Sweet Dreams

By Mary Ann DeSantis | Photography: Guest House lobby photos provided by The Guest House; Gaylord Opryland photos by Mary Ann DeSantis; Guitar Tower photos provided by Seminole Hard Rock Resort/Hollywood.

Lost Key Bar at Margaritaville Resort

Sweet dreams are made in these musically inspired hotels where tributes to your favorite artists permeate the properties from the guest rooms to restaurants and even in the swimming pools.

Music triggers rich memories and influences our moods. Hotel developers picked up on this phenomenon years ago and created musically inspired hotels that hit the high notes with travelers. But these hotels are not just for sleepy heads; they are luxurious resorts with rock-star amenities to keep you entertained throughout your stay.
Chances are that you won’t see your favorite performer lounging by the pool, because most of these resorts are owned by corporate conglomerates or are franchises under a holding company. Nevertheless, the following properties certainly pay homage to their namesakes or musical genres and strike the right chords for guests who need to brighten their moods with a getaway.

The Guest House at Graceland
Memphis, Tennessee
guesthousegraceland.com
It’s a long way from the heartbreak hotel to The Guest House, a 450-room luxury resort that opened in 2016 adjacent to the Graceland mansion. There are nods to Elvis Presley everywhere: curved, high-backed sofas in the lobby are meant to mimic the collars on some of Elvis’ capes, and the heart-shaped outdoor firepit is called “Burning Love.”
The gabled entrance and grand staircase are large-scale replicas of those at Graceland, the home Elvis bought in 1957. And best of all is the nonstop soundtrack of Elvis songs playing in the lobby and public areas to get guests in the mood for their Elvis Presley’s Memphis experience just across the street.
Inspired by the “make-yourself-at-home” warmth that Elvis always showed his guests, The Guest House has a touch of elegance along with a dash of rock ‘n’ roll. Priscilla Presley supervised the design to reflect Elvis’ persona and style. My deluxe room featured a beautiful painting of Elvis that seemed lifelike in the evening light. The TCB (Taking Care of Business Suites) feature living and dining room areas while the King’s Suites offer the ultimate in rock ‘n’ roll living with two-bedrooms plus a living room, dining room, kitchen and bar area. These two specialty suites are styled with luxurious colors and extravagant furnishings.
The Guest House has two restaurants onsite: Delta’s Kitchen, which features classic Southern cooking, and EP’s Bar & Grille, which features some of Elvis’ favorite dishes.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I decided to stay overnight at The Guest House. Quite honestly, I was afraid I’d find lots of kitschy memorabilia. Instead, I found tasteful décor and an archive of cultural history that spanned my lifetime. I just couldn’t help falling in love again with the King.

Margaritaville Resort
Biloxi, Mississippi
margaritavilleresortbiloxi.com
Grab a license to chill at this family friendly resort on Mississippi’s Gulf Coast, one of 18 Margaritaville Resorts with 24 more lodging locations in the pipeline. Pensacola Beach, Florida, was the site of the first Margaritaville Resort Hotel, which opened in 2010, and the franchise has come a long way since then with more amenities and larger properties. And they are all unique.
“Each one is owned and operated separately and each one is different,” explains Ann Carter Tate, director of public and media relations for Margaritaville Biloxi. “We have to adhere to the corporate standards for the brand.”
Margaritaville is indeed a brand and Jimmy Buffett’s company owns the name, but Biloxi Lodging owns the resort. That’s not to say the Mississippi-born Buffett hasn’t checked out the resort in the town where he played his first professional gig. After the Biloxi property opened as a resort in 2016, Buffett visited and even took videos in the 55,000-square-foot Escape Family Entertainment Center for his son.
“We were definitely the first Margaritaville to have an arcade specifically for kids,” says Tate.
The model has been so successful that Margaritaville Resort Vicksburg ditched plans for a casino and instead opened a family resort overlooking the Mississippi River last May. Margaritaville Resort Gatlinburg focuses on outdoor adventures and its prime location near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. USA Today readers recently voted Margaritaville Gatlinburg as the No. 1 Best New Hotel in 2019.
But if it’s the beach vibe and bare-foot elegance you want, Margaritaville Resort Biloxi is the place to change your latitude and your attitude. While the beach is nearby, you may not make it off the unique rooftop water playground with its 450-foot lazy river, lounge pool, a water ropes course and gigantic slides. And when it’s 5 o’clock somewhere, parents can visit the swim-up bar for hand-crafted cocktails. Future plans include the country’s first AEROBAR, where guests will strap in and ascend 115 feet in the air – along with a bartender, of course – for a real change in altitude.

