Memphis: Graceland: Platinum tour: opinions?

Aug 17th, 2004, 05:44 PM
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Memphis: Graceland: Platinum tour: opinions?

Will welcome any stories, observations, about the platinum tour, vs. the regular tour, of Graceland.
Elizabeth is offline  
Aug 17th, 2004, 06:38 PM
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I visited Graceland about 4 years ago. It was a great experience. Took the platinum tour, which also includes the car collection and the two private jets. I thought it was worth the extra money, particularly since may never have another opportunity to visit Graceland. The audio tour of Graceland is well done but keep in mind that you can pause the tape and enjoy it at your own pace. So I would suggest that once you get inside Graceland you pause the tape and let the group you enter with go ahead (btw you start the tour across the street and a shuttle bus drives you up to the front door), this will allow you to get a better look at the rooms, most of which are smaller than you probably imagine - the scale of the house is more human than the monsterous mansions built today. While by no means am I a big Elvis fan, I found the tour of Graceland surprisingly moving.
nohomers is offline  
Aug 30th, 2004, 07:37 AM
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I just returned from my road trip that included a stop at Graceland. We did the Platinum tour and would do it again, if only to look at his cars. Amazing. I agree with the poster about letting the tour go ahead and taking the audio tour at your own pace. I had two little kids with me, so this wasn't that easy, but still. The tour was very moving to me, too. I went to Graceland as a child when Elvis was living there and waited for him to drive by, and he did not. So to be whisked through those famous gates was just a very strange experience. Obviously there is a lot of tacky stuff here. He had this guady 1970s taste, and the tv set in the dining room etc. are over the top. But you really do get the sense of how incredibly talented and popular he was. The trophy room with its almost endless gold records lining the walls, and the flower tributes by his grave from all over the world, just are very moving. And as tacky as everything in the gift shop was, it didn't stop me from dropping a bunch of cash.
sfamylou is offline  
Nov 5th, 2004, 10:32 AM
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Followup answer to my own question: I took the Platinum Tour and am very glad I did.

We were alone some of the time in Elvis' bigger airplane. This alone was worth the higher ticket price. It allowed a kind of free field for reflecting on the real person who travelled on the plane, slept in its fancy bedroom, etc.

I agree with anyone who said Graceland is very moving. I hope to go back. I went on the early side, around 10:30 am, in October, and it was not super-crowded.
Elizabeth is offline  
Jan 11th, 2005, 08:18 AM
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Just booked a last minute trip to Memphis for MLK weekend! Not a huge Elvis fan but have to go to Graceland - wouldn't have done platinum tour but you have all persuaded me! I'm going to stay in downtown Sat/Sun but hotel is booked on Fri. Since I'm going to Graceland anyway, was thinking of staying Fri night in the Elvis Hotel! Does anyone know anything about this? Is it kitschy in sort of a fun Elvis way or is it not nice?
SusanC is offline  
Jan 11th, 2005, 08:32 AM
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Well, I don't know about the Elvis Hotel, but since you are going to be in Memphis over the MKL weekend I hope that you plan to visit the Civil Rights Museum on S. Main Street. It would be most fitting.

Meme is offline  
Jan 11th, 2005, 09:44 AM
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Susan - Graceland is fun, but I'd NEVER advise anyone to stay at the Heartbreak Hotel. Though there are lots of folks at Graceland during the day, the neighborhood is very iffy and I definitely wouldn't want to be there at night.
SusanCS is offline  
Jan 11th, 2005, 07:18 PM
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Thanks Susan! Along same idea of safety...I have a reservation at the Sleep Inn (can't beat $60 for what is described as a better than avg hotel!). My question is regarding safety of appears to be a few blocks from Beale/Peabody area and guide books all say downtown is desolate outside of Beale/Peabody. Will this be an OK walk for me? I live in NYC and am very comfortable walking alone late at night but then again, I'm used to a million people on the street at all hours!
SusanC is offline  
Jan 12th, 2005, 05:21 AM
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Susan - I looked on my pitiful little tourist map of downtown Memphis and it looks to me like the trolley runs right in front (or maybe to the side) of the Sleep Inn, so you should be in great shape. My brother-in-law and his wife have stayed at that hotel and really like it.

