Cool and unusual hotels in Memphis

Top 12 Cool and Unusual Hotels in Memphis 2022

The quirky and fun southwest Tennessee city is known for being the birthplace of Blues, Rock ‘n’ Roll as well as having strong connections to gospel, jazz, R&B, rap and soul. Home to world-famous attractions such as Elvis Presley’s Graceland and an incredible live music scene (every night of the week), the city is a hub of creativity, culture/museums, entertainment, and dining. 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 accommodation, here are our most cool and unusual hotels in Memphis, Tennessee…

1. Big Cypress Lodge – a unique rustic-chic themed hotel located within the iconic Memphis Pyramid

Trendy hotels in Memphis

Unique hotels in Memphis

When it comes to quirky, Big Cypress Lodge, next to Wolf River Harbor on the banks of the Mississippi River, appears to have taken a significant overdose. Suspended inside the roof of an enormous pyramid looking down on a central atrium of waterparks, shopping, restaurants and leisure activities, it appears to be constructed purely of chunky wood and stuffed with hunting trophies.

Rooms and suites are decked out in a pioneer-style mix of native patterns intertwined with swathes of wood panelling and hefty furniture – presumably made from the big cypress trees chopped down before plonking a massive glass pyramid on the site. There’s a giant glass elevator (not for the faint-hearted) running through the centre of the pyramid to a bar with amazing views in the pinnacle and all the other amenities you’d expect including a spa and pistol range. All-in-all, a gobsmacking example of an unusual, Instagrammable, and simply unforgettable experience.

2. MOXY Memphis Downtown – a fun, funky and Instgrammable hotel perfect for Millennials and Gen Zs

Fun hotel in Memphis

Hip hotels in Memphis

Party hotel in Memphis

Located on the pedestrianised Main Street, serviced by a tram-stop right outside and surrounded by a few parks, the MOXY Memphis Downtown is a perfect, simple crash-pad for exploring the best of Memphis with FedEx Forum, Autozone Park, Orpheum Theatre and the Beale Street District just a short distance.

It’s simply and cleverly furnished in a contemporary style to make the best use of space with a few funky tweaks. There’s a good little 24-hour bar that does snacks, but the emphasis here is to get out and enjoy what the surrounding streets have to offer, then come back to sleep and refresh for tomorrow. MOXY does cool perfectly.

3. The Guest House at Graceland – a Graceland-inspired complex perfect for Instagrammers

Graceland Hotel in Memphis Themed hotel in Memphis

On the southern side of Memphis in the Hickory Hills is Graceland, once home to Elvis Presley, now a museum complex and world-famous destination themed around the famous singer. The Guest House at Graceland resort is a huge 450-room hotel servicing the site with a choice of pleasant rooms and beautifully styled suites in over-the-top 1970s glam.

It has two restaurants, bars, a coffee shop and its own cinema and sound stage with live music and entertainment shows all year round – and not just Elvis shows, there’s a full programme of arts and music. If you want an unusual, unique experience there is only one Graceland in the world and it’s right here in Memphis.

ARRIVE Memphis – a hip hotel in a redbrick building vibrant South Main Arts District

Chic boutique hotels in Memphis

Boutique hotels in Memphis

Best places to stay in Memphis

At the southern end of Main Street, literally a few strides from a tram stop, is ARRIVE Memphis. Perfectly located close enough to the fun of Downtown, but far enough away to enjoy the tranquillity of this more historic quarter. Just two hundred yards from the Riverwalk at Butler Park and surrounded by small bars and businesses, this small hotel is jaw-droppingly styled inside an old commercial property, using a dense, quirky mix of fabulous furnishings and cunning design.

Rooms and studios are filled with colour and joy – choice pieces of furniture and fabrics that should never be placed together work brilliantly here, creating a feel of comfortable unpretentious luxury. There’s an equally quirky café on site, a coffee shop, cocktail bar and retro pub all seemingly created with passion.

The Memphian, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel – a chic and trendy midtown boutique hotel

The Memphian, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel

Design hotel in Memphis

Close to Overton Square and the theatres in Midtown is The Memphian, an imposing new hotel built in the grand art deco American city style. Inside it’s very cleverly designed using quality modern furnishings and striking colours with plenty of eccentric details to add a feeling of fun and art.

The guest rooms and suites are especially striking with a real sense of flair. There’s a good restaurant, elegant rooftop cocktail bar with stunning wide views, and fitness centre. Outside there’s a small buzzing community of artists and performers, with plenty of shops and restaurants and the beautiful Overton Park, or just a 10-minute taxi into Downtown when you’re ready to explore further afield.

Canopy by Hilton Memphis Downtown – a trendy and modern upscale hotel close to iconic music attractions

Luxury hotels in Memphis

Funky hotel in Memphis

Centrally located Downtown close to Main Street, a ball’s throw from Autozone Baseball Park and less than half a mile from the FedEx Forum Arena, is the good-looking Canopy by Hilton hotel. Big, bright guestrooms are tastefully furnished with clean lines, fresh tones and the occasional nod to the art and music that makes Memphis famous.

There’s a very good restaurant-bar on-site with a mixed Spanish, Italian, American menu and a small fitness centre. Beyond the walls are streets and boulevards buzzing with local cuisine, the entertainment on Beale Street and Mud Island, and the museums and galleries of Downtown. A good, honest hotel in a great location.

