The ARRIVE Memphis hotel is a design-led boutique property in the resurgent South Main Arts District of Memphis, Tennessee.
Fortuitously, the district retained its brickwork buildings with characterful facades. Many of them were constructed at the beginning of the 20th century. Today, several are occupied by boutique stores and stylish food and drink businesses which help give South Main an upbeat buzz.
A chic addition to the city’s accommodation options, ARRIVE Memphis opened in November 2019. Hindsight means we now know that the Covid-19 virus was then already beginning to spread. Due to the ensuing pandemic, the next couple of years would prove a testing time for the travel and hospitality industries.
Thankfully this welcoming hotel survived its infancy. The pleasantly eclectic lobby has a cosy, living room-like feel and attracts Memphians for remote working and coffee from Hustle and Dough. They order their drinks from a counter next to the hotel check-in desk.
Mingle among the busy Memphians by ordering a drink an choosing a seat – your options include a leather pouffe, a spot on a sofa and orange armchairs. Gaze towards the wall and you’ll see a bird’s eye plan depicting Memphis in bygone times. Steamboats belch smoke while chugging along the Mississippi River.
The aesthetic throughout the hotel proved quirky enough to make me pause intermittently to allow it to soak in. At the same time, the interior spaces are harmonic and inviting. That’s true both as a place to hang out and as a location to clip wowing Instagram snaps.
Carpet-like patterns on the floor and walls of the elevator prompted me to wait for a moment, in appreciation, before stepping inside. On each of the hotel’s five floors, the wall opposite the elevator doors announces the level and features a music-inspired quote by one of the legendary names associated with the city. They include Johnny Cash, B.B. King and Elvis Presley.
The upholstered pool room of Graceland, Presley’s Memphis home, is a source of inspiration for the Arrive Memphis’ poker room.
The hotel has four categories of guestroom: Studio, Bigger Studio, Double (with two double beds) and Corner Loft. Most visitors to Memphis travelling alone or with their partner are likely to find that the Studio rooms are sufficiently ample. They cover an area of 308 square feet (29 square metres) and have a king-size bed.
Delightfully comfortable, the beds are decked in high-grade Egyptian cotton sheets. Yet given the region’s long heritage of cotton production, it’s perhaps surprising that the material is not locally sourced. Less than a mile away, the Cotton Museum at the Memphis Cotton Exchange, conveys the story of the crop’s production and trading.
I stayed in a Studio Room and enjoyed the experience. A patterned rug partially covers the polished concrete floor of the bedroom. The concrete proved cold on my feet as I padded across the floor, making me wish that I’d packed slippers.
There’s a touch of post-industrial minimalism in the aesthetic of the bedrooms. That’s offset by retro-influenced patterned wallpaper. Neutral colours are employed harmoniously in the curtains and wood-panelling. Natural light floods into the room when the curtains are pulled back to reveal the exposed brickwork of the wall beneath the window.
A leather swivel chair stands ready to use by the work desk over which an Apple television is mounted. Atop the bedside cabinet sits a Marshall Bluetooth speaker. For silent entertainment, there’s an armchair below a reading lamp.
Bathrobes hang in the wardrobe, which features a well-stocked minibar. The partition dividing the bedroom from the bathroom area slides along to reveal the washbasin.
With a walk-in shower and artwork in the loo, the guestrooms at the ARRIVE Memphis are a delight to spend time in. They’re functional yet feel luxurious.
This is how boutique properties should be. Like the area this hotel is in, the ARRIVE Memphis is inviting, has style and character, and is well worth a visit.
ARRIVE Memphis, 477 South Main Street, Memphis, Tennessee 38103, United States.
Tel: +1 (901) 701-7575
The ARRIVE Memphis hotel is in the South Main Arts District of the city and is approximately half a mile from Beale Street, the principal hub of Memphis’ Downtown nightlife and 11.5 miles northeast of the city’s international airport. Other than in rush hour, the drive to or from the airport typically takes around 15 minutes. Valet parking is available at the hotel.
Type of Hotel: Boutique Hotel
Number of Rooms: 62 rooms, including complimentary Wi-Fi.
Price Band: Medium to high
Insider Tips: A significant location in the USA’s 20th century history is just couple of minutes’ walk from the hotel. On April 4th, 1968, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated outside of room 306 of what was then the Lorraine Motel. The premises have been converted into the National Civil Rights Museum. Set aside at half-day to explore the museum and digest its displays.
Head left out of the hotel’s front door, and you can reach the entrance of the Blues Hall of Fame Museum in just a few paces along.
If you enjoy riding historic forms of public transport, board one of the trams that run along South Main Street. The system is known in Memphis as the trolley.
Tennessee is known for its whiskey distilleries, including Memphis’ Old Dominick Distillery, which is within walking distance of the hotel. If you enjoy cocktails, sample local whiskey in an Old Fashioned.
Memphis is also famed for its nightlife and music heritage. One of the hubs of that scene is Beale Street, a 10 to 15 minute walk from the hotel. Alternatively ride the trolley. Beale Street’s attractions include B.B. King’s Blues Club, the Memphis Music Hall of Fame and the Hard Rock Café.
Reviewer’s Rating: 9/10
Visit the Memphis Travel website for more information about things to do and see in Memphis. The State of Tennessee’s Department of Tourist Development website lists visitor attractions both in and beyond Memphis’ city boundary. UK travellers visiting the USA need a visa or a visa waiver. Visit the official Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) website to apply. Other sites cost considerably more than the official fee of $14.
Stuart Forster is an award-winning freelance writer and photographer specialising in food and travel related features.
Photographs by Stuart Forster