Blake Sheldon, Scott McCreery, Charley Pride – a lineup of country music superstars at the famed Grand Ole Opry is enough to raise even my eyebrows. If not country, the Stanley Cup Finals is also underway with my bet on the Nashville Predators.
Indeed, today is a great time to visit Music City but I’m just as content hanging inside the Gaylord Opryland Resort/Convention Center, a staggering hotel that caters to a flood of music, sport and garden fans like me.
As you might recall, in 2010, an epic storm resulted in the biggest economic disaster in the state’s history (see photos below). The Gaylord sustained millions of dollars worth of damage. Fast-forward months of renovation and expansion completed quickly with a $90 million water fun park complex on target for 2018.
I’ve had the good fortune to work in several Gaylord properties, all that extoll the virtues of great hospitality, but this hotel really does go beyond your wildest imaginations.
Amble leisurely under a 30-foot waterfalls without getting wet. Eat a hearty steak among exotic greenery without bugs biting. Take a riverboat tour on a shallow river winding through verdant acres without paying. Marvel at the choreographed movements of the fountain show that rivals the Bellagio without the noise of slots and blackjack tables.
The Nashville showpiece is part greenhouse, part biomes and part confusing. Download the app to navigate the five inner courtyards, each a maze of glass atriums with tropical flora and fauna.
I ventured outside only briefly to run alongside the Cumberland River and then returned quickly to cool off in the hotel pools.