Twenty plus years ago I went to the Gayloard Opryland Resort and Convention Center near Nashville, Tennessee for a convention. After all those years, Anita was able to join me in returning, this time for a few days of rest and relaxation. The Gaylord is the largest (2700+ rooms) non-casino hotel in the United States. It’s huge. Big. Massive. And oh does it ever have some great interior spaces. Plants, flowers, waterfalls, rivers, you name it. All under a massive roof. The plan for our trip was to enjoy the hotel, saving the local attractions (except for the mall) for a later visit.
Of course, there’s a huge convention space. And about 14 restaurants. And it’s right next door to the huge Opry Mills mall. But other than me saying that all of the restaurants we ate at in the hotel were fantastic, I’m going to post more about the beautiful indoor grounds. I should say though, make sure that you get a Cobb salad at Fuse, a pizza at Paisano’s Pizzaria, a crazy good Jack Burger (with fried green tomato, brisket and pimento cheese) and the burnt ends at Jack Daniel’s. We didn’t have time to enjoy all of the great restaurants, but I also recommend grabbing some cocktails at The Falls. You’ll find the service to be great everywhere.
So let’s start with a gander around some of the open spaces at the Gaylord, which is divided into 3 large atriums: Cascades, Garden Conservatory, and Delta (which our room overlooked). Each is very well designed, from beautiful paths to lighting, to plants and flowers. If you can, get a room with a balcony overlooking an atrium. It’ll cost you a bit more but it is worth it.
Remember, I said that the Gaylord is huge. You’ll get a map when you check in. Never, ever, go out without one. There are maps all over the resort, but you’ll want your own personal copy to study. And you do want to study it. Anita and I spent hours on our balcony watching lost people wander around the Delta. It was quality entertainment.
Also note that the color of the carpet in the hall in your room matches the area you are in. That colored carpet will help get you back to your room, specially if you’ve been hopping between the many bars in the resort. Trust me.
There’s a river flowing thru the Delta atrium. Besides being able to walk around it on beautifully landscaped paths, you can jump on a guided boat and float around the area. Along the way you’ll see waterfalls, plants, and even tropical fruit. And an alligator. Well, not a real alligator.
The glass above the atriums is 1 3/4″ thick, and there are just miles of it. Three football fields to be exact.
Besides more traditional ‘indoors’ eating areas, you can also grab a bite in an open space, such as here in the Cascades or The Falls.
The Gaylord has changed a lot (for the better) since I was last there. They’ve added more rooms, more atriums, and recovered from a horrible flood in 2010.
You don’t have to leave the resort for anything, if you don’t want to. Yes, there’s golf nearby. And you can take a ride into downtown Nashville. Or walk over to the General Jackson and take a river boat ride on the Cumberland River. We opted to stay in the hotel and just enjoy the sites and restaurants.
The Gaylord has 20 full-time gardening and landscaping experts, and they do their jobs well. I have no idea how many different plants there are, but it’s just amazing. Everything is landscaped perfectly.
We really enjoyed walking around the Gaylord and we enjoyed our stay immensely. Now, if you check the reviews online you’ll find that some folks haven’t had quite the same experience that we have. Yes, the food prices are higher than other places. And yes, you have to pay for parking and internet and other ‘amenities’. I knew that going in, and I also knew that the place is amazing. Where else are you going to go with these kinds of views? The costs of maintaining the amazing grounds have to be unbelievable. So go, and enjoy and don’t sweat the small stuff. Bar hop. Walk the gardens. Eat great food. Enjoy the fantastic indoor weather. People watch. Have a great time!
I give the Gaylord high points on my ‘Mater Rater.