Headed to Memphis...
Always on alert for new vacation ideas that are fun for my whole family, I recently had heard someone mention something about a hotel INSIDE a Bass Pro Shop. I wondered about this because this sounded like a strange place for a hotel. Of course, not being overly interested in outdoor sporting activities, I wondered at the appeal of hotel like this. I mean maybe it could be fun for a guy's weekend or a Father's Day gift but why would staying at Bass Pro Shop be that thrilling? So I did some online research to find out that this interesting accomodation prospect was only one state away from me in Memphis, Tennessee! It looked really nice from pictures, and I saw that is was located inside this huge mirrored pyramid in downtown Memphis. The pyramid seemed really interesting to me and you don't see those everyday in the Deep South. So when coming up with our last minute plans for a short road trip for Fall Break, we decided to head to Memphis to the Big Cypress Lodge and see what this interesting concept was all about!
First of All: The Pyramid!
When you first drive up to the Bass Pro Shop in Memphis, you notice it's very prominent and unusual housing. It is in a large Pyramid! This huge building shaped like a huge glassy-looking Egyptian pyramid sits in downtown Memphis on the banks of the Mississippi River! It was originally built and used as a sports and entertainment venue but eventually after a period of disuse became the home of a Bass Pro Shop. I had wondered what made the city of Memphis want a large pyramid there when it seems so unrelated to that region. A little research showed that the city is named for Memphis, Egypt...hence the pyramid connection.
Big Cypress Lodge
The Big Cypress Lodge is a rustic lodge themed hotel with rooