Boasting the finest Southern hospitality and an unforgettable retreat with easy access to numerous attractions, the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee is a fine choice. Situated at 2800 Opryland Drive, it is only ten minutes from the airport and has a spa, restaurants, a fitness center, indoor gardens with water features, swimming pools, an 18-hole Golf course and more. The premises constitute a prime venue for weddings and conferences since it has almost 3000 rooms.
What Makes it Family Friendly
We chose the hotel because it is a Marriott property and as Gold members, we could pay for our stay with Marriott points. The hotel is next door to the Opry Mills Mall and a short drive away from downtown Nashville with its museums along with the iconic Gulch area.
During our Christmas stay, most of the fellow travelers we encountered were families celebrating the holiday together in a festive atmosphere.
To ensure the hotel knew of our accommodations of our a feather free quiet room request, we contacted the hotel beforehand. We arrived on Christmas day in the evening from LA because we thought the check in process would be less congested. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. There was a long line of people checking in, so the scene was somewhat chaotic. Later, we found out that the hotel provided several check-in areas we were not aware of and that travelers with disabilities should call ahead and ask which one would have less of a queue.
Inside the hotel, the decor was traditional Southern-style with magnificent candelabras, comfy sofas, and lounge chairs in dark brown, olive green, and orange tones. The resort is divided into four main areas named Magnolia, Garden Conservatory, Cascades, and the Delta. The Delta section sports a mini human-made river that flows through it where travelers could enjoy a short boat ride for an additional fee. The elaborate fountain in the Cascades atrium was spectacular. Our favorite zone turned out to be the Garden Conservatory, elaborately decorated with Christmas lights around exotic plants.
We had a spacious room, elegantly decorated in hues of green and gray topped by crown molding. Here again, the theme was subdued modern elegance using wood, granite, and contemporary artwork on the walls. The front door had an efficient lock and latch, but the peephole was placed rather impractically at the eye level of a six-foot person.
As we entered the room, the first thing we saw on the left was a large dresser that housed a 40 inch TV on top. The dresser had a granite countertop and pull out shelf mechanism that could be used as a desk. There was also a mini cooler and a coffee machine. Oddly enough, the room had only one usable chair, so we called housekeeping to ask for additional chairs.
The closet and storage area were relatively modest in size a family of four. The closet had a luggage rack, an ironing board, and an enormous safe for our devices.
Area lamps on the nightstand between the two beds and on the dresser kept the room moderately well lit. Two of the lamps had recharging sockets, and there were several power outlets throughout the room.
We had mostly comfortable and soft beds, though they were higher than what we are used to. The headboards had a wooden frame with a gray metallic color leatherette. We did appreciate the flexible metal lamps attached to the headboard. Because of these lights, it was possible to read quietly at night after other family members fell asleep. We liked the placement of the beds away from the air conditioning vent so the cold air wouldn’t blow directly on us as we slept.
Most rooms had balconies with a seating area, nice for adults to sit and look out over the atrium. However, the double French elegant doors only had one lock placed four feet from the ground. The placement of the lock can be a safety issue for kids.
As Marriott members, the hotel gave us free bottled water and wifi.
The natural stone tiled flooring with granite countertops and tiled wall bathroom was on the modest size. We liked the two separate areas in the bathroom. One area had a single sink, and the other had an additional sink with a shower/bathtub and commode. The curtained bathtub sported a fixed shower head with no handheld attachment or grab bars. These additions would have been an excellent addition for families.
Housekeeping was generous, providing us with many towels as well as bathrobes and slippers.
This unique resort featured over fifteen food venues ranging from Southern cuisine to Italian grub. The main issue we encountered were the long lines at all places during meal times. These lines were quite frustrating for our son with autism. After trying most of the restaurants, our favorite was the Jack Daniel’s Saloon. Here, we enjoyed their Fried Green Tomatoes and Pickles along with their Jack Daniel’s cocktails.
For breakfast, the hotel offers two restaurants. These restaurants have both a menu and a bountiful buffet with multiple cold and hot items.
For families traveling on a budget, there were many other choices right outside the hotel in the Opryland Mills Mall. These options included fast food, chain restaurants, and our personal favorite, the Cracker Barrel. Travelers without a car should know the hotel offers a free shuttle on the hour between the venue and the mall.
We were able to watch a live broadcast from one of the oldest radio studios in the US near the Magnolia lobby. The station, called WSM, was apparently historically pivotal to the development of the country music genre in the US between the 1930s and the 1980s.
The hotel features several pools that the guests can use and enjoy. The outdoor saltwater pool is perfect for hot summer months, while the indoor pool would be enjoyable during the winter. For those travelers seeking spa treatments, the hotel boasts a spa with a full menu of services, including relaxing massages and makeup lessons.
For more about the Christmas activities, check out our article.
Autism Travel Tips:
- The hotel gets very crowded and quite noisy during the holidays. Parents with noise sensitive children may want to reconsider visiting around this time.
- Be aware that during Christmas there are many activities. Music also plays throughout the hotel even in the “quieter” areas.
- Parents should request a quiet room in the Garden Conservatory area that won’t directly face noisy activities.
- The hotel doesn’t provide a nightlight or anti-slip mat, so parents will have to bring their own.
- The staff at the resort’s various restaurants was courteous, friendly and patient with our son with autism. When we had to wait for a table, the hostess found a quiet seating area for us. She brought some crackers when she heard our son say he was hungry.