The quirky and fun southwest Tennessee city is known for being the birthplace of Blues and rock ‘n’ Roll and having strong connections to gospel, jazz, R&B, rap, and soul. If you’re thinking of staying in this wonderfully quirky city there are plenty of choices that reflect its awesome vibe. From gorgeous, intimate boutiques to grand and lavish accommodations, here are my favorite cool and unusual hotels in Memphis, Tennessee...
Big Cypress Lodge
I entered a world teeming with eccentricity at Big Cypress Lodge, nestled beside the Wolf River Harbor along the Mississippi River. The lodge, housed within a colossal pyramid, offered a surreal vista of waterparks, shops, eateries, and entertainment.
Inside, the atmosphere was a blend of rustic charm and wilderness extravagance. The rooms and suites exuded a pioneer-style ambiance, adorned with indigenous patterns, rich wooden panels, and sturdy furnishings—perhaps hewn from the cypress trees that once stood on this spot.
The centerpiece was an awe-inspiring sight: a massive glass elevator traversing the heart of the pyramid. Venturing skyward led to a bar boasting breathtaking views, complemented by the expected amenities like a spa and even a pistol range. From the trophy-studded walls to the daring glass elevator ride, the lodge embodied an unparalleled, offbeat, and endlessly shareable experience that left an indelible mark.
One of my favorite places was the unique indoor wildlife swamp experience—a surreal immersion in nature’s heart within a colossal pyramid.
Unique striking interiors and private hot tubs
Ocean-themed 13 Lane Bowling Alley
Hand-furnished lodge-inspired rooms
Unique indoor wildlife swamp experience
Crowded during events
Staying at the MOXY Memphis Downtown was a blast. Its location on Main Street, with an outside tram stop, made exploring Memphis a breeze. It was the perfect crash pad, surrounded by parks and close to iconic spots like FedEx Forum and Beale Street District. The hotel’s contemporary yet clever design impressed me. The rooms were simple yet funky, maximizing every inch smartly.
What stood out was the 24-hour bar serving snacks, but the real charm was in stepping out to soak up the city’s vibe and then returning to recharge for the next adventure. MOXY nailed the art of being effortlessly cool.
My favorite aspect was the 24-hour bar serving snacks—a perfect spot to soak up the city’s vibe and recharge.
Free welcome drink with snack bar
Free board games and puzzles
Close to Mud Island River Park
Themed rooms with a funky vibe
Some rooms can be small
Slight parking issues
The Guest House at Graceland
At Graceland in Memphis, I immersed myself in Elvis Presley’s legacy. The Guest House, boasting 450 rooms, reflects the extravagant 1970s style, offering charming rooms and exquisitely designed suites. It’s more than just a hotel; it’s a destination.
I adored its variety – two restaurants, lively bars, a cozy coffee shop, and even its own cinema and sound stage. The entertainment options were diverse, not limited to Elvis-themed shows; there was a vibrant lineup of arts and music throughout the year. What truly stands out is the sheer uniqueness of the experience. There’s only one Graceland globally, and being here in Memphis felt like stepping into its own realm.
Throughout my stay, the variety of entertainment options stood out—the vibrant lineup of arts and music truly made it a destination.
Perfect for music fans with a vibrant vibe
Weekly fun Karaoke nights
Theater for live performance
Delicious Southern cuisines and Tennessee whiskey
Inconsistent service quality reported
No-smoking hotel rooms
ARRIVE Memphis became one of my favorite places the moment I arrived. Its Main Street location was perfect—just a few steps from the tram stop, striking the right balance between downtown excitement and the tranquility of the historic quarter.
Nestled only yards away from the Riverwalk at Butler Park, the hotel’s transformation of an old commercial space into a stunning haven amazed me. Inside, the fusion of vibrant furnishings and clever design within rooms and studios was a sight to behold. Surprisingly mismatched furniture and fabrics came together flawlessly, evoking an air of cozy, unassuming luxury.
What truly stood out were the vibrant, quirky spaces within the hotel—an eclectic café, a charming coffee shop, a chic cocktail bar, and a nostalgic pub. Each felt like a labor of love, exuding a unique personality that added to the hotel’s charm.
One of my favorite aspects was the vibrant, quirky spaces within the hotel—a labor of love that added charm to the experience.
Daily cooked-to-order breakfast available
Poker room modeled after Elvis Presley’s billiard room
Gastro Pubs and shuffle-board bars
Japanese and Gochujang-flavored sandwiches
Rollaway beds not available
Parking is tricky
At the heart of it all lies Hu. Hotel, nestled by the Mississippi River, just a stroll away from Beale Street—an absolute paradise for blues enthusiasts, theater buffs, and anyone captivated by this vibrant, melodic city. Hu. The hotel pays homage to Hugh Lawson White Brinkley, an esteemed 19th-century philanthropist, through its revamped 1905 Beaux Arts building, beautifully reimagined by the skillful hands of Brooklyn-based designers, HOME Studio. The result? A pure vintage opulence.
Entering, you’re greeted by an ambiance of old-school luxury enveloping the lobby and guest rooms while floor-to-ceiling windows bathe the spaces in natural light and offer mesmerizing water views. The rooms and suites, boasting plush headboards, calming neutral décor, and breathtaking river vistas, become a serene sanctuary—a tranquil escape within the city’s bustle.
Don’t miss the Hu. Rooftop bar—a spot for unforgettable moments. Sip on expertly crafted cocktails, relish delectable snacks, and soak in the panoramic views—gaze upon the Mississippi River, the Hernando DeSoto Bridge, and the cityscape.
While visiting, the Hu Rooftop bar became my personal favorite—the panoramic views of the Mississippi River were unforgettable.
Rooftop bar with beautiful Mississippi River views
Old-school luxury with modern charm
4-min walk from Mcewen's On Monroe
Daily morning meal buffet
Rollaway beds not available
Parking is tricky
I adore The Memphian! Nestled near Overton Square and the lively theatres of Midtown, it’s a gem fashioned in the grand Art Deco American city style. The interior’s ingenious layout with modern, top-notch furnishings and vibrant colors immediately captivates me. The quirky details sprinkled throughout truly infuse a sense of joy and artistic flair.
The guest rooms and suites? Utterly captivating, boasting an undeniable panache. And let’s talk about the dining – a fantastic restaurant awaits alongside an upscale rooftop bar offering breathtaking panoramic views. Oh, and not to forget the fitness center – a perfect blend of convenience and wellness.
Beyond the hotel’s confines lies a vibrant community of artists and performers, charming shops and dining spots, and the enchanting Overton Park. A mere 10-minute taxi ride lands you in Downtown, ready to delve deeper into the city’s offerings. This place truly has it all!
My personal favorite? The elegant rooftop cocktail bar—a perfect blend of grand art deco style and stunning views.
Grand art deco American city style
Elegant rooftop cocktail bar with wide views
Fresh American breakfast in giant portions
No swimming pool
Rooms don’t have microwaves
Canopy by Hilton Downtown
I stayed at the Canopy by Hilton hotel in the heart of Downtown, steps away from Main Street, Autozone Baseball Park, and a short walk from the FedEx Forum Arena. The rooms were spacious and bright, adorned with chic furnishings that beautifully captured Memphis’s artistic vibe. The hotel boasted a fantastic restaurant bar serving a fusion of Spanish, Italian, and American cuisine, complemented by a cozy fitness center to keep active.
Venturing outside led to vibrant streets teeming with local flavors, the lively entertainment of Beale Street and Mud Island, and the captivating museums and galleries sprinkled throughout Downtown. It’s an honest-to-goodness gem of a hotel set in an unbeatable location.
One of my favorite places was the vibrant streets outside—a true gem in an unbeatable location.
Ultra-modern layout with cozy vibes
Rooftop dining with city views
Short walk to the famous Beale Street
Only valet parking for extra charges
Slightly noisy at night time
Hyatt Centric Beale Street
While visiting Memphis, I stayed at the Hyatt Centric, nestled close to the banks of the Mississippi River, right at the western end of Beale Street. This spot is buzzing with blues clubs, eateries, and the renowned Memphis May Festival, making it one of my favorite places.
The hotel’s location was perfect for me – I could stroll along the tranquil Riverwalk or immerse myself in the vibrant entertainment steps away. The rooms and suites were beautifully designed, and I was lucky to snag one with breathtaking river views by opting for a corner suite. The hotel ingeniously converted old warehouse areas into chic function rooms if you need a larger space.
On the ground floor, there’s a fantastic restaurant with a charming bar, an inviting outdoor terrace, a cozy plunge pool, and a delightful garden area. But the highlight of my evenings was the rooftop bar – spacious, stunning, and offering an incredible view of the sunset painting the river. The hotel’s design struck a perfect balance – thoughtful without overwhelming, making my stay an experience I truly loved.
While visiting, the rooftop bar’s incredible sunset view made it my favorite spot.
Sweeping views of the Memphis skyline
A spacious rooftop bar to sip bourbon
Walk away from Gus’s World famous fried chicken
Internet only available in public areas
Extra charges for pets
At The Peabody in Memphis, I entered a historic grand hotel dating back to 1869, rich with traditions and quirks. The high ceilings and marble pillars in the public areas exuded an old-world charm, complete with uncomfortable yet regal chairs, urging me to sit upright during high tea. The grandeur continued with heavy carpets, imposing chandeliers, and a magnificent lobby fountain.
Every morning since 1933, a delightful ritual unfolded before me: a family of mallard ducks paraded through the lobby to frolic in the fountain. Come evening, they retreated to their cozy abode, away from the bustling kitchens. This charming spectacle inspired the ubiquitous Peabody Duck branding, adorning butter pats and playfully bobbing in cocktails.
The hotel was refurbished in 1975, adorning its rooms with heavy wood furnishings reminiscent of the era. Yet, while the public spaces dazzled, I found the guest rooms slightly confined, creating a peculiar contrast.
One of my favorite aspects was the delightful ritual of the duck march—an endearing tradition in a historically rich hotel.
Enjoy historical charm with luxury vibes
Experience the duck march and hotel history tour
Beautiful Duck Palace and Memorabilia room
Bar makes delicious Manhattan drinks
Can get booked up
The Central Station
Central Station Hotel in Memphis is a gem right by the railway station, which doubles as a connection hub to Downtown. This historical landmark, erected in 1914 during the peak of railway travel, had lost its luster as train journeys waned. However, a rejuvenating transformation in the early 2000s breathed new life into this charming relic.
I was immersed in a lively atmosphere during my stay at this reinvigorated establishment. It’s not just a hotel; it’s a hub for music enthusiasts. Their listening room, complete with daily curated playlists and podcasts and a collection of 3,500 vinyl albums displayed on a striking record wall, captivated my senses. The presence of an in-house DJ and room speakers transmitting the soulful tunes added to the vibrant ambiance.
The rooms and suites, adorned with modern and cozy furnishings, provided a comfortable retreat. The unassuming yet quality decor complemented the hotel’s overall charm. Moreover, the ground floor boasts an exceptional bar and a delightful French restaurant, perfect for indulging in exquisite cuisine.
Hilton’s remarkable efforts in revitalizing this once-forgotten building into a haven for Memphis music fans are commendable. They’ve masterfully preserved the rich traditions of this musical city, making Central Station Hotel one of my favorite places to stay.
My favorite aspect was the listening room with curated playlists—a haven for music enthusiasts within a charming relic.
Retro vibe with stylish interior
Home to blues clubs and regular DJ nights
Outdoor terrace and small plunge-pool
Paid self/valet parking
Rollaway beds not available
Hotel Indigo Downtown
I found this gem perched atop a multi-story car park. Despite its exterior, it’s a cozy, well-designed haven. A central courtyard holds a spacious open-air pool – a rarity in Memphis.
The vibe feels more like an out-of-town motel than a city-center spot. Each of the 118 rooms and communal areas in Hotel Indigo Memphis Downtown boasts vibrant colors adorned with local art and memorabilia celebrating blues, rock, and soul legends.
Surprisingly, this hotel dates back to 1963 yet retains its retro charm authentically. There’s a seasonal restaurant and cocktail lounge on the ground level, a perfect gateway to the heart of Memphis. They’ve nailed it here.
One of my favorite places was the spacious open-air pool—a cozy haven atop a multi-story car park.
Hip retro vibes
Comfortable chaise lounge chairs to relax
Indoor and outdoor pool
Mud Island River Park nearby
Parking is extra
Breakfast isn’t included
One of my favorite places is this impressive building near Beale Street, AutoZone Park, and other central attractions. Built in 1902, its high ceilings and intricate exterior details hint at a remarkable past. However, inside, I was disappointed to find a lackluster attempt at a contemporary look with a pervasive use of white and grey.
The rooms, while comfortable, were a bit smaller than expected for such a grand hotel. They could use an update to infuse some vibrancy and break away from the monotonous grey palette.
While staying at this spot, I explored the bar-restaurant on the ground floor, but with its incredible location, I easily found better dining options in the nearby streets.
While staying, I explored the bar-restaurant on the ground floor, but its incredible location easily led me to better dining options nearby.
Ultra-modern chic look with a classic interior
Next to the Redbirds Baseball Stadium
Spacious rooms with refrigerators
Fitness center with Gym available
Paid private parking on-site
In the tallest building in Memphis, I stayed at the Hilton Memphis. The interiors felt spacious and bright, adorned with sleek modern decor. Rustic elements like reclaimed barn wood doors added a touch of charm to the luxurious 5-star ambiance.
The calming hues of white, beige, and grey and soft lighting created a cozy atmosphere. The ergonomic workspaces and windows offering views of the garden and city ensured a comfortable stay—perfect for relaxation and productivity.
Surrounded by various dining options, I enjoyed breakfast and dinner at Ridgelake restaurant and indulged in martinis and other beverages at the Lobby Bar. The Provisions Market, stocked with Starbucks coffee and snacks, was convenient. Additionally, the super gym and outdoor swimming pool were delightful amenities.
The hotel’s location near the I-240 loop proved handy for accessing shopping areas and major Memphis attractions such as Beale Street, Graceland, and the FedEx Forum. It made exploring the city incredibly convenient.
During my stay, the calming hues and soft lighting created a cozy atmosphere—an ideal blend of relaxation and productivity.
Chic Scandinavian vibes with opulence
Freshly-made classic American breakfast
Outdoor fountain and swimming pool
Service is a bit slow
River Inn of Harbor Town
The River Inn of Harbor Town is one of my favorite places if you’re seeking something different. Nestled just beyond Downtown, the Harbor Town neighborhood feels quaint and secluded, offering a break from the city’s hustle.
This boutique hotel boasts various rooms and suites, offering breathtaking river views. The colonial-style decor, complete with four-poster beds and expansive windows, perfectly complements the charm of the building and its surroundings.
What makes this place even more special are the three onsite restaurants. Among them, the Terrace at River Inn stands out, especially during the summer when its vast windows open to create a refreshing rooftop setting. It’s an experience set in a lovely location.
This boutique hotel’s charm lies in its colonial-style decor and breathtaking river views—an experience in a quaint, secluded neighborhood.
Can get booked up
Style might not be for everyone
The Westin Beale Street
While visiting Memphis, the Beale Street location became one of my favorite places, immersing me in the city’s vibrant energy. The Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum and the FedEx Forum were just steps away, making exploration effortless.
I loved how natural light flooded the interiors through expansive windows, creating a serene ambiance complemented by modern design elements. It was the perfect retreat for my Memphis adventures.
My stay offered spacious rooms and suites adorned with calming, neutral décor, luxurious bedding, and all the comforts I needed—an inviting workstation, complimentary Starbucks coffee, a flat-screen TV, and captivating views of the river, bridge, and city skyline.
Experiencing southern cooking at Penny’s Nitty Gritty, helmed by Chef Elizabeth Rodgers, was a highlight. The fresh local ingredients elevated comfort food to new heights. Additionally, the Starbucks, with its outdoor patio and a well-equipped fitness center, added convenience and relaxation to my stay.
Complimentary Starbucks coffee
Enjoy picturesque views of the bustling city
A hip bar serving a variety of seafood
Upscale seafood lounge
Service can be slow
Pets allowed for extra charges
Best Hotels in Memphis Compared
Here is a comparison of the top 15 cool and unusual hotels in Memphis in 2023. The table provides comprehensive details about the hotel’s location, fitness facilities, price range, distance to attractions, and nearby dining options, allowing you the freedom to organize it based on your own preferences:
|Hotel Name||Location||Price Range (per night)||Fitness Facilities||Distance to Attractions (km)||Nearby Restairants|
|Big Cypress Lodge||1 Bass Pro Drive||$259-$279||Yes||1.9||3|
|MOXY Downtown||40 North Front Street||$154-$199||Yes||1.4||3|
|The Guest House at Graceland||3600 Elvis Presley Boulevard||$188-$229||No||9.0||3|
|ARRIVE||477 S. Main St||$155-$330||No||1.7||3|
|Hu Hotel||79 Madison Avenue||$134-$188||Yes||1.2||3|
|The Memphian||21 South Cooper Street||$229-$274||No||4.3||3|
|Canopy by Hilton Downtown||164 Union Avenue||$195-$374||Yes||1.1||3|
|Hyatt Centric Beale Street||33 Beale St||$189-$404||Yes||1.1||3|
|The Peabody||149 Union Avenue||$249-$300||Yes||1.0||3|
|The Central Station||545 South Main||$149-$422||Yes||1.7||3|
|Hotel Indigo Downtown||22 North B.B. King Boulevard||$149-$194||Yes||1.3||3|
|Hotel Napoleon||179 Madison Avenue||$178-$327||Yes||1.2||3|
|Hilton||939 Ridge Lake Boulevard||$168-$204||Yes||10.0||3|
|River Inn of Harbor Town||50 Harbor Town Square||$305-$362||Yes||2.4||3|
|The Westin Beale Street||170 Lt. George W. Lee Avenue||$222-$267||Yes||1.3||2|
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Gary Nunn – Videographer, photographer and writer
Gary is an award winning full time professional photographer and videographer with too much wanderlust for his own good. Fueled by strong coffee, you’ll often find him wandering well off hiking trails in search of interesting photographic subjects or scenery to video. Self taught and with the use of pioneering digital techniques, he quickly built up a strong client base and has worked with many prestigious organizations, including GQ, BBC, London Fashion Week, Grazia, Sky, Metro, Vogue Italia. He specializing in evocative images of people, places and cinematic videography and his goal is to make the viewer look twice and engage. As well as a penchant for good design, travel, starting up new businesses, the ketogenic diet and Hungarian Vizslas, he also has a huge affection for Chicago, Bucharest, Scandinavia, Croatia and absolutely everywhere in Italy. Find Gary on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube or his Website.