The Opryland Hotel is a must see — especially if you are visiting the Nashville area for the first time.
It was on my “to do” list when I first moved to Nashville in March of 2010. Unfortunately, due to record setting flooding that May, we had to postpone our visit until the hotel was restored.
We had some friends come into town recently, and they stayed at the Opryland Hotel. They invited us over as guests. It was an invitation I happily accepted!
About That Flood
The Nashville flood which occurred May 1-2, 2010 is estimated to have caused more than $2 billion worth of damage throughout Middle Tennessee.
The Gaylord Opryland Hotel had to evacuate approximately 1,500 people from the hotel, because the flood waters reached over a story high.
First Impressions Of The Hotel
I had seen many pictures of the Opryland Hotel and it looks breathtaking just from the photos, but nothing beats viewing this hotel in person!
The first thing we noticed when we walked into the hotel was a large Dale Chihuly art piece in the center of the lobby.
I’m a huge fan and didn’t realize he had a piece on display at the hotel. It was beautiful and it was surrounded by couches so you could sit, relax, and enjoy this wonderful creation.
UPDATE: The folks at @GaylordOpryland contacted us to let us know the “sculpture isn’t actually Chihuly. We had it commissioned to commemorate the flood recovery. It’s called Resurgence.”
We met up with our friends in the lobby, went to their room to drop of stuff off, then we set off to explore.
It felt like we walked around the entire hotel, but I know we didn’t see everything that the Opryland Hotel has to offer.
3 Best Things About The Opryland Hotel
These are my 3 favorite spots in the Opryland Hotel:
#1 – Cascades Atrium
My favorite area of Opryland Hotel is the Cascades Atrium. Talk about a breathtaking view!
It’s very Feng Shui and yet tropical at the same time.
This area is a busy place in the hotel, as people are bustling about trying to get where they need to go. But if you can make time to truly take it all in, it’s very peaceful. There are many bubbling fountains and a waterfall, so the sound of moving water can be heard all along the walkway.
There is an amazing glass ceiling which, during the day, lets in wonderful natural light. When the sun sets, the Cascades area is transformed into a beautifully romantic setting. There are many lamp posts and candles. Plus the fountains are lit. It’s a complete change in ambiance.
There are 2 restaurants in this area:
We took our time walking through this area and wondered what it would be like to stay in one of the rooms. (You can see the many balconies for the rooms that overlook this area.)
#2 – Garden Conservatory
My next favorite place of the hotel is the Garden Conservatory.
It features lush gardens with exotic plants. There is a glass ceiling here too, but it’s round instead of square like the other parts of the hotel.
There is a large gazebo with a bubbling fountain and beautiful floral arrangements. This would be a great wedding spot!
This area also features a “Lion’s Head Fountain” which was very pretty, but it felt like it was hidden and we had to really search for it.
This area is also transformed once the sun sets, but it maintains more of an outdoor garden feel.
#3 – Delta Island
Finally, there is Delta Island.
I’m not much of a shopper, but I didn’t mind exploring the Delta Island shops. They have boutiques, home decor, and even a “necessities” shop if you forget something!
This area has a bit of an Italian feel. It has village type buildings that pose as storefronts with balconies overlooking the shops. At one point, I truly forgot that I was indoors – because it actually felt like we were outside walking store to store.
This area is surrounded by water and offers riverboat rides for an extra fee. They looked fun and relaxing, but we didn’t splurge this time around.
This is also the area where many hotel special events happen. They have an outdoor type amphitheater here. We did stop and enjoy one of the seasonal shows for a few minutes.
Other Fun Things To See & Do
We got hungry while at the hotel and ended up eating at the Fuse Sports Club.
The Fuse is located in the Magnolia area (which we did not explore beyond eating there) and has a somewhat limited menu with bar type food (lots of hot dog variations).
We ended up getting ultimate nachos, soft baked pretzels, wings, and a ”Chix” Burger.
Their soft baked homemade pretzels were absolutely the BEST soft pretzel I have ever had. They served it with spicy mustard and jalapeno cream cheese. It was delicious!
The men were happy to stay and watch some sporting events. This bar has over 100 high-definition TVs!
We had kids with us too, and all they wanted to do was go swimming. We could do this because our friends were staying at the hotel and we were their guests. So we took the kids to the indoor pool located closest to the Cascades area. (There’s more than one indoor pool.)
It was not busy at all — which was a nice break from the busyness of the hotel. There were very nice lounging chairs (very cushioned) that we took advantage of while the kids swam. The pool was heated, but there was also a large jacuzzi right outside that they would go back and forth between. The best thing was the 2 lifeguards that kept watch over our kiddos so we could indeed relax!
The Opryland Hotel is humongous, to say the least. It could take its toll on one’s feet! Luckily, there are a lot of wonderful places to kick back and relax — from the many restaurants and pools, to the state-of-the-art fitness centers and on-site spa.
There is definitely something for everyone at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel.
Before You Go
- Go armed with a map of the Opryland Hotel. You will need it to find your way around!
- Parking can be expensive. It cost us $18 to park for the day. It may be wise to find a place to park off the property, and then walk over.
- There are all sorts of on-site dining options to choose from (casual to fine dining) as well as coffee, cookie and ice cream shops.
- The Opryland Hotel hosts many special events — especially for kids (like the Dreamworks Experience) — so be sure to check the website often.
- There is a lot of off-site entertainment too that the hotel can help you book.
- The Opryland Christmas Light displays are another reason to visit the hotel if you’re in the area after November 1st.
UPDATE #1: Dollywood recently partnered with Gaylord Entertainment to build a family entertainment zone across the street from the Opryland Hotel on a 114-acre parcel of land. It will feature a 50-acre water and snow park. In the summer months the park will have many water rides, then during the winter months it will hold snow activities. It’s the first of its kind in the United States. The new park could open as early as the summer of 2014.
UPDATE #2: CNN is reporting that Dolly Parton has decided not to partner with Gaylord Entertainment to build the new theme park. Dolly said her decision was prompted by “the vote of Gaylord shareholders to sell the Gaylord brand and management rights of several Gaylord properties — including Gaylord Opryland — to Marriott International Inc.”