The Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center is a magical place. It isn’t just a hotel, it’s an experience. And one we were happy to participate in! You may be curious how some hostel-ers like us ended up at such a ritzy place…it’s a fair question as we as definitely budget travels, especially when it comes to accommodations. KG’s conference was taking place in the Conference Center portion of the resort so we decided to give the hotel a try. It would be more convenient for her and would ensure she got the most out of the experience. And it would be super luxe and fun for me! Well I missed out on over half of our time there (the Denver airport is far more luxurious than some fancy resort anyway) but would still like to share some of the magic with you…
The resort is divided into 5 sections, one of which is the Convention Center. Remembering what the other 4 areas are and their positions relative to the others is crucial in finding your way around. Here’s a map:
Now that you have the overview allow me to give you a peek into each lobby.
The Cascades is the first section most people will see. The main hotel lobby where the front desk sits and the shuttle drops new-comers off is in the Cascades. You get an idea of the extravagance right off the bat when you see this sculpture and roof fresco right front & center.
As you continue off the beautiful but conventional lobby you enter a tropical paradise. The main walkway takes you between a bar and a sushi restaurant, but they are hidden away amongst fountains, ponds and lush greenery. I entered in the evening so the glass ceiling was dark and the twinkle lights that hang from above were in full effect. It’s like walking into the Land of the Fairies.
One side of the cascades is dominated by The Falls. The Falls are 2 things: (1) a bar and (2) a literal waterfall. With multiple stream of water falling down a realistic rock face into a deep pool it feels like you’ve left Music City behind and have been transported to the South American rainforest.
Proceeding through the Cascades you naturally move into the Garden Conservatory. This area shares a lot of similarities with Cascades, in that it is strung with white lights and inspires a feel of the tropics, but has a far different set up. Rather than have paths run around a few eateries, the paths of the Garden Conservatory are the main attractions. Two skyways arch over the jungle to let you walk among the stars and look down at the paradise below. Or you can descend the stairs and frolic in the woods. Here you’ll find random statues, hidden reflecting pools and a breath-taking domed gazebo-style building. The first night they were hosting a private party amount the vine choked arches.
The Magnolia lobby is secondary to the Cascades. There are also shuttle launches from here, as well as a small desk. But mainly this lobby houses a grand staircase (that makes me want to enter like a Southern Belle) and two stately fireplaces. It’s like you stumbled into a classy Georgian mansion on the other side of the jungle. The rest of Magnolia is outside. This confused us for a bit as it was winter and the pools were not in use. However if you were visiting in the summer I’m sure it would provide hours of aquatic entertainment.
Finally there is the Delta section. This is where we were roomed so it may be the best explored. It’s a convenient happenstance because I think it was also the most complex of areas. Delta has an outer waterway that circles Delta Island. You can walk through many trails both around and on the island or take the boat cruise through the water ring instead. On the island are a small gazebo that is set up great for weddings, a dancing fountain that performs in time to music, multiple eateries of various types (fancy restaurants, frozen yogurt shop, burger joint, etc) and shops.
The Orpyland must have some sort of affiliation with Dreamworks because we saw several little sets assembled to look like they were out of various animated movies. There was Kung-Fu Panda, Madagascar and Shrek. Although we never say any characters in them.
Now that you’ve seen what a wonderland the Opryland Resort is I hope you’ll take a magical journey there too…even if it’s just to check it out…you know, if you’re in Nashville 🙂
Love & Luck,