Known as the "South's Grand Hotel," The Peabody Memphis is about to undergo a renovation of all 464 of its guest rooms and suites, with completion slated for the end of the year, just in time for the property's 150th anniversary. This is the next phase in an ongoing property-wide renovation, with the Grand Lobby receiving a facelift in April, with all new furnishings, and the Mezzanine and its surrounding historic meeting rooms and ballrooms renovating last year.
"As a historic hotel of this size and standards, we renovate frequently," said Douglas V. Browne, president, Peabody Hotels & Resorts. "We update meeting space then public areas, guest rooms, and finally food and beverage outlets on a five- to seven-year rotation and then start all over again."
The Peabody Executive Conference Center on the third floor, which contains 12 luxury meeting rooms, and the Grand Ballroom, where Elvis attended his prom, were renovated in 2016.
The Peabody is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was cited by the U.S. Department of the Interior as one of the country's most outstanding preservation case studies. It's also home to the Peabody Marching Ducks, which live in the "Royal Duck Palace" on the hotel's roof. Every day at 11 a.m., they are led by the Duckmaster down the elevator to the fountain in the Grand Lobby, where a red carpet is unfurled and the ducks march through the crowd to John Philip Sousa's King Cotton March. The ducks remain in the lobby until 5 p.m., when the ceremony is reversed and the ducks retire to their rooftop penthouse for the evening.
The original Peabody opened in 1869, a few blocks away from its current location. Today's Peabody opened in 1925 with 625 rooms. In the 1970s, the Belz family bought the property and embarked on a $25 million, four-year restoration. The Grande Dame reopened in 1981, marking the beginning of a downtown renaissance for Memphis.
The hotel contains 80,000 square feet of meeting space that can accommodate groups of 10 to 2,100. The 36 function spaces range from stately, wood-paneled conference rooms with heavy moldings and fireplaces to the 1930s Art Deco-styled Skyway and adjoining Rooftop with its views of the Mississippi River to the ornate Venetian and Continental ballrooms.