This review is very challenging for me because I love Elvis Presley. I have loved him since I was a little girl and I always will. HOWEVER, when I set aside my love for Elvis and truly look at this hotel as a place to stay, and keep in mind this building is not something that Elvis himself ever experienced, it is easy to come to the conclusion that it is important to make my concerns known for the betterment of any property with my hero’s name on it… and… to ensure that guests know what they are getting themselves into immediately. I talked to several local residents while I was in Memphis, and I discovered the EPHH is a remodel of an old Holiday Inn that was originally built shortly after Elvis bought Graceland. When Elvis Presley Enterprises bought the hotel in the mid 1990s, they gave it a facelift and stopped there, updating and fixing on a very ‘as needed’ basis. While my mother and I stayed at the hotel, we actually had two rooms. We had to switch due to noise, smell, and mold issues, as described below.
1. Free parking
2. Monitored parking – there is a security booth at the entrance, just like at Graceland itself.
3. Completely fenced property with cameras everywhere
4 Fun heart shaped pool. People sat around it, but I never saw anyone in it over 48 hours.
5. Non-smoking building. Smoking is actually not allowed within 25 feet of the building
6. Elvis Presley movies play non-stop in the lobby and in our rooms on a special channel
7. The lobby is super fun looking. Our rooms have Elvis pictures on the wall
8. Free wi-fi and a TCB station that provides computers for folks to get some work done away
9. In my second room, the bathroom appears to have been recently remodeled. It was just a
shower, stool, and sink, but there was no visible mold (more on that later). The paint on the
wall in the bathroom was textured all over, so if there is water damage or mold, it is now
10. Staff is polite. They don’t go out of their way, but they aren’t rude.
11. Free continental breakfast. It is served on Styrofoam and plastic, but they have basics so
you can eat and not go hungry.
1. The hallways are dark and dirty. The light fixtures have not seen a dust rag in a long time.
The doors are marked up from bags and luggage. Some of the doors and walls are so bad
they look as though someone fought their way to get into the room a’ la Dog the Bounty
Hunter chasing a fugitive. The carpet in the hallways appears newer and does not seem to
2. The rooms all have external air conditioning units that were added after the hotel was built. I
had two rooms and in my second room the sound level was reasonable. In my first room the
A/C unit was drowning out our television at top volume. Moreover, the A/C units pull in all
outdoor smells, including cigarette smoke. (People do not observe the 25 feet rule… and no
one seems to be enforcing it).
3. In my first room on the fifth floor, we had black mold growing on the walls of our bathroom,
and the walls were warped from water damage.
4. The mirror in the bathroom was warped and there were huge black blotches all over the
mirror suggesting the reflective filament was worn away from water damage or… something.
5. The electrical in the hotel is not sufficient for modern day needs to charge phones,
computers, ipads, etc. In my first room we had to unplug our clock and lamp to charge our
cell phones. I looked behind the TV and noticed a 3-plug expander plugged in to support all
of the electrical needs for the lamps, TV, and cable boxes. I don’t know if it was grounded
because I did not unplug it, but I would feel better if it was an actual power strip to hopefully
protect against fire. I saw the same plug expander in the lobby as well… in clear view next to
the ‘retro’ TV.
6. Our TV remote stopped working at 10pm the first night, and it was impossible to change the
channel on the TV without the cable remote. I called the front desk and they were unable to
give us new batteries or to replace the remote, thus they could not handle basic guest needs.
I was told I had to wait until the maintenance staff came the next day. I asked if I should go to
a Walgreens and they said, “I am not saying that. I am just saying we cannot do anything
about it tonight.” VERY disappointing since my mom and I were really looking forward to
falling asleep to an Elvis movie on their special Elvis channel.
7. My mattress at home is mid-range quality, 10 years old, and is approaching the end of its life.
The mattresses at EPHH appear to be much older than that… or just beat up from…
something. The sheets were scratchy and seemed worn. The blankets were heavy and also
worn. It was a very uncomfortable rest both nights. We did check and they are covered in
plastic, so… no bed bugs.
