Be a Part of History at The Peabody Hotel

The exterior of the Peabody Hotel

Where can you stay in Memphis when you want to be right in the center of downtown, close to all the action, and be a part of history? The Peabody Hotel is your answer for all of that and more. The Peabody hotel is a 4-star luxury hotel that will be celebrating 150 years next year in 2019. Visiting this opulent hotel will give you a chance to be in the same place as musicians, athletes, celebrities, movie stars, and even past presidents. Plus, it gives you the opportunity to experience the Duck March which is something that everyone should see at least once or if you are like me, multiple times. I recently stayed here while attending BloghouseMemphis and was floored by how much history at the Peabody Hotel there is.A Rolls Royce at the entrance of the Peabody Hotel

The History

The Peabody Hotel, a.k.a. The South’s Grand Hotel has hosted the affluent since 1869. The most notable in the past who have stayed here is President’s Andrew Johnson and William McKinley plus, every sitting President since has stayed here. The hotel has also seen Confederate Generals, Plantation Owners, and Professional Gamblers cross their threshold. But, the hotel has not only been generous to the upper class it has helped the downtrodden and less fortunate especially during the Yellow Fever epidemic of 1878. You can read more about how the epidemic affected Memphis by reading my post on Unique Things to do in Memphis.

After it closed in 1923, it was redesigned and reimagined into the grand hotel it is today reopening on Sept. 1, 1925. The hotel was the center of Memphis business activities with spaces for 40 shops and offices and even a national live-radio broadcast site on the roof of the Peabody Hotel. Eventually, time, repairs, and a few major fires had it closing again in 1973. But, you can’t keep a good thing down for long. The Peabody was bought by the Belz family who believed in the history and had faith that the Peabody could return to its former glory. Determined to make that happen, the Belz family put in the money and effort to restore the hotel and they have succeeded. The Peabody Hotel reopened again on Sept. 1, 1981. The Belz family is continuously committed to making the Peabody the best and that includes completing renovations every 5-6 years to keep everything up to date, fresh and new especially for the big 150-year celebration in 2019.

How To Get To The Peabody Hotel

From the airport, it is only a 15-20 minute ride to the Peabody Hotel. The most economical way to get to the hotel is by setting up an UBER. If you have never tried UBER before, check out my post on my first couple times using the service. There are taxis and even shuttles if you want to go that route.

The Lobby

Amazing! is the word for this lobby. I almost forgot to talk to the hotel front desk I was too busy looking at everything. I do have to say that the staff is super friendly. They didn’t have my breakfast voucher (part of the BloghouseMemphis) ready and offered to run it up to my room as soon as it was. I took my key and headed over to the elevators but, got distracted by the massive fountain in the middle of the lobby.The lobby in the Peabody Hotel

It was a bit early for the ducks to be there but, the fountain and the floral display alone was eye-catching. Did you know that this fountain is cut from one piece of travertine marble made and shipped from Italy for The Peabody Hotel’s 1925 opening? 

The Rooms

As in most of the older hotels I have stayed in, my room tends to be at the end of a very long hallway. I always get nervous walking down these quiet halls. I really got to stop watching so many movies. Now, the only thing that I wasn’t a fan of during my trip was my room number #665 which happened to be on a corner right next to the other room number. I kept staring at that door as I was walking down that hallway and creeping myself out as I got closer to my door. I quickly opened mine and basically pushed my way in so quickly and closed the door before I could take a big sigh of relief. Yes, I know I’m a bit weird. You get used to it. I walked in a bit further and my jaw dropped open. All thoughts of the room next door fled out of mind. I was staying in a dream room. Bedroom at the Peabody Hotel

I was fortunate to stay in a King Suite fit for a King or at least a Queen :)! The spacious room had a separate sitting area and vanity off of the bathroom. The bathroom is tiny but, you don’t spend a lot of time there. There are cute little extras around the room with the hotel ducks on them, including little soaps. In addition, each room gets two bottles of water each day which comes in handy if you visit in the summer. Spacious bedroom at the Peabody HotelVanity area in my room at the Peabody HotelBathroom at the Peabody HotelI thought it was a bit strange that there was a phone on the wall next to the toilet. I found out it was a mark of luxury to have a phone available for you to receive calls anywhere. Surprisingly, this philosophy hasn’t changed much over the years with the advent of smartphones.

Dining

There are a couple of dining choices within the hotel for you to choose from. The Capriccio Grill is an Italian Steakhouse. The decor gives you the feeling of being in Italy. I love the mural painting on the wall of the outside of an Italian building. I tried both the Italian and the steak by ordering Ravioli for an appetizer and steak with tasty whipped mashed potatoes for dinner. But, the highlight for me was the Memphis Mule. I have been trying Mules in Pittsburgh, Louisville, and now Memphis. Hands down this is the best one! Capriccio Grill restaurant, at the Peabody Hotel

Capriccio Grill also does a fabulous breakfast buffet that I tried out one morning. Traditional breakfast choices but, what made it special was the staff. They were friendly and accommodating of me taking pictures of everything. Oh, and the breakfast was yummy as well!

