Memphis was very hot during Elvis week this year, but it didn’t seem to slow down any of the hardy folks in town to celebrate. In spite of there being no significant event to honor (like the 50th anniversary of “That’s All Right” last year), we had dozens of cool events to choose from.If I had the money, I’d pay $500 a night to stay in the “Burning Love” suite. No, at my age, it would probably be smarter to stay in the “Gold and Platinum” suite with all that 50’s decor. What a party you could host in there.
You can walk to Graceland and Graceland Plaza from Heartbreak Hotel, so it’s a winner. However, when it comes to the Official Host Hotel For Elvis Week, size is more important than proximity. Located about 10-12 minutes from Graceland, right off Interstate 240, is the Memphis Marriott East. With 320 rooms, it dwarfs Heartbreak Hotel with 128. Now, the Memphis Marriott East has become the Official Elvis Week Host Hotel for the first time. It’s been there for 20 years, so you might wonder why it took so long to discover its advantages.
The main one it offers is plenty of ballroom space. The large Cotillion Ballroom and the Pyramid Ballroom (named for the landmark Memphis arena) will contain a wide assortment of Elvis-related events this year. You could stay at the Memphis Marriott East for four days and never leave the building, and still do enough fun Elvis things to have a totally satisfying visit (although a trip to Graceland for the tour, or some shopping, or the Candlelight Vigil would really top it off). Look at this condensed list of events at the Host Hotel:
Thursday, the 11th:
Fan Forum with various EPE personnel – Free
Friday, the 12th
Elvis Insiders Meet & Greet – Free (to Elvis Insiders Club members)
Elvis Merchandise and Memorabilia Showroom – Free (but open to Elvis Insiders Club members only).
Candlelight Wine Dinner sponsored by Graceland Cellars — $75
Saturday, the 13th
Elvis Insiders Conference (all-day event with a great line-up of speakers, videos, never-before-released songs, a panel of Elvis family members, clips from the Broadway hit “All Shook Up,” and more. $37
Elvis Merchandise and Memorabilia Showroom — $10 (free to Elvis Insiders Club members)
Concert by Terry Mike Jeffrey with The Imperials — $40
Sunday, the 14th
A Good Rockin’ “Elvis Day” Festival sponsored by Elvis International, The Magazine (an all-day event open to everyone, featuring “Conversations on Elvis” panel, a charity auction of rare memorabilia, a killer line-up of Elvis Tribute Artists, and the Elvis Merchandise and Memorabilia Showroom) — $28 general admission, $45 reserved seating
Elvis Merchandise and Memorabilia Showroom only — $10
Dance Party with Andy Childs — $30
With an impressive line-up like that, the Memphis Marriott East certainly deserves the title of Official Host Hotel for Elvis Week. You know the ad on TV where somebody says, “I’ve got some really good news.” Mine is that immediately after posting this Elvisblog article, I head to the airport to start a three-day visit to Elvis Week… and I’ll be staying at the official Host Hotel. I plan to have a ball.
© 2005 Philip R Arnold