Opryland Hotel is just a little over 40 years old but it has packed a lot of history into those years. It opened in 1977 with 600 guest rooms and in just six years needed a major addition to accommodate the throngs of guests looking to visit its adjourning Opryland Theme Park and Grand Old Opry. In 1983 it added 467 additional rooms and its first signature atrium, The Garden Conservancy.
When it expanded again in 1996, it was the largest construction project in Nashville history at the time. Today, the hotel has 2,881 rooms and its Delta Atrium is reminiscent of the Louisiana bayou county with the convenience of New Orleans restraints thrown in for good measure. It is the largest non-casino hotel in the world. Guests can ride a “Delta Flatboat” through a guided tour of the atrium via the “Delta River” which had samples from more than 6,000 rivers throughout the world including every registered river in the United States poured into it at the christening ceremony.
When I stayed there my balcony overlooked the Delta and it was all I could do to tear myself away from the window. I did leave my curtains open all the time so I could enjoy the view.
Although the hotel’s official name is now Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center, no one ever refers to it as anything but the Opryland Hotel.
Walking about the ground of the Opryland is like being in a small city. It even has a radio station. Historic WSM Nashville the voice of the Grand Old Opry is in the lobby. You can stand and look at eh DJ’s through the glass window as they play music, country of course.
My favorite place to stroll in the hotel is in the glass-enclosed atriums. You can walk amid the 50,000 tropical plants and cascading waterfalls and envision a tropical rainforest, a rainforest with convenient restaurants and lounges.
Opryland Hotel is said to be haunted by the ghost of a “Mrs. McGavock.” Several employees and guests claim they have seen her walking around the hotel. Opryland Hotel is one of the most luxurious hotels in the Volunteer State and is the last place one would think of as being haunted, so it’s strange indeed to hear such tales.
In years gone by, I remember parking free at the Opryland Hotel and riding the shuttle bus to Opryland Theme Park the Grand Old Opry. Now the tables are turned, Parking at the hotel is $20 per day and Opryland Theme Park is no more. It is replaced by Opry Mills, a “shoppertainment” mall where shopping and live entertainment. Here you can watch a craftsman build a Gibson Guitar or browse Outdoor World’s interactive exhibits. Of course they have entertainment. Now the trick is to park free at the Opry Mills lot and ride the shuttle over to the hotel.
Provided by American Roads Travel Magazine