Today’s ‘My Favourite Hotel’ is The Peabody in Memphis, Tennessee, which features ducks visiting the lobby on a daily basis.
Unless there is major news breaking, we hope to run one article per day for the next few weeks. There will be a deliberate mix of European and worldwide properties, super luxury and mid market, branded and independent. You can find all our favourite hotels so far here.
The Peabody in Memphis is reader Lara’s favourite city hotel in the world and here is her review:
My husband and I had the delight of planning a southern food and music trip to the US in August 2019 which encompassed Nashville, Memphis, New Orleans and Charleston.
When choosing hotels for this trip, we wanted to be in the heart of each city with everything each place had to offer on our doorsteps. That’s why we picked The Peabody in Memphis. Looking back at the trip, this hotel has a special place in our hearts for three reasons: the exterior and interior of the hotel, the location and lastly the ducks – I will get back to the ducks later …..
The grandeur of The Peabody hotel itself is second to none
From the outside, the iconic red neon rooftop sign, red awnings and gold lettering invite you into this world-famous hotel. As soon as you step inside The Grand Lobby, you are overwhelmed with the vast array of marble, ornate chandeliers and the grand piano.
The hotel underwent a multi-million-dollar renovation of its 464 guestrooms and suites in 2013/2014 and combines a perfect mix of history with modern amenities.
We stayed in an Executive King room. It had everything we needed after long days of exploring the city and dancing the night away – a super comfortable king “Peabody Dream Bed” draped in Egyptian cotton and a majestic marble decorated bathroom.
The Peabody also offers Club Rooms with private concierge service as well as complimentary breakfast, drinks, and snacks throughout the day. We were offered to upgrade to this at check-in but politely declined as we had already picked out some breakfast spots in town.
The hotel contains a variety of bars and restaurants as well as a shopping galleria. In addition to the main bars The Peabody hosts a rooftop party on Thursday evenings between April and August with cool drinks, live music and amazing sunset views over the city.
If you are interested in the hotel’s history you can join a daily tour where you can learn about the hotel, its resident ducks (I will get to the ducks!) and its famous guests.
Where is The Peabody?
The location is perfect if you like slow-cooked BBQ food, southern hospitality and great jazz music as The Peabody is a mere few steps from Beale Street. Music pours out of the doors and windows of the bars and clubs along this lively street.
For BBQ food, Charles Rendezvous (not quite on Beale Street, but minutes from The Peabody) and Blues City Café were two of our highlights. For something a little more special, and for those who can’t decide what to have on the menu, Flight Restaurant and Wine Bar is just a five-minute walk from The Peabody. It boast tasting menus for each available course meaning that you can actually have a little bit of everything!
The Mississippi river and waterfront park are a five to ten minute walk from The Peabody and provide some peace and tranquillity away from the hustle and bustle. For sports fans, the Fedex Forum (home to NBA team Memphis Grizzlies) and Autozone Park (home to minor league baseball team Memphis Redbirds) are within a few minutes’ walk of the hotel.
Further afield is the humbling National Civil Rights Museum (approximately fifteen minute walk from The Peabody) which was built around the iconic Lorraine Motel where civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated in 1968. You could also visit Elvis Presley’s flamboyant former home at Graceland which is about a fifteen-minute drive and well worth a visit.
The Peabody Ducks
Last, but not least, are the ducks!
For the past 80 or so years, the Peabody Ducks have been marching to and from the lobby fountain every day at 11am and 5pm. This is one of the main attractions within Memphis and people queue for up to an hour beforehand to get a good spot to view these famous marching ducks.
The Peabody Duckmaster begins each morning ceremony with a brief overview of the history of the Peabody Ducks before going up to the Duck Palace on the rooftop to collect the famous birds. The ducks march out of the elevator and along a red carpet to the lobby fountain where they remain until the evening ceremony when they march into the elevator and back up to the Duck Palace.
Once the ducks are back in the Duck Palace, you can go up to the rooftop, grab a free lemonade and watch them in their special duck home. As well as the live marching ducks, these little guys are everywhere, from a cocktail accompaniment (Rubber Ducky) to the bars of soap in your room, and are a true reflection of the prestige and history of this famous hotel.
My husband and I hope that, once this lockdown is over, we can plan a trip back to this fantastic hotel in such a vibrant city. We would recommend that everyone puts it on their bucket list!
The Peabody’s website is here if you want to find out more.
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