Graceland’s new, 450-room resort, The Guest House at Graceland™, welcomed its first guests yesterday when Priscilla Presley joined Graceland executives to cut the 'blue suede ribbon' to signify the official opening for the $92 million luxury property. Among the first guests to check in were Elvis Presley’s™ family members, friends and musicians, along with Elvis fans and Graceland visitors from around the world.
Inspired by Elvis’ personal style and the iconic Graceland Mansion, The Guest House at Graceland is the most significant enhancement to Graceland since it opened to the public in 1982, and the largest hotel project in Memphis in over 90 years. The resort hotel, which is situated just steps from Graceland Mansion, features 430 guest rooms and 20 specialty suites with design and décor supervised by Priscilla Presley.
“Elvis was known by friends and family for his warm and generous southern hospitality. At one time, he had plans to build a guest house for the many friends and family that he and Priscilla welcomed to Graceland,” said Joel Weinshanker, Managing Partner, Graceland Holdings, LLC. “We are proud to be making his wishes come true with this one-of-a-kind resort experience, bringing our guests closer to Graceland than ever before.”
The Guest House at Graceland brings over 200 new jobs to Memphis to service the guest rooms, the five dining options, a 464-seat theater, outdoor pool and conference, event and catering facilities. The new luxury resort kicks off an era of expansion for Graceland, with development of a new 200,000 square foot entertainment complex, Elvis: Past, Present & Future, now under construction and scheduled to open in March 2017.
The Grand Opening Celebration Weekend events, open only to guests staying at the resort, include an “Elvis in Vegas” celebration concert taking place tonight in the Grand Ballroom, featuring musician Terry Mike Jeffrey and legendary members of Elvis’ original “TCB Band,” James Burton, Glen D. Hardin and Ronnie Tutt; and a special broadcast of SiriusXM’s Elvis Radio Channel from The Guest House with a live audience, hosted by Elvis’ long-time friend and SiriusXM host George Klein and featuring special guests Priscilla Presley and Elvis’ good friend Jerry Schilling. “Elvis Unplugged” with musician Andy Childs and acclaimed Elvis session musicians Norbert Putnam and David Briggs is planned for Saturday evening, and “The Gospel Side of Elvis,” featuring former members of JD Sumner and Stamps Quartet plus The Imperials’ Terry Blackwood is scheduled for Sunday morning. Additional events throughout this historic weekend include “Conversations on Elvis” on-stage discussions with Elvis co-stars and close friends, Elvis movie screenings, and tours of the resort and Graceland Mansion.
A special “Auction at Graceland” is taking place this Saturday, October 29 at 3 pm Central in The Guest House Theater. Four pieces of jewelry once personally owned by Lisa Marie Presley (not from the Graceland Archives) will be auctioned with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the Elvis Presley Charitable Foundation, launching a new Graceland Auctions initiative where fans and collectors can now contribute a portion of the proceeds from the sale of their artifacts to the Foundation. Online bidding is now open for this auction, which also features the "Aqua Blue Vine" jumpsuit Elvis wore on stage in 1973-74, estimated at $250,000- $350,000; Elvis’ 1956 application for Screen Actors Guild, estimated at $10,000-15,000; as well as an historic collection of Sun Records artifacts from members of the “Million Dollar Quartet”, several distinctive pieces of Elvis’ jewelry including his Lion Head ring, estimated at $15,000-$20,000, and other artifacts that once belonged to, or were worn or signed by Elvis Presley.
“Every available guest room is taken this weekend,” said Keith Hess, Vice President and Managing Director of The Guest House at Graceland. “We are off to a great start, with guest rooms booking very quickly for resort stays over the coming months. The response so far has been amazing – not only from Elvis fans, but from leisure travelers, tour groups and business and corporate clients who can’t wait to experience this extraordinary resort.”
The primary design goal for The Guest House at Graceland was to create a resort which would complement and celebrate Graceland Mansion -- almost as if Elvis was adding a guest house to his original home -- without taking away the Mansion’s prominence as the focal point. The warm, welcoming spirit of southern hospitality that Elvis embodied at Graceland was a big inspiration to the design process and a key driver of the design.
Priscilla Presley was instrumental in the design and décor of the specialty suites offered at The Guest House: The King’s Suites, The Vernon and Gladys Suites, TCB (Takin’ Care of Business) Suites and Living Room Suites. Many of the suites are located on the exclusive top floor of the resort, known as “The Upstairs,” which is reminiscent of the upstairs at the Graceland mansion -- the private living quarters for Elvis and his family that is not part of the mansion tour.
The resort’s premiere restaurant, Delta’s Kitchen, serves breakfast and dinner daily. The 172-seat restaurant features contemporary décor and serves southern cuisine celebrating the culinary history of the Tennessee and Mississippi River Delta. E.P.’s Bar & Grill is a casual restaurant and bar serving “soul of the south” pub cuisine with a contemporary twist. The 139-seat restaurant features a bank of four large screen televisions, and the “pool” room pays homage to Elvis’ love of the game of billiards. Both restaurants offer outdoor seating. The Lobby Bar serves appetizers and cocktails, and the Shake, Rattle & Go coffee bar offers sandwiches, wraps and salads for those eating on the run. The Guest House also offers a full room service menu.
With more than 25,000 square feet of event space, five dining options and a 464-seat theater for live performances, presentations and movies, The Guest House is an exceptional location for meetings, conferences and reunions. At almost 11,000 sq.-ft., the Grand Ballroom is the largest meeting and special events space for hosting conventions, corporate meetings, weddings or any gathering for up to 1,200 people. This large, functional space can also be divisible into five separate meeting rooms. Additional conference rooms, named Rock, Blues, Country and Gospel, can accommodate smaller events and meetings. The Lawn at The Guest House is a manicured outdoor space that can be tented and holds approximately 400 people for a reception.
DreamCatcher Hotels™, a Memphis-based hotel brand known for its innovative approach to the hotel experience, has overseen the development of the resort and managed the design and construction of the Graceland-inspired architecture and interiors.
HBG (Hnedak Bobo Group), also based in Memphis -- one of the top ten leading hospitality design firms in the United States, designed The Guest House at Graceland, working closely with DreamCatcher Hotels and the team at Graceland.
The Guest House at Graceland began booking room reservations for individual travelers, groups and corporate clients in March 2016. The hotel has been cited by numerous publications as one of the most exciting hotel opening worldwide in 2016.