The two primary areas to book a hotel in are either downtown between Third Street and the River, or East of the I-240 loop.  If you are thinking about a hotel other than these two areas, avoid those due south and due north of I-240 loop  Beale Street at night is very safe and fun.  Stay east of I-240 if you are here on business, stay downtown if you are visiting.  There are also decent options just over the state line in Southaven MS, but a car would definitely be required to commute to Downtown or East Memphis. If f you're just passing through, anything on Goodman Road, either at Hwy 78 (Olive Branch) or I-55, (Southaven) will do.  It does lie south of the city - indeed, it's over the line in Mississippi - but for those travelers driving through from the south or the north, you'll be close to chain dining or a familiar shopping spot for essentials.