On the Road

Getaway: The Memphian Hotel

By: Hannah Lee Leidy

Set in the heart of Memphis’ Overton Square, the Memphian Hotel opened in May 2021. The space presents a playful tribute to the area that surrounds it. Reflecting the neighborhood’s arts scene, the space is full of bright, irreverent paintings and installations, from a chandelier crafted from fishing bobbers to the subtle nudity hidden in the restaurant’s wallpaper. Variegated glass separates the bright pops of color found in the hotel lobby from the green accents and blonde wood floors of the restaurant, Complicated Pilgrim. There, guests find a smart, casual space to eat, drink, and lounge from breakfast through after-dinner drinks.

The seven-story space is topped with a speakeasy-like rooftop bar and event space, Tiger and Peacock. In the lobby, a curated retail shop peddles crystal-studded sunglasses, Elvis prayer candles, and tiger pillows, among other travel goods. Attracting locals and hotel guests alike, the Memphian has quickly become a hot spot on the square.

The Neighborhood around the Memphian Hotel

Overton is where Memphis goes for music when they want to avoid the crowds on Beale Street. It’s also home to Ballet Memphis and Playhouse on the Square, each just a block from the hotel. Across the street are chef Kelly English’s top-rated spots, Restaurant Iris and Second Line.

The Memphian’s Food Scene

Lobby restaurant Complicated Pilgrim moves from lounge space to bar to a window-wrapped dining room. But throughout, it maintains a quirky, yet locally focused theme. Cocktails like the Thespian, a play on the aperol spritz, and the Savid, a tribute to a once-famous local horror show host, give Memphis some love. Meanwhile, the dishes go big on flavor, from the fettunta—charred ciabatta shmeared with ricotta and topped with a bright radicchio, radish, and herb salad—to the chili garlic shrimp, swimming in a buttery, mouth-numbing sauce. And don’t skip the kung pao brussels sprouts topped with crunchy peanuts. On the seventh floor, Tiger and Peacock is the place to go for cocktails, light tapas, and a view. A massive taxidermy of the colorful namesake bird hangs behind the bar, while other animals pop out from unexpected places. Low-lit chandeliers give everything a sultry, speakeasy vibe. The space also hides a private Champagne room and sightlines that stretch all the way to downtown.

The Digs at the Memphian Hotel

The 106 modern rooms are outfitted with pillow-top beds and funky artwork, plus pink velvet and cheetah print accents. Tall windows framed by floor-length drapes gaze out over the square and each stylish bathroom is accented by subway tile showers. Look for the LaVazza coffee station as well as reusable bottles to be used at the communal water stations on each floor.

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