The Gaylord Opryland Hotel (2800 Opryland Dr., 615/889-1000, $240–310) feels like a cruise ship on land. This 2,881-room luxury hotel and convention center is built around a nine-acre indoor garden. Glass atriums invite sunlight, and miles of footpaths invite you to explore the climate-controlled gardens. Highlights include a 40-foot waterfall and flatboats that float along a river.
Set among the gardens are dozens of different restaurants and cafés, ranging from casual buffets to elegant steakhouses. A few shops are sprinkled in, but it has not yet totally morphed into a mall. Hundreds of room balconies overlook the gardens, providing some guests with views of the well-kept greenery, even in winter. If you stay, choose between a “traditional view” looking outside the hotel, or an “atrium view” for about $60 more per night.
The property has a full-service salon and fitness center, on-site child care and “kid’s resort,” and a car rental agency. You can walk to Opry Mills mall and the Grand Ole Opry from the hotel or take the free shuttle. Guest rooms are luxurious and feature coffee- and tea-makers; two telephones; wireless Internet access; pay-per-view movies, games, and music; daily national newspapers; and other usual amenities. You can add a refrigerator for a one-time $20 fee, and you get up to 20 minutes of local calls free per day. Guests can buy one-time or daily passes on the downtown shuttle for about $15 a day, and the airport shuttle costs $35 round-trip.
While room rates at the Opryland are steep, the hotel offers attractive packages that add on other Gaylord-owned attractions and properties. These often include tickets to the Grand Ole Opry, a ride on the General Jackson Showboat, trips into Nashville to visit the Ryman Auditorium or the Wildhorse Saloon, and extras like spa visits and golf games at the hotel. Many of these packages are a good deal for travelers who want to pay one price for their whole vacation.
© Susanna Henighan Potter from Moon Tennessee, 5th Edition