As part of a summer series, T+L is highlighting amazing lesser-known attractions found in the United States. Next up: Nashville's largest, most over-the-top hotel.
Like a city within a city, Nashville’s massive Gaylord Opryland Hotel comes with “everything in one place,” as its official slogan states. Clocking in with almost 3,000 rooms, 16 restaurants, and covering more than 700,000 square feet of meeting space, the idea behind this resort is that guests can have everything they need under a single roof. There’s also a golf course, Gaylord Springs Golf Links, just down the road from the property. Past guests have included a number of presidents (and first ladies), including Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, Ronald and Nancy Reagan, and George and Barbara Bush, just to name a few.
If you happen to visit in winter, one of the most popular aspects of Gaylord Opryland is the nine acres of gardens cared for by a team of 40 horticulturists — four of which spend nearly six months preparing for the property’s legendary Christmas displays alone, which attracts more than a million visitors to see the display of lights, Christmas trees, and poinsettias.
When hunger strikes, the best place to eat is the Old Hickory Steakhouse, which impresses with its tall columns and verandas overlooking the hotel’s indoor river (yes, you read that correctly). Try the delicious crème brûlée if you’re not too full from the cheese tray appetizer and massive steaks.
Off property, a visit to the Grand Ole Opry House is a must, to experience the city’s world famous music scene. Don’t be surprised if a country legend or two shows up in a traditional sequined outfit and snakeskin cowboy boots to sing, as these unannounced visits happen more often than not.
The most fun way to finish up your stay is by riding down the Cumberland River on the General Jackson showboat, a steamboat that departs close to the hotel. Guests can have a sit-down meal with an accompanying show and an unmatched view of Music City while you eat. From $170; marriott.com.