When I ventured off to the Blissdom conference at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center last week in Nashville, I was fully aware that I was going to be staying in a legendary hotel. I knew that the hotel had been host to so many celebrities and is a Nashville landmark. What I didn’t expect was its huge fountains, tropical foliage positioned throughout the hotel, winding rivers, waterfalls, bridges and gazebos positioned throughout the hotel. It is truly colossal, and quite a spectacle…but I mean that positively. I can understand why a conference organizer would choose Gaylord Opryland to host their event. It can accommodate large amounts of people (it attracts thousands of spectators daily) easily and has so much to offer its guests. There are various conference rooms and restaurants sprinkled throughout the hotel. It’s akin to being on a cruise ship or resort (it reminded me of ones I had been to in places like Cancun); one never has to leave the premises. There is even a nightclub called Fuse, where you can dance the night away after a hard day at meetings or sight-seeing. But the beauty of the hotel is that it really offers a bit of Nashville with its southern hospitality and glitz. It’s just what I wanted out of my Nashville experience.
You have to remember that it was less than one year ago since Nashville suffered the traumatic floods. The Gaylord Opryland Resort was hit hard, and the renovations started in May of last year and took 180 days, costing $1 million a day. The hotel is glistening. It’s shiny and hard to believe that they managed to reopen it in November of last year after only six months of hard work. 80% of the staff they had to let go is back, and remnants of the flood remain on the hotel’s tropical trees and outside walls. On the anniversary of last year’s re-opening on November 13th this year, they are going to invite back all the people who were staying at the hotel at the time of the flood. It’s a very warm environment, and the staff’s love for the hotel is real.
When I first arrived, I walked from the lobby through the atrium, which is called the Cascade Conservatory,and involves long, windy paths, lots of foliage, gazebo bars and waterfalls. I was memorized, there was so much to look at. Then I wandered into the Magnolia part of the hotel to get to my room, which is more quaint, decked out with very southern decor. My room was in that section, as was my conference. I had to walk up a classic staircase to get to my meetings.
I checked out the hotel’s spa, Relache, which provides a wide array of salon and fitness services. They offer pedicures, facials, and body massages. There is also an indoor pool, outdoor pools and a fitness center with state-of-the-art equipment.
I was in a standard guest room, which I found comfortable and convenient with proximity to all my meetings. Rooms with atrium views cost extra. The hotel is a place you never have to leave so there are shops and restaurants scattered throughout. Most of the restaurants cater to business travelers, so they are on the pricey side (I’d skip the sushi if I were you), but there is a hamburger joint and Findley’s, an Irish pub, with good-quality affordable fares. Upscale choices include a steak restaurant and Ravello, a lovely Italian restaurant (with yummy cocktails). The Gaylord Opryland Resort recently began charging overnight hotel guests an additional $10 per day resort fee, which includes two H20 bottles a day and free Wi-Fi, so I was sure to drink the bottles of water in my room. Valet parking is also free for guests, which is a nice perk.
I didn’t have my kids with me on this trip, but I am sure they would love running around the large hotel. I did inquire about daycare, and they do offer it off premises. They have a game/video room and my kids would love swimming in their many pools. Suites have a kitchen, which would be useful traveling with kids, so I’d love to return with them in tow. Opryland builds a new section every year, so there will always be something to see.
Here are photos from my hotel tour. For more information about the hotel, prices and availability, please visit their web site.