MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Opening a hotel during a pandemic can be risky business.
But it hasn’t stopped several hotels from opening their doors downtown.
Memphis Tourism said things are going better than you might expect.
“Memphis has had a smart growth hotel plan that Memphis Tourism, Downtown Memphis Commission and the city of Memphis worked on to make sure we have larger full-service hotels, “ said Kevin Kern with Memphis Tourism. “We’re starting to see that with the advent of the opening of the Canopy and the Hyatt Centric.”
The Hyatt Centric is the only hotel on Beale that’s just recently opening.
It’s one of three that will open as part of the One Beale project and it fits the plan of a larger hotel with 227 rooms.
Across from AutoZone Park on Union is the Canopy by Hilton that’s also open -- it has 174 rooms.
The Ambassador Hotel was built in 1915 and closed for 60 years.
It is much smaller and very different from the larger hotels but it’s now open.
“They’re short-term stay like a hotel except they have full kitchens and a Sherman dryer, “ said Jeff Martin, Ambassador Hotel. “We have 8 one bedrooms and 2 two bedrooms.”
The hotel has 10 renovated rooms in all as well as a restaurant.
The Memphis Central station hotel opened in 2019 not too long before the pandemic hit.
Apparently, it’s good to be in Memphis.
“Memphis has actually outpaced the national average in terms of occupancy in the US. There are weeks and weekends when we outpaced Tampa Florida,” said Kevin Kern with Memphis tourism.
That’s where Busch Gardens and other tourist attractions are.
Kern said the fact that Memphis is a day drive from much of the US makes it very accessible.
He said there is a lot to see in Memphis with much of it being outside adventures like Beale Street, the zoo and the Mississippi River.
Kern said the hotels planned for downtown in the next year or so will help attract even more conventions to the new $200 million renovation of the Renasant Convention Center that is already hosting events but not quite ready for its grand opening.
The National Travel and Tourism Job Fair is scheduled in Memphis at the convention center on May 4th.
It could be an opportunity for people looking for jobs in the hotel industry.