On our recent visit to Memphis, Tennessee, we stayed at the Starwood (SPG) Westin Memphis Beale Street Hotel. Located on 170 Lt George W. Lee Avenue, it is a block away from Beale Street – one of the cities’ most famous thoroughfares boasting fine dining, clubbing, shopping and a buzzing nightlife.
The multi-storied, centrally-located, contemporary-styled building offers four room options namely the Executive Suite, Junior Suite, Traditional Two Queen and Traditional King. We chose the hotel because it is new and wouldn’t have plumbing or electricity issues and because it is on a quiet street yet has proximity to the world-famous Beale Street. This Boulevard has so much to offer; specifically appealing to us were the museums, the Gibson guitar factory, and the FedEx Forum. For some, the Memphis Zoo and Pink Palace family of Museums are the go-to places. In addition, not to be forgotten is Graceland, the home of legendary Elvis Presley the King of Rock.
The week that we stayed there, the property was overrun by Kansas City Chiefs fans that had arrived in town to watch the Sugar Bowl and support their team. However, this family-friendly hotel, close to the Mississippi River and a host of attractions is an excellent location for foreigners, locals and out-of-state tourists alike.
The moderately sized lobby had neutral hues with modern decorations. The most distinctive piece in the lobby was the attractive display of Gibson guitars, meant to attract visitors to the museum across the street. The lobby has only two working elevators, which can at times create a mini clog, especially when the hotel is overwhelmed by sports fans.
We had requested a feather free bedding and quiet room before our stay and contacted the front desk management to ensure we got the accommodations requested. We arrived in the early evening and checked in relatively quickly. The lobby is decorated in modern hues of whites and creams and was stylish and minimalistic with comfortable couches provided to sit.
We booked our room with two traditional queen beds since we were traveling with our sons.
The room was carpeted and decorated in hues of greenish gray. The walls were wallpapered in cool tones of green and gray. There was also some artwork on the wall. There is a fabric upholstered lounge chair and an Ottoman in green leather facing the windows showcasing a great view the city from nine stories up.
The two queen-sized beds were comfortable as was the black leather chair supplied for the desk. There was adequate lighting in the room provided by standing lamps. We appreciated the electric splitter that allowed us to charge multiple devices at the same time. The room had a large mirror and a reasonably big closet with an ironing board and iron. The room also had two phones and a recharging iPad station.
In the center of the room was a chest of drawers with three deep drawers offering ample storage for guests’ belongings and a surcharge mini-fridge stacked with alcoholic drinks. There was a small Mr.Coffee machine and an area for coffee cups. As SPG Gold members we received complimentary water and free wifi. The TV screen was 32 inch with good viewing throughout the room however the hotel only provides a limited number of channels.
The air conditioning was placed at the end of the room away from the beds which we thought was a good idea.
An unusual feature of this room was its incredibly high ceilings which would be an advantage for tall guests. This fact was, however, somewhat of an inconvenience in our case as everything seemed to be out of reach, including the safe in the closet.
The bathroom was decorated with big tan colored tiles and green wallpaper. The room had four lights, more than adequate for the spacious area. The shower was nice, but the hand-held attachment and overheard rain shower feature were too high up. We liked the sizeable grab bars in both the shower and the bath. The commode was separate, and there was a standing vanity table constructed out of dark wood with a granite countertop and sink. The bathroom even had a clothesline to dry clothes which came in very handy. They provided a standard amenity kit with shampoo, conditioner, body lotion and shower gel.
Robes and slippers are provided upon request. We received them after we contacted housekeeping.
The onsite Bleu Restaurant is themed around southern hospitality, decorated with warm orange colors accented by bright blue lights. The Bleu Restaurant serves seafood items such as salmon stir fry and catfish. Our family booked the restaurant for New Year’s Eve. The experience was slightly frustrating because the dishes came at an uneven pace and were all on the small size, to the point that when we had completed our dinner, we were still hungry. The entire experience cost us more than $200, and the service was a tad beyond adequate.
The following morning we came to give the venue another time. As we discovered, the portions were larger, but the service level, unfortunately, did not change and could use an upgrade.
There is also a Hotel Lobby Bar and Starbucks in the venue. For more budget oriented travelers, there is also a mini-mart that sells snacks
For those wanting to get some exercise in during the trip, the hotel offers the Westin Workout Fitness Studio. Here in the studio, visitors will find a variety of modern exercise equipment. The venue will also provide New Balance running shoes to guests in their requested sizes.
Pricing starts at $255 and includes access to the refreshment center and 24-hour room service. SPG members get free internet, but all other guests pay $7-$13 per day for access. Be aware that the parking is $20 per car per day, which is a bit steep in our opinion.
What Worked and Didn’t Work
What worked for us was the central location and proximity to Beale Street. Our family enjoyed walking around trying some famous eateries.
What didn’t work was that the housekeeping dropped the ball on us. We had requested a feather-free room because of serious allergies and we still found feathers in the room. It took almost two hours to get the proper bedding. The housekeeping also did not replenish the room amenities in a timely manner.
Autism Travel Tips:
- There is a handy self-explanatory lock and deadbolt higher up on the door which is a good safety feature.
- The windows do not open, a good safety measure.
- For the noise-sensitive who need a quiet room, check the Stadium schedule. If there are games planned for the time you book, request a room facing away from the stadium.
- Bring your own anti-slip bath mat for the shower.
- If you or a family member have any specific allergies to feathers or chemicals make sure you not only mention it several times at booking but plan to arrive early in case things don’t go as planned and housekeeping needs to get involved.
- The surcharge mini-bar does not have space for anything else, so be aware that you may be able to store certain medicines in there but make a different plan for storing perishable products.