My intent to visit Memphis was not Beale Street, but to see Graceland, the Rock and Soul Museum and the Loraine Motel. As a first time visitor to Memphis, I was surprised that a newer hotel across the street from the Fedex Forum could be amid such urban blight. The hotel staff were pleasant and helpful. Do ask for a room not facing Beale Street if you are sensitive to sound and want to get some sleep.
The hotel was convenient for what I wanted to see but if you're looking for food that isn't deep fried or barbecue, you'll be on an extensive quest. There are numerous places to eat, but they all pretty much carry the same fare if you journey on foot in the area. If you find a salad to eat, you'll have to delete a number of ingredients to get it to a healthy level. I didn't see any options for breakfast in the near vicinity (didn't want to pay hotel prices) but did find a Denny's across the street from the Peabody Hotel which is a quick 10 minute walk away. There is a Starbucks next to the hotel which is great for a quick cup of coffee.
The Rock and Soul Museum is SUPERB both with its artifacts but also with the history it presents with the head set provided. There is a free bus from the front of the museum to/from Graceland which is about a 20-minute drive. That was very convenient and a great cost-savings.
Within walking distance is the Loraine Motel where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in 1968. The motel is preserved from that era and is a part of the adjacent National Civil Rights Museum which I was not able to visit due to construction/renovation. That was a real shame as myself and others were VERY upset about the closure of the vital part of the museum as their website indicated nothing of this. Had I known, I would have gladly postponed my visit to Memphis.
I didn't have a rental car and was relegated to what I could see on foot from the hotel. Lots of abandoned warehouses/small factories and empty lots where business once stood. This Downtown area leaves much to be desired.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- This Memphis hotel is located just behind the world-famous Beale Street, home of the blues, and minutes away from the excitement of the city. We offer guests over 200 hotel rooms and 9 meeting rooms. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Westin Memphis Beale Street Hotel Memphis
- Westin Memphis Beale Street
- Memphis Westin