Breakfast Buffet at Capriccio Grill

Putting the finishing touches on the breakfast buffet

Another dining choice is Chez Phillipe’s, who is the only Forbes Four-Star and AAA Four-Diamond rated restaurant in the Mid-South. This is one luxuriant restaurant where you can enjoy classic French Cuisine in the South. Or you can do what my friend, Betsi, did and enjoy an Afternoon Tea at Chez Phillipe’s. Chez Philippe restaurant at the Peabody Hotel

There are also many other dining choices with snacks and coffee at the Peabody Deli & Desserts, and of course, you can pick something up at the Lobby Bar while you are watching the ducks.

Duck March

Speaking of ducks…The ducks have been in the lobby fountain since 1933. Not the same ducks, they are actually on a three-month rotation from a local farm with always one male and four females. This tradition started because the General Manager and a friend got back from a hunting trip and put the live decoy ducks in the fountain as a joke. Everybody loved them so; they decided to keep the ducks in the fountain and have for the past 80 years.The Peabody ducks at the lobby fountain in the Peabody Hotel

A child watching the Peabody ducks in the lobby fountainThe ducks march from their Duck Palace on the roof to the fountain at 11 am and then back up the elevator at 5 pm. This is quite the spectacle with the red carpet being rolled out for them. It is highly recommended to get there at least 30 min early to find a viewing spot. Children are allowed to sit right next to the carpet. Be forewarned that there is no standing in the lobby. Once the seats are filled, I believe the best spots are on the 2nd-floor mezzanine. Or you can head up to the Plantation Roof to get a peak of them walking to and from their palace. The crowds waiting for the Duck March at the Peabody Hotel - History at the Peabody HotelThe Peabody ducks in the Duck March at the Peabody Hotel - History at the Peabody HotelThe Duck Palace on the Plantation Roof at the Peabody HotelInside the Duck Palace on the Plantation Roof at the Peabody Hotel

Doug Brown, the General Manager, and President, told us a Duck March story with visitors, President Jimmy Carter sitting in the reserved chairs, Michael Jordan standing and looking too cool to look directly at the ducks and kept looking over his shoulder, while Lisa Marie Presley and Nick Cage (on their honeymoon) smoking on the mezzanine at the same Duck March. Just another day here at the Peabody Hotel. 

Additional Amenities

Besides the infamous Duck March, there is plenty to do at the hotel. You can make a spa appointment at Feathers Spa. Take a swim in the Pool or workout in the Athletic Center. The hotel also provides complimentary shoe shines which is a remnant of the past.Feathers Spa at the Peabody HotelPool at the Peabody HotelAthletic Club in the Peabody HotelShoeshine at the Peabody Hotel - History at the Peabody Hotel

Rooftop Parties in the Summer

Thursday nights you can find a significant portion of the Memphis crowd on the Plantation Roof of the Peabody Hotel. There is live entertainment, snacks (VIP area), drinks, and amazing sunsets over the Mississippi River. Peabody Rooftop Parties on the Plantation RoofSunset from the Peabody rooftopAny other night you can walk a couple of blocks to Beale Street for some Blues, Beer, and BBQ.

More History at the Peabody

Because of the extensive time this hotel has been in Memphis, a lot of important events have occurred here. Most of these are preserved in the Peabody Memorabilia Room. This room, on the 2nd floor, is filled with items from the past. Including one fantastic document, Elvis Presley’s first signed RCA contract, which was signed right in the Peabody Hotel.The Peabody Memorabilia Room - History of the Peabody HotelMemorabilia in the Peabody Memorabilia Room - History of the Peabody HotelToiletry items from the past - History at the Peabody HotelElvis Presley's RCA recording contract signed at the Peabody Hotel - History at the Peabody Hotel

In addition to the memorabilia room, the 2nd floor is a treasure trove filled with historical items. You can see a bank of phones that were used for international calls. Plus, you can see a grand piano custom-built for Francis Scott Key in 1838.Bank of phones at the Peabody Hotel

Grand Piano that built for Francis Scott Key at the Peabody Hotel

Lansky Bros. Clothier to the King

Elvis had a profound impact on Memphis and the Peabody Hotel. As the story goes, Benard Lansky looked out of his shop window and saw a young man looking at the clothes. He walked outside to greet him and tell him to come on in and look around. The young man said, “I don’t have any money, Mr. Lansky, but when I get rich, I’m going to buy you out.” Benard answered him back “Don’t buy me out, just buy from me!” That young man was Elvis Presley and return he did. Mr. Benard Lansky helped Elvis to define his style, and now future generations can experience that same style including the Blue Suede Shoes.Lansky at the Peabody - Clothier to the King - History at the Peabody HotelLansky at the Peabody - Clothier to the King - History at the Peabody Hotel

The interesting decor inside of Lansky’s is the signed guitars all over the walls. From Rock & Roll to Country musicians have signed guitars on display. Including an Elvis Presley guitar signed by his daughter, Lisa Marie.Elvis Presley's guitar signed by Lisa Marie Presley at Lanksy's - History at the Peabody HotelSigned guitars and blue suede shoes at Lansky Bros.

As you can see there is a tremendous amount of history at the Peabody Hotel.  If you are interested in coming for a visit and being part of history at the Peabody Hotel, you can book your stay here.

The Peabody Hotel is located at 149 Union Avenue, Memphis, TN. Price Range: $$$

Thank you Peabody Hotel, Mediavine, and Memphis Tourism for partially hosting me at Bloghouse Memphis. As always all opinions are 100% my own.

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