Gaylord Opryland Hotel
Nashville, Tennessee
gaylordhotelsnews.com/WelcomeToGaylordOpryland
When I first visited the Gaylord Opryland Resort years ago for a convention, I wondered how I’d ever find my way around the mammoth property. Now owned by Marriott, the resort has kept pace with the 21st century by offering a mobile app to help guests navigate around the resort. After all, the hotel is a small city in itself with nine acres of indoor gardens, 12 restaurants, and more than 2,800 guest rooms.
While the hotel, which honors Nashville’s musical heritage, is known as a major convention magnet most of the year, it has also transformed into a kid-friendly resort, especially during the summer. The annual SummerFest, which runs through Sept. 2, features an all-new Smurfs theme. Special events also include a Junior Chefs Camp on Sundays where aspiring young cooks can learn from Opryland’s award-winning chefs, and Guitar Build Workshops on Fridays where guests of all ages can learn how to make a hand-built guitar.
Opryland Resort’s newest attraction, however, is making the most waves. The exclusive SoundWaves fuses water and music to create a unique experience. The four-acre facility opened last year with 111,000 square-feet of indoor space followed by another 106,000 square-feet of outdoor water amenities in May.
“There’s nothing like this in the U.S.,” says Rob Regg, marketing manager for Gaylord Opryland. “Convention attendees often bring their families and this will be perfect to keep them entertained.”
Ideal for all ages, SoundWaves has several recreation zones and thrilling activities such as a multi-slide tower, FlowRider® Double indoor surfing, rapid and lazy rivers, and an activity pool with rock climbing. Adult guests also have exclusive access to an adult-only bar and infinity pool that overlooks the facility, perfect for parents with tweens or teens.
With so much onsite entertainment, it might be easy to overlook the nearby Grand Ole Opry House, which moved in 1974 from the historic Ryman Auditorium to the current location near the resort. The Opry is an experience that shouldn’t be missed when in Music City. After all, Opryland wouldn’t exist without the its namesake Grand Ole Opry, which made country music famous.
But if it’s the beach vibe and bare-foot elegance you want, Margaritaville Resort Biloxi is the place to change your latitude and your attitude. While the beach is nearby, you may not make it off the unique rooftop water playground with its 450-foot lazy river, lounge pool, a water ropes course and gigantic slides. And when it’s 5 o’clock somewhere, parents can visit the swim-up bar for hand-crafted cocktails. Future plans include the country’s first AEROBAR, where guests will strap in and ascend 115 feet in the air – along with a bartender, of course – for a real change in altitude.

Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
Hollywood, Florida
seminolehardrockhollywood.com
The Hard Rock brand has been synonymous with all things rock ‘n’ roll since the first café opened in 1971 in London. From restaurants to casinos and luxurious hotels, Hard Rock is the granddaddy for creating memorable experiences surrounded by authentic rock memorabilia. People are still talking about its 80,000th acquisition: Elvis Presley’s 24-karat gold leaf piano.
And now, they are talking about something else: the iconic Guitar Hotel at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida. Instead of overnighting in a regular hotel, you can stay in a tower shaped like a guitar come October 24, the day the architectural marvel opens.
The 35-story Guitar Hotel with its 638 luxury guestrooms and suites has already changed the city’s skyline. Designed to resemble back-to-back guitars, complete with guitar faces and brightly lit strings, this engineering masterpiece reaches 450 feet into the sky, outfitted with floor-to-ceiling glass panes.
The $1.5 billion Hard Rock property in Hollywood, Florida, is part of a larger project – a $2.2 billion project expanding two Florida Hard Rock Hotels & Casinos (the other is in Tampa). Both the Hollywood and Tampa locations of the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino are run by the Seminole Tribe. The AAA Four-Diamond rated resorts are as glitzy and glamorous as the traditional Hard Rock properties around the world.
Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood is home to some of music’s most iconic memorabilia, including pieces from Michael Jackson, Prince, Katy Perry and Beyoncé. But if you are looking for Elvis’ gold piano, you won’t find it in Hollywood but rather in the newly redesigned grand entrance of the Tampa location.

Read More in DeSoto Magazine online.