Last weekend, Laura and I had a chance to spend the night at the Peabody Hotel in Downtown Memphis, Tennessee. The Peabody is a historic Memphis landmark that was built in 1925. The Peabody had closed for a time in the 1970s, but it opened again in 1981 after a major refurbishment.
The Peabody is known as “the South’s Grand Hotel,” but it is probably most famous for its ducks. Every day at 11:00 AM, five mallard ducks ride the elevator down from their penthouse apartment to march to the lobby fountain, where they spend the day swimming until 5:00 PM, when they march back to the elevator to go back up to their penthouse. Yes, real ducks in the hotel fountain. Yes, people start gathering a hour ahead of time to see the ducks enter or leave. Seriously.
There are also Peabody hotels in Little Rock, Arkansas, and Orlando, Florida. And they both have ducks, too. But the original is still the one in Memphis.
The Peabody is a luxury hotel. We Burnses aren’t exactly luxury hotel people. Nothing wrong with luxury hotels, of course. It is just that we aren’t exactly the luxurious type of folks. Most any place with a bed and a shower will do. Well, that isn’t exactly true - we have been to some places that fell a bit below our standards. Maybe we should add “insect-free” to the list.
So perhaps the luxury was a bit lost on us, but we still had a fun time checking everything out, looking out the window at the view of Downtown Memphis. We could see the FedEx Forum, home of the Memphis Grizzlies NBA team, from our window, and AutoZone Park, home of the Memphis Redbirds baseball team, is just across the street. In fact, on Friday night the lobby was full of baseball fans trying to wait out the rain before the baseball game started. As it turns out, the game was postponed until the next day. I don’t think the Peabody minded, because all those people seemed to be enjoying beverages of some sort while they waited.
We also got to eat in Capriccio Grill, one of the restaurants in the hotel. We had a gift card to the restaurant that was for dinner for two, not including alcoholic drinks, which wasn’t a problem for us because we don’t drink that stuff anyway. The waiter came to take our order, and I asked him what we could get with the gift card. He said, “You can have whatever you want, besides alcohol. If you want three courses, I will bring you three courses. If you want ten courses, I will bring you ten courses.” Wow! They could really lose some money on some people with that. Fortunately for them, we aren’t huge eaters, so we each had a main course and a dessert. It was all good, if a bit more fancy than what we are used to eating.
And while we aren’t necessarily all into the luxury thing, it was pretty neat to be able to stay at a historic place. I thought about calling all my friends to say, “Hey, guess where we are!” But I didn’t, because that wouldn’t be in good taste, would it?
We did do the whole waiting to see the ducks thing. They walked in. We saw it. Another one of those things to say we did, although it wasn’t a big earth-shaking event of any kind.
The other thing I wanted to do was to visit the roof, or the Skyway as they call it. They have concerts and weddings and such up there, and the view is pretty neat, too. On a 9th grade school field trip to Downtown Memphis, we had stopped at the Peabody, and a friend and I went up to the roof while we were there. I had remembered the great views, so that was why I wanted to go again. And the views were still good.
We had a fun time staying in a high class place and feeling all fancy. Pretty cool to say we have stayed at the Peabody.