Nashville, TN

Our Experience Staying at the Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville, Tennessee

Rachel Yerks

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Over the past weekend, my boyfriend and I took an overnight trip to Nashville, Tennessee. From our apartment on the outskirts of Cincinnati, the drive took 4 hours each way. We neglected to realize there was a time difference, which made us arrive far too early to check into our hotel, but they let us in regardless.

My boyfriend paid for the hotel as a Valentine's Day gift. We decided to go Sunday night, as rates would be slightly lower than going for a "typical" weekend. Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center is well-known for its inside decor. Hotel rooms facing into the resort are $50 more expensive than those facing outwards. For reference, here's what the inside looks like:

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We opted for an outward/exterior-facing room because we figured we wouldn't be in the hotel room for much time at all, which turned out to be correct. The room was small, but the queen bed was firm and comfortable. We used our minifridge for water and cream soda. The bathroom had a very nice shower. Our view out the window was not impressive at the least, and that was fine with us.

If you do want an interior-facing room, I suggest buying an exterior-facing room and then taking the upgrade they offer you at check-in. You'll likely get a better deal.

Resort Features

The resort has endless walking paths to get around, and you will be exhausted if you try to explore the entire resort in one day. By the end of the day, I pulled a hamstring and was limping around. I recommend staying for two nights if you truly want to see it all without exhausting yourself.

Landscape

The key selling point of the resort is its landscaping. The resort itself is absolutely covered in greenery and exotic trees and plants. On the walkway, we discovered a clementine tree! You can watch koi fish swimming in the pond, or sit on a bench behind a waterfall. It truly is beautiful and feels like you're in a nature retreat. Once you get away from the entrance you'll rarely run into anyone on the paths within the resort.

If you journey outside the building, you'll find their winter wonderland display and the Magnolia Gardens, both of which are covered in dazzling festive lights. The winter display includes two ice rinks and skate rentals, but the weekend we went it was quite warm in Nashville and the ice definitely did not look stable to us. Still, we watched many other people enjoy it.

If you want to go to the Magnolia Gardens to see the lights, they offer horse and carriage rides. We decided to look from afar, but that is an option if you want the experience.

Food Options

During the day, we went to the Delta Island section of the resort, which boosted little eateries and bars, the majority of which we closed due to the pandemic. My boyfriend had a disappointing slice of pizza and I had a croissant that was okay. We decided to eat outside the resort for the remainder of our trip to get the best food. The food was edible, but when in Nashville, you should really be trying all the local gems, not the tourist food!

The resort does have some fancier, high-quality restaurants outside of Delta Island, but for reference, they sell a $24 pulled pork slider at their Jack Daniel's Restaurant. We went to a local BBQ spot {Peg Leg Porker} and got an amazing pulled pork slider for $6. Save your money.

Shops

The resort does have some retail shops scattered around the park, mostly near the pool and on Delta Island. They sell souvenirs, postcards, and clothing. They were open in the late afternoon when we arrived on our first day, but when we checked out of the hotel around noon they were closed. If you want postcards, make sure to get them in the evening.

Experiences

We did not indulge in the following experiences, but we did poke around and investigate. The spa is very large and looks quite fancy. Nothing within our budget, of course. If you want a massage or some kind of treatment during your trip while your kids run around the resort, it may be worth checking out...

Waterpark

...which brings us to the waterpark. The waterpark looked quite fun, which huge waterslides and a lazy river streaming throughout. We were able to peek in through a seating area near the arcade since they wouldn't let us in without paying an additional fee. Although my partner loves waterparks, we decided it wasn't a safe option as it was completely packed and no one wore masks even when out of the water.

They do have a few pools on location, but they are not the highlight. They look like the pools at your local YMCA. A few lifeguards were holding a training session when we peeked in, and we only saw two people swimming. The outdoor pools did appear to be open, though they had some ice chunks and a "no lifeguard on duty" swim at your own risk sign was prominently displayed.

Overall Experience

My boyfriend and I both enjoyed the trip immensely. We were out and about, hitting up over seven restaurants in our brief 30-hour visit. We enjoyed our time in the resort at night far more than during the daytime. The crowds were gone and we had the place to ourselves and watched a night fountain show.

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The resort itself was lit up beautifully at night. If you are considering going to the resort, we highly recommend it for the greenery and nighttime strolls. If you're looking to shop, go to the bar, or eat at the resort, don't go during pandemic times. Many, many options were closed, but as we didn't have much interest in them anyway, it didn't bother us.

P.S: The resort is very close to The Grand Old Opry if you want to catch a show or tour the grounds as we did. If you aren't able to get tickets to their evening show, they have many great photo spots and a cute gift shop to enjoy instead.

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