The trip advisor review form for attractions asks if there is a fee for the attraction you are reviewing. In the case of the Opryland Hotel the answer at every turn is yes. $20 to park, $28 for valet, $18 for wi-fi (and two bottles of water and “access” to the spa… (not any actual services at the spa, just “access”) opt for a spa service and they add a “customary” gratuity to your bill “for your convenience”) $4 delivery fee for room service, a separate $1.25 service fee for room service.
I get it. They do not market themselves as an “all inclusive” resort. But at the rates they charge for an overnight stay, you would think they could find room somewhere to give a guest’s wallet a break. Breakfast included at $250 per night? Ha! No way. $20 per person for the buffet, not including beverages. Order from the menu instead? Sure, a side of hashbrowns, a fruit bowl, and some toast will only set you back about $15. Add in some juice or coffee and, well…
Ok, so its expensive. But, what about your stay? Understand that the place is huge. It includes a large convention center. Our room number had 4 digits and each time we referred to it they would ask, “in which section?” We arrived in the lobby at 3:00 and didn’t make it to our room until after 4:00. There were twenty (yes we counted) check in stations, all manned and all working diligently checking guests in. Apparently the convention center was hosting a cheerleading competition and the hotel was home base for the Georgia Tech football contingent in town for the music city bowl game. We were told the next day that, that kind of check in was unusual, but judging by other reviews on this site I would say it probably is close to the norm. Getting to your room is not as confusing as other reviews make it sound. It all comes down to getting your bearings and getting used to the scale of the place. That said it is absolutely a LONG haul from check-in to some sections of the hotel.
The main feature is of course the three large atriums, dramatic and beautiful without a doubt. Lush? Yes. Exotic? No. Christmas decorations were nice, nothing special except again in their scale. Is it intimate and romantic? ABSOLUTELY NOT. Think shopping mall on steroids or indoor Disney. Hundreds of people all shuffling along with you and doing all the things they do in a mall to drive you up a wall, except with the added feature of carrying and pulling luggage. Piped in music, large artificial water-falls and fountains… it all makes for a very LOUD experience. Part of the crowd problem is that the atriums and their associated restaurants, shops, etc. are all accessible to the general public. So you not only have thousands of “paying customers” but also thousands of visitors. There are people EVERYWHERE. Lots of them. The only “private” areas of the atriums are the guest room balconies and those rooms were not in our budget.
We stayed in a king room overlooking the parking lot. $208 per night. Absolutely nothing special. Room, bed, chair, desk, tv, bathroom. Could have been any room, anywhere. Bed was acceptable. Sound between rooms not bad, but also not non-existent. Like I said, any hotel room anywhere.
Other stuff… There are several restaurants to choose from. I can only imagine the high end of the dinner price spectrum, but dinner can be had for a reasonable price at “the fuse.” ($45 for 2 hot sandwiches, fries, an appetizer, and soft drinks) and yogurt by the ounce wasn’t too far away from “normal” at 70 cents per at the shops area. The carriage rides (for a fee, of course) are a 15 minute loop through the parking lot complete with traffic dodging. Nothing says romance like tour bus diesel fumes. If you are willing to pay an even higher fee you can have a “private” carriage ride through the parking lot. The hotel has grown to this size over many years and as such, the different sections have varying floor elevations. What is level one in one section may become level two or even three as you transition from one area to another. They try to simplify all of this into a single map, but it can be quite confusing trying to find your way around. But the “meandering, discovery” aspect of our stay was probably the most enjoyable part.
One last peculiar thing… I have never heard of this anywhere in my life… If you see a “special rate” for a room that is less than $200 a night, look to see if it is an “executive parlor.” This is a room with a sleeper sofa instead of a bed. Yes, INSTEAD of a bed. So for the low, low price of $160 plus $18 resort fee, plus $20 parking fee, you get to sleep on a pull out couch. Enjoy!
For the money, Biltmore in Asheville, NC is better. Hands down.
The garden conservatory without rushing water is more quiet than the cascades and delta sections.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.