8. There are no ‘welcome’ signs in our rooms, or guest services books, or anything to suggest
this is even a hotel. It feels like a rundown motel in many ways. Without the Elvis pictures on
the wall in my room, I would forget where I was. The water cover on our coffee pot was
broken as well… not surprising that no one cared to replace it.
9. No concierge or visitor center to help people get around. It is self-service all the way at this
place, which is interesting considering so many of the guests are from other countries… you
would think EP Enterprises would at least make it LOOK like they are trying, and not taking
all of the Elvis fans for granted. There are other things to do in Memphis besides walk next
door to the mansion.
Take it or leave it:
1. All of the food served in “The Jungle Room” dining hall off the menu appears to be warmed
up or is served right out of individual packaging. If I had to guess, there isn’t anything that is
actually cooked at the hotel. It was fine, but it wasn’t really filling. Go to Marlowe's. You can
be picked up in their pink Cadillac and eat the spaghetti with the original meat
sauce. Elvis himself ate it and loved it... and the sauce is FANTASTIC.
2. There are no specialty drinks served at The Jungle Room. I was hoping for a ‘Jungle
Juice’, ‘Elvis Blue Hawaii’ or SOMETHING memorable. Instead we get a bartender/ waiter
who blares CNN and could not care less about interacting with his never-ending stream of
tourists. Kind of sad since this room would be a great place for Elvis fans to connect.
3. The Jungle Room is dark all the time. It makes sense when the movie screen in the room is
showing a movie. It doesn’t make sense in the AM when we are trying to eat and wake up for
the day. The lighting is the actual issue in this situation. At least Elvis himself would probably
4. The oversized furniture in the lobby is fun to look at, but if you are of a certain age I suggest
you do not sit down. You might not get back up.
I am compelled to write this review not because I think it is going to change anything immediately. In fact, from I heard around town, EPE is actually for sale once again (May 2013), thus the mantle of responsibility to preserve Elvis’ history is going to be handed to another corporation yet again. This is not surprising as the infrastructure of the Graceland compound all needs to be redone for the modern age, and it will take a very special company to do this correctly. And truly… there is no motivation to fix anything. Elvis fans are everywhere; the hotel sells out on holidays and special Elvis days, so why do anything? They can keep selling us Elvis and we will keep buying it… dust, mold, warmed food, and all… for now.
My ultimate concern is that tourism is one of the top industries in Memphis. I believe without all of the tourists coming to Memphis to see Elvis’ home, Memphis as a city could be in a very grave situation. I believe EPE has a responsibility to take care of the Elvis visitors that come to town to ensure the survival of his memory and his beloved Memphis for future generations. We are still in the glory days of Elvis in which we still have many of his close family and friends who knew him here to help keep the Elvis story alive. When they are gone… what will happen? How will the heart of Elvis go on? It is time to stop selling Elvis as nothing more than an image slapped on a shot glass and bring some class back, folks. Graceland has been open for over 30 years and this hotel has been operational since 1999 and the current state is very sad. I have visited Graceland and Tupelo twice each, and I have to say... the team at Graceland could learn something from the folks at the birthplace. I truly feel I experience the soul of Elvis in his hometown... All of Graceland doesn't even compare to the love that I feel in that shotgun shack sitting in East Tupelo. That being said, I hope to return to Tennessee someday, and when I do, I hope I can experience a hotel that is worthy of the King of rock and roll.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- One of the most popular hotels in Memphis, Tennessee, Elvis Presley's Heartbreak Hotel is a fashionable boutique hotel that takes its cues from the legendary hospitality and personal style for which the King of Rock 'n' Roll was known. Heartbreak Hotel features 128 rooms and is located conveniently across the street from Elvis Presley's Graceland. The hotel offers numerous amenities to make sure your stay is memorable and is located near the Memphis International Airport, making it one of the best Memphis hotel deals around. Stay at one of the most rockin’ hotels in Memphis, Tennessee! ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Heartbreak Hotel Memphis
- Elvis Presleys Heartbreak Memphis
- Hotel Elvis Presleys Heartbreak
- Elvis Presley Heartbreak Hotel
- Elvis Presleys Heartbreak Hotel