More to Memphis than meets the eye


Memphis is on its way back, as the destination anticipates being back to full recovery by late 2023 and has surpassed the visitor numbers in certain categories compared to the rest of the US. It’s not just the lure of Elvis, the world’s best barbecue, or its iconic music scene that will entice Kiwis to visit this year. In the last year, Memphis has rolled out a swathe of new hotels and eateries, putting the destination on the map for those seeking a truly unique or a more upmarket Memphis experience, without making a dent on the gritty and endlessly cool vibe that it’s ultimately famous for.


Whilst the iconic attractions of the city will always retain their pulling power, a host of new and exciting developments in the city have got locals and visitors alike excited, including new hotel Caption by Hyatt Beale Street. Smack bang in the middle of the city’s musical heart, the Caption by Hyatt Beale Street is Hyatt’s first Caption hotel and it boasts a distinctly local feel, with a commitment to not only reflecting the community in which it resides, but by also truly being a member of the Memphis community. The hotel runs on an ethos of allowing guests to be as full service or as self-service as each individual wants, plus it has a fitness centre, terrace, restaurant and bar on site.

Other unique stay options include the outdoor-themed luxury hotel Big Cypress Lodge, located within the iconic Memphis Pyramid; The Memphian which pays homage to its artsy and boho neighbourhood in the revitalised Overton Square; the boutique neighbourhood hotel Arrive with only 62 rooms, an all-day bakery, shuffleboard bar and a poker room; the truly Instagram-able and cool MOXY; the music-centric Central Station hotel, built on the site of a converted 1914 rail hub with a listening room, daily curated playlists, a record wall of 3,500 vinyls, an in-house DJ and room speakers that transmit the hotel’s daily mixes; and River Inn of Harbour Town which has the feel of a charming vintage guest house with the feeling of a remote, traditional community away from the city (when it’s really just across the bridge from downtown).


Of course, iconic stays such as The Guest House at Graceland and The Peabody never go out of style, and when both are so distinctly Memphian, but also each offering their own truly unique style, it’s not surprising that both hotels remain firm favourites for travellers.


Foodies will also rejoice with Memphis’ incomparable BBQ scene being joined by a host of new eateries from vegan establishments to fine diners. Brunch specialist Ashtar Garden has recently opened in the super cool neighbourhood of Cooper-Young, and the new Cooper House Project artisanal brewery and tap house is dedicated to experimental ales and lagers. For upmarket stays, new fine diner The Lobbyist focuses on local flavours and produce, another nod to Memphis and the love its locals have for their city.

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