No Vacancy: The Guest House at Graceland
HBG Design reflects on the new 450-key luxury hotel project adjacent to the Elvis Presley mansion.
HBG Design is a Top 10 National Hospitality Design Leader with offices in Memphis Tennessee and San Diego California. The company has designed over 21 million square feet of hospitality and entertainment space in the last 20 years. In this edition of the Hotel Design podcast we are joined by Principal, Mark Weaver FAIA and Melanie Newport Interior Designer, both of whom worked on The Guest House at Graceland, a new 450 room luxury hotel adjacent to the Elvis Presley mansion. The hotel is operated by DreamCatcher Hotels.
The project which has taken 15 years of study is built on the grounds of the former Heartbreak Hotel. Graceland welcomes over 600,000 visitors per year and the design of the property takes cues from the rich catalog of Elvis’s life as a performer, entertainer, his music, stage & film and not forgetting his time as a soldier and family man. Melanie emphasizes the notion that visitors to Graceland are aware of Presley the entertainer but the design facets have given equal attention to the appreciation of smaller details. The overall architectural design is founded upon Southern Hospitality but listeners and visitors to the property alike find a contemporary, modern and tasteful aesthetic which has taken a deliberately non themed approach. Instead, subtle references are incorporated into the design which were guided by Priscilla Presley with whom Melanie worked to an intricate level of detailing. There are classic points of inspiration that will not be lost on any admirer of Elvis, Americana and pop culture, such as the bank of TV’s, The Jungle Room, color palette accents of hot pink and the mid-century modern décor of Elvis’s Palm Springs home. Even shag carpet makes a small but deliberate appearance!
Glenn digs deep into the scale of the task of designing a property with the legacy of one of the most iconic figures of the 20th century. Manufacturer and supplier participation were key with the added complexity of around 80% of all furniture and finishes being custom. Melanie adds the point that the review for scale and proportion of each piece added new layers of approvals and the engagement of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Priscilla and CEO Joel Weinshanker. It might be surprising to learn that there is not a single image of Elvis on the property. The artwork is cleverly inspired with “sneak peaks” – the firm having been given complete access to the catalog of curated archives.
When pushed for his favorite part of the design, Mark chooses the central lobby and it’s ceiling, Melanie is most proud of the suites. The project is brimming with Presley’s style but has a thoughtful 21st Century twist. Enjoy this edition of the podcast, what a daunting challenge to undertake a project of this scale and execute such a successful delivery – the hotel was awarded a Four Diamond rating by AAA just 11 days after opening. Well done indeed to the participants.
It is worth remembering that the US has had 45 Presidents but only one King!
Industry partner Porcelanosa would also like to thank Lina Goldberg and Dana Ramsey.
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