This year (as with many of the ones that come as you age) I wasn’t particularly excited about my birthday. I am not a birthday Scrooge or anything, but I did not really want to do much besides hang out with Shelby since I was coming off of Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Small Business Saturday as a new retailer. That was until a friend suggested we visit the Guest House at Graceland. YES! It has been open just a few months, if that, and has been long awaited in the neighborhood. Now, those of you who read this blog know that I am very familiar with Whitehaven (golfing, family members, dining, Al Green’s church), but it can be intimidating for tourists and there haven’t been any real upscale options for them to pass time in the area. Until now.
I have a (nearly) full report. I plan to go back and try out the other bars/restaurants, and I hear they have karaoke on Wednesdays in EP’s Bar and Grill, but I really cased the place while I was there this first time.
When you arrive, you are stopped at a guardhouse and asked your reason for visiting. We were a little surprised, but happy to see that they take security seriously. They even wrote down the license plate number to the car.
I basically skipped across the parking lot to the side door where we entered. The first thing I saw was a close replica of the entry hall at Graceland, with the same blue and gold curtains and chandelier.
You pass Shake, Rattle, and Go, which is the grab and go deli for visitors. Love the name! It was closed at the time, but I expect it is nothing terribly special - just a place for a quick bite or coke. Regardless, it is a nice amenity for the hotel guests.
We brush past EP’s Bar and Grill and head straight to the lobby, all decked out for Christmas. I posted a picture of this on my Instagram to which one friend commented that it looked like where Dr. Evil would live. I can see it. The chairs have an unusual shape with the sides swooping up (which I later found out was a design decision to make them resemble Elvis’ shirt collars) and there is a mirrored geometric ceiling design that reminds me of a UFO coming to beam me up.
Around to the side of the lobby, opposite the check in and visitor services, is the lobby bar. It is lovely. Fairly understated, everything is basically shades of gray and uses light and mirrors to give it personality. Doors open off this bar to show a back patio with seating that will be lovely when the weather is nice. Until then it will be people smoking and making out, of which I saw both kinds.
We walked all the way through the lobby to see the sizeable gift shop, Delta’s Kitchen restaurant, and a movie theater at the far end of the building. I hoped it would show Elvis movies all day long, but apparently not. I figure it is actually for conventions or something. Throughout you will see seating areas and art. Well, art for Elvis fans like blown up photos of his belt buckles and outfits.
Feeling satisfied with our research, we went back and settled on dinner and drinks at EP’s. We expected it to be a little on the expensive side because of where we were, but the nice part about it was that the food was actually pretty good and portions were generous. Drinks, too. Some of them had clever names like “Kid Galahad Punch” although, for the most part, they kept it low on the cheesiness factor. I LOVED our bartender. I peppered her with questions about stories and guests and she happily answered. I wanted to leave my number so she could call me on the occasion that any sexy tourist strangers sidled up to the bar, but left without doing so. I’ll be back, though. I’m curious about the New Year’s Eve crowd there.
One thing we didn’t get to explore is a special room for the Founder’s Club and of course we asked how much you have to pay to join. The highest level is THIRTY THOUSAND DOLLARS. Wow. Elvis is evidently still the king.