It was just over a year ago that I first visited the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center for the BlissDom conference. It was unlike any hotel I had ever experienced. I couldn’t wait to return with my family later in the year.
And then… devastation. On May 1, 2010, Opryland Resort- and much of Nashville- was underwater. As photos and information appeared it was obvious that the resort would be closed for quite some time.
Recently I returned to the Gaylord Opryland for the 2011 BlissDom conference. While I found much changed, the heart of the resort remained.
Changes in the Cascades Lobby
The Cascades Lobby, one of the lowest points of the hotel, the flood waters reached 10 feet- almost to the top the the pillars just below the stained glass dome.
New, sleek pillars have replaced the Roman columns, but the most noticeable difference is the disappearance of the concierge desk, which used to sit below the dome. In its place is a breathtaking hand blown glass sculpture titled “Resurgence”; brilliant flowers in jewel tones bursting powerfully upward. The accompanying plaque reads:“Flowers are our companions throughout life’s journey, our inspiring and faithfully returning friends. This exuberant creation’s infinite colors and shapes, representing a range from buds to full blossoms parallel the unlimited resurgence and rebirth of the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center.”
Another update in the lobby is the opening of a second check in area to help streamline guest check-in. This was very apparent as there were three conferences happening when I visited, yet my time at check-in was under 5 minutes. Take a moment to notice the obelisks on the counter. They subtly change color; this helps the desk clerks to know how long a check-in is taking.
In the Cascades the Cascades Bar was replaced by The Falls Bar, its edges guided by the path the Cascade Bar followed along its rotation. The Cocoa Bean, a new coffee spot, welcomes you to relax with comfortable seating, gourmet coffees, fresh pastry and delicious sandwiches.
The trio of restaurants in the Conservatory , where the water covered the tables and place setting floated gently, have been replaced by Ravello- fine Italian dining, Solario- upscale casual Mexican cuisine, and the Conservatory Bar- nestled in between, featuring international wines and mixed drinks. Can’t decide which restaurant to dine at? Stay in the Conservatory Bar and order from both!
The popular Jack Daniel’s Saloon will reopen soon in the Magnolia wing of the hotel, across from Findley’s Irish Pub.
Amazingly only 115 guest rooms in the lower Delta level were flooded. These rooms were torn down to the studs and completely restored. While the resort was closed the entire Magnolia wing was refreshed and updated with new furniture and a contemporary feel. The new desks- with multiple outlets- were a welcome update to this traveler!
Photos, except those attributed to Gaylord Opryland, by JLHalstedJody Halsted shares her family’s travel tips
at Family Rambling. Her girls recently experienced
the Gaylord Opryland for the first time.