Memphis does a WONDERFUL job of having a big police presence and volunteer "greeters" all over the place. Have fun!!!
SusanCS is offline  
Jan 18th, 2005, 09:05 AM
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I took the platinum tour! I have never been a huge fan (not an anti fan either but a bit too young to have had a strong impression of him one way or another). I agree w/ the posters - the house was much more modest (both on scale as well as furnishings and taste) than I expected. I also was moved and even teared up at the grave site. He seemed like a genuine nice person who died way too young. Thinking that the tour might not be the most objective, I'm going to do some more reading...and also buy some of his music!
SusanC is offline  
Jan 18th, 2005, 09:16 AM
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Susan - How was the Sleep Inn? Did you have a chance to get down to Beale Street?
SusanCS is offline  
Jan 19th, 2005, 10:45 AM
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Susan - yes I went to Beale all 3 nights! I'm going to do a trip report but in meantime, here is the post re the hotel that I put on a different thread about hotels downtown.

Message: Just got back from my 3 days in Memphis - stayed in the Sleep Inn ($79 corp rate, I think reg is $89[my earlier $60 was wrong]). Decent facilities, many rooms have good views (I requested a river view; the other option is the park view), convenient and relatively cheap parking at $5/day (this is an issue in downtown), better than average breakfast and right on Main Street Trolley. Right next to another hotel and the Madison Hotel is around the corner so there are other people around (theoretically)

I have to admit though, that I thought it was uncomfortable walking around. It's not that the Sleep Inn is in a bad part of downtown, it's just (as CD said), outside of Peabody Hotel and Beale Street the area is very desolate. Even at 10am Saturday morning, the place was a bit deserted! At least 50% of the stores are shuttered, some of the operating ones aren't open on weekends and there were some vacant lots and construction sites. Plus it was very cold which further discourages people from walking around (so if you are here in summer it may be better). I live in NYC, have no problem taking the subway alone at 4am and I work in community banking so often go to economically depressed areas but this was more stark than anything I remember. Nobody did anything menacing and I don't know if it really is dangerous or not but it was a bit scary. That being said, I did go out on Beale St until after midnight all 3 nights and made it home safely.

Re other options:
The new Madison Hotel was recommended to me as being more downtown - available on Expedia for $159. I considered but since I'm not really that into "boutique" hotels, I decided it wasn't worth the additional $$. Good thing as it was less than a minute away from the Sleep Inn! So don't stay there for the location but rather for the boutique experience.

The Peabody also had (only) one night available for $159 - - although twice the price, this would be a good value for the money if this was available the whole time!

There are several chains across st from Peabody (Radisson etc)that are mid priced.

The Sleep Inn was less than 10 minutes on the main street from the Peabody and near 2 other hotels (including the swanky Madison). As I said, it's not in a bad area, but you should be aware. It probably is the best value (other than Peabody at $159!).

SusanC is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2005, 12:58 PM
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Hi Susan I am glad you got to Graceland and were able to have a real experience of it. If you want to read about Elvis I really really really recommend Peter Guralnick's biography. It is sublime writing and extraordinarily researched; it's a great piece of biography writing irrespective of it (wonderful) subject.

It's in 2 volumes, so you can see how you like it from volume 1, Last Train to Memphis. I also highly recommend disc 1 of the 3-disc "1968 Comeback Special" dvd. It's Elvis at his most perfect.

I stayed at the Sleep Inn too - got the reco from a NY Times travel article. I liked it. I also live in NYC, have since the dangerous 70s, and I also fely as you did about the location - just a little uneasy when I was all alone. But between that nice trolley and taxis when I felt the need, I was fine. Dying to go back.

Elizabeth is offline  
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