Hyatt Centric Beale Street Memphis – an upscale hotel once named “Best New Hotel” 

Best hotels in Memphis

Hyatt Centric Beale Street Memphis

Close to the banks of the Mississippi River at the western end of Beale Street, home to blues clubs, restaurants and the famous Memphis May Festival, is Hyatt Centric. Well placed for the peaceful Riverwalk in one direction or lively entertainment in the other, this new-build hotel has beautifully crafted suites and rooms, some with amazing river views – get a corner suite if you can – at one end the hotel has converted old warehouse space into stylish function rooms, if you’re after something a little bigger.

There’s a very good restaurant on the ground floor with a nice bar, outdoor terrace and small plunge-pool and garden. Then, for the evening, a stunning, spacious rooftop bar to sip bourbon and watch the sunset across the river. A very clever hotel thoughtfully, yet not overwhelmingly, presented.

The Peabody Memphis – a chic landmark 13-story downtown hotel is known for its grand lobby and resident ducks

Chic luxury hotel in Memphis

The Peabody Memphis

Every city has one, and The Peabody is Memphis’ version of that old grand dowager hotel with its traditions and eccentricities, dating back to 1869. High-ceilinged public spaces with marbled pillars and uncomfortable chairs, to make you sit straight for high tea, filled with heavy carpets huge chandeliers and even an enormous fountain in the lobby.

Every morning, since 1933, a family of ducks (mallards to be precise) cross the lobby of The Peabody Memphisto play in the fountain and return to their quarters in the evening – presumably as far away from the kitchens as possible – giving rise to the Peabody Duck branding which appears everywhere; even as butter pats or bobbing around in cocktails. In 1975 the hotel was bought and refurbished, with the rooms styled in the heavy wood fashion of the time. Unfortunately, much of this remains creating a contrast between the dazzling public spaces and mildly claustrophobic guest rooms.

The Central Station Memphis, Curio Collection by Hilton – a unique and striking design hotel with industrial-chic decor

Coolest hotels in Memphis

Designer hotel in Memphis

Conveniently close to the railway station, because it really is the railway station, and well connected by tram to Downtown is Central Station Hotel built in 1914 when railways were the heart of travel across the USA. As railway travel declined so did this beautiful old building, until major renovations and refurbishment programmes at the start of the millennium converted it into somewhere very special.

This now vibrant, buzzing hotel is a centre for music with a listening room with daily curated playlists and podcasts, a record wall with 3,500 vinyl albums, an in-house DJ, and room speakers that transmit the music. Rooms and suites at The Central Station Memphis are modern, comfortable spaces with quality, unpretentious furnishings and there’s a very good bar and French restaurant on the ground floor. Hilton have done an excellent job converting this semi-derelict, forgotten building into an exciting space hugging the great traditions of Memphis music.

Hotel Indigo Memphis Downtown, an IHG Hotel – a funky relaxed hotel set in Downtown Memphis

Instagrammable hotel in Memphis

Hotel Indigo Memphis Downtown, an IHG Hotel

Oddly positioned atop a multi-storey car park. Don’t let the exterior fool you because this is a very comfortable, clean, neatly designed hotel around a central courtyard with a decent-sized open-air swimming pool – a rare amenity in Memphis. It’s more reminiscent of an out-of-town motel than a city centre crash pad. Both the 118 guest rooms and public spaces at Hotel Indigo Memphis Downtown are cheerfully designed with clever splurges of bright colour, and local art and memorabilia from regional blues, rock and soul legends.

The hotel surprisingly dates to 1963 and somehow manages to retain a retro heart without feeling fake. At ground level is a charming seasonal restaurant and cocktail lounge, the perfect springboard into the very heart of Memphis. This is a job well done.

Hotel Napoleon, Ascend Hotel Collection – a chic and polished boutique-style hotel set in a historic building dating from 1902

Modern design hotel in Memphis

Modern design hotel in Memphis

An impressive building located on a corner plot close to Beale Street, AutoZone Park, FedEx Forum and other central attractions. Built in 1902 with high ceilings and intricate detail on the outside, it’s sad that nothing remains on the inside of what must have once been a remarkable interior; instead, there’s a simple, but bland, attempt to give a contemporary look by using white or grey at every opportunity.

Rooms are a little smaller than you might expect in such a grand-looking hotel and, although comfortable, could do with updating to break away from the grey and add a little cheer. There’s a bar-restaurant place on the ground floor but this is such a great location you can easily find better in the neighbouring streets.

River Inn of Harbor Town – a charming boutique-style guest house with vintage chic decor

Quirky hotel in Memphis

Vintage chic Memphis

If you fancy something a little different the River Inn of Harbor Town is exactly that. Just across the bridge from Downtown is the small neighbourhood of Harbor Town with the feeling of a remote, traditional community away from the city noise. River Inn is genuinely boutique with a selection of rooms and suites, many with fabulous views of the river, bedecked in colonial style with four-poster beds and huge windows that complement the building and surrounding streets.

There are no less than three restaurants on-site with the stunning Terrace at River Inn opening its vast windows as a cool rooftop venue in the summer months. A beautiful location for a unique experience.

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Gary is an award winning full time professional photographer and videographer with too much wanderlust for his own good. Fuelled 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 organisations, including GQ, BBC, London Fashion Week, Grazia, Sky, Metro, Vogue Italia. He specialising 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, the ketogenic diet and Hungarian Vizslas, he also has a huge affection for Chicago, Bucharest, Scandinavia, Croatia and absolutely everywhere in Italy. Find him on Instagram @garynansome and Twitter @garynansome

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