Twice daily Duck March, with cocktails, a singular tradition in the hotel world
Home of Lansky’s, a rock-and-roll clothing shop that stocks the custom special edition blue suede Hush Puppies originally made for Elvis
The only full-blown traditional afternoon English tea in Memphis, served Wednesday through Saturday
What To Know
The Duck March is a hugely popular event that draws in lots of non-hotel guests, and staying here gives no advantage, so go early
The minimal day spa is leased out to a local chain, so it’s not really part of the hotel
Parking on site
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Grand hotel with a classic European vibe in the heart of downtown Memphis
Spanning an entire city block, the 12-story Peabody is a huge Italian Renaissance building clad in brick. The centerpiece is the two-story lobby, with its stained glass skylight. Stores, restaurants, the front desk, bell desk and concierge surround the lobby bar and the black marble duck fountain, while an extension off the lobby contains several more shops. The elevators have ornate brass doors, there are chandeliers at every turn, a mezzanine of balconies overlooks the lobby, and the staff is impeccably uniformed — it is all simply grand. Guestrooms are simple but ornate in an old-fashioned way, with sumptuous fabrics and lots of blue, gold and violet.
Bed and Bath
Rooms are on the small side but comfortable, and feel elegant with gold wall-to-wall carpeting, and well-chosen fabrics in blue, gold and violet. Rather than sleek surfaces, almost everything is covered in fabric, including armchairs and the luggage bench at the foot of the bed. Bathrooms have marble details, a traditional tub/shower combo, branded toiletries and, of course, rubber duckies. The robes are not name brand, but they are unusually thick, absorbent and comfortable. All rooms include free WiFi and have new 42-inch plasma TVs.
The Peabody is very pet-friendly, and the attached Peabody Athletic Club has a pool, sauna and modern gym, but it also welcomes downtown residents, so it can get quite crowded. Most leisure visitors to Memphis head out for the city’s famous barbecue, but the dining in the hotel is surprisingly good, especially the standout Chez Philippe. The Peabody’s unique public history room, on the second floor, displays the check Elvis Presley got for signing with RCA, a deal done in the lobby bar, and Babe Ruth’s autograph.
In the Area
The 800-pound gorilla of Memphis tourism is Elvis Presley’s home, Graceland, and the adjacent plane and car museum; go first thing in the morning, before the tour buses arrive. Most other highlights are within easy walking distance: A great minor league stadium sits right across the street, and within three blocks are several marquee attractions including historic Beale Street, the Smithsonian affiliate Rock 'n’ Soul Museum and the Gibson Guitar Factory. Just a few blocks farther is the National Civil Rights Museum, built around the Lorraine Motel, where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. Memphis is famous for its barbecue, and the famed dry-rub Rendezvous is just across the street, but better options include Central BBQ and Cozy Corner. One of the nation’s finest emporiums of fried chicken, Gus’s Famous, is a few blocks away.