Holiday Inn Express & Suites (Opryland) – Nashville, TN

Gaylord Opryland Resort

Destination: Nashville, TN near Opryland
Date: March 2015
Hotel: Holiday Inn Express & Suites
Brand: IHG
Status: none
# of travelers: 4

Hotel & Brand – Making the Decision

image from IHG website

In November of 2014, Justin's cousin announced her engagement. She had been dating the guy less than a year, but she intended on putting together her wedding fast. Honestly she told me why she chose March for her wedding, but I can't remember…

In early January Justin's parents indicated that we may be staying somewhere in Nashville as a family with his aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents (i.e. the whole 9 yards!). Because of this, I postponed booking … and looking for a hotel. Plus, if I recall, Justin and I were super busy … and sick. This was the time period when my brother announced I would soon have a nephew and my sister-in-law announced that she was engaged. Needless to say, there were multiple family dinners, parties, etc… all within the span of a few weeks. Picking out a hotel was not on the top of my list.

This was only made more complicated when, only a few weeks later, Justin's parents informed me that rather than staying with the family (as originally suggested) they were waiting on me to pick the hotel. Say what?!?! Apparently, they were too busy to pick one, they needed to save money and they decided that Justin and I were going to stay with them to make this happen. *sigh* I love my in-laws, but I found this to be a tad frustrating especially with Justin and I being so busy ourselves. It's one thing to pick out a hotel for yourself, it's another to pick out a hotel for someone else who has entirely different priorities than you do, especially at the last minute.

It took a lot of hugs, love, and understanding from my husband before I tiredly began my search. Our initial choice, Hotel Indigo, was booked to capacity. As I continued searching, my other choices, such as the Hampton Inn and Gaylord Opryland Resort also filled up. Having had mixed experiences with Holiday Inn Express & Suites before, I half-heartedly booked the room. It was cheap-ish (compared to other hotels in the area for the weekend) and the room looked big enough to comfortably fit us all. I had originally intended on staying closer to the inner city of Nashville, but I ended up deciding, after seeing all of the other rooms fill up, that perhaps being near Opryland wouldn't be so bad.

Getting To The Hotel & Around the City

The drive to Nashville from Atlanta wasn't too bad. I think you can also take a bus or fly there. I wasn't watching AirFareWatchDog at the time, so … driving just seemed to be the logical choice. Besides, a 2 hour wait for a 30 minute flight just strikes me as a little illogical; then again, I've only flown 3 roundtrip flights at this point in my life. The only way to travel that really makes sense to me is driving.

I digress…

So far my main experience with Nashville is that it is a weird city. Obviously there is the main strip with music venues and places to buy all of your country goods (cowboy/girl boots and hats, anyone?), but other parts of the city seem very business-like. Touring the Lifeway building just doesn't strike me as exciting and fun. (Can you even do that?) With that being said, we didn't spend much time downtown. And even when we did, we drove.

We spent the majority of our time, when we weren't doing wedding-like events, shopping at the Opry Mills Mall and touring the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center. Both of these locations are within walking distance of the hotel. If you aren't staying at a nearby hotel, I recommend parking at Opry Mills Mall and walking to the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center because parking at the resort can cost upwards of $23 a day. (Trust me. Your wallet will thank me and your feet won't care. The walk is really easy.)

Front Desk Staff & Checking In

A few days before we were set to check in to our hotel, I called the front desk and mentioned that my in-laws might get there before us. I gave the staff the names of my in-laws, and I was told there shouldn't be a problem if they arrived early. While on the phone, I asked the woman I was talking to if there was a salon nearby that she could recommend. Unfortunately, as it turns out she was new to the area and couldn't help me. I told her I understood, but I still hung up disappointed. I strongly believe that, in an effort to keep customers, the front staff should always do their best to help their customers out in whatever way they can. I realize salons are not the hotel's expertise, but surely someone who worked at the hotel knew of one, right? Anyway…*

When we arrived at the hotel, we didn't have any trouble checking in. I wasn't a preferred guest at the time, so we weren't offered anything extra for our stay. We were merely given our keys and told where the elevator was. The check-in process was easy-peasy.


image from TripAdvisor

After we got off the elevator, I was a bit apprehensive about the room. As it turns out, we were basically right across from the elevator. Would that equate to lots of noise? Justin encouraged me to check out the room before begging the hotel staff to move us further away from the elevator. And guess what?! Justin was right!

When I first walked into the room, I was amazed at all of the space! The room was huge! And fun! :) We had a couch and a sitting area plus a fridge and microwave too! There was more than enough room for us to spread out! (And let me tell you, when sharing a room with your in-laws, extra space is very welcome!)

Breakfast & Amenities

Given that I wasn't feeling too good most of the weekend, the free tea was a God-send; I truly enjoyed drinking the Jasmine tea they offered. Justin and his parents enjoyed the coffee that was available 24/7; I'm sure it saved us plenty of money! (Sorry Starbucks!) But one of the best (and worst) aspects of the hotel was the free breakfast. They offered store-bought, warm cinnamon rolls, pancakes, eggs, bacon, cereal, yogurt, apples, sausage, and oatmeal along with coffee, tea, orange juice, hot chocolate, and milk to drink. For the most part I made yogurt parfaits (YUM!) and ate cinnamon rolls. The rest of the food was just bleh. Especially the pancakes; I do not recommend the pancakes.

Other amenities the hotel offered included a pool, a computer in the lobby, a small exercise center, and a washer and dryer that you could use at your convenience. The hotel provides soap, a hair dryer, a coffee maker (why would you need one with free coffee in the lobby?!?), and an iron in the room. In other words, this hotel offers a little something for everyone … whether you are attending a wedding, continuing your fitness addiction while on vacation, or working as a business traveler. (Did I mention the free internet?)

Overall Review

image from here courtesy of PhotoPIn

★★★ (Average)

This is about what I would expect from a decent hotel. We weren't offered anything particularly enticing in this stay, but I would definitely return to this hotel if no other options were available that I wanted to try. The price point was on par with most other hotels that offer breakfast; a bit high for the average (read: cheap) traveler but given how much money we saved on hot drinks, I was willing to take it. No matter where Holiday Inn Express & Suites had put us, a room with a view is pushing expectations a bit high for this hotel; however for an additional $60 or $70 (perhaps more or less if you use Groupon) you can stay across the street at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and receive not only an amazing interior view but be right in the middle of an attraction as well! (But potentially without free breakfast and coffee, which might be a breaking point for some people.) I definitely recommend the Holiday Inn Express & Suites if you need a simple place to stay just outside of Nashville city-proper. The rooms are big, nice, and comfortable – providing more than enough room for a family – and the staff is friendly and welcoming; what more could you ask for?

Your Turn

Have you ever stayed in Nashville before? Or visited the Opryland resort? Would you consider this hotel for your next visit to Nashville?

* I ended up going to Altra Salon, a 15 minute drive from the hotel. Don't be fooled by the seedy look of the area; these stylists are fantastic! Plus, you can book online which makes out of town trips and planning that much easier! My stylist, Kristen, played around with my hair until she was able to achieve the perfect look for attending a wedding! Love, love, love her and this salon! :)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...