fair, these types of foods were among Elvis' favourites). And for what is essentially a fast-food menu, the service is surprisingly slow.
If you're staying here, you're going to Graceland, right? There are various tour packages available but choosing an option that gives you a tour of the Graceland mansion as well as the Memphis Experience is worth the cost. The mansion on its own is worthwhile, but it offers a look mainly into Elvis' personal life. To get a sense of the man as a musician, performer and cultural icon, the Memphis Experience is a must. Plus his car collection and those private jets – which you are allowed to board – are amazing. Free shuttle buses run to the Graceland entry point regularly, but it's only about a 10-minute walk. See graceland.com
Rooms at the Guest House at Graceland start from about $US200 but can vary during peak periods. See guesthousegraceland.com
No mere novelty hotel, the Guest House at Graceland is modern, classy and comfortable.
You're staying with the King of Rock'n'Roll.
Consider taking a ride into town for wider dining options.
The writer stayed as a guest of the Guest House at Graceland and Memphis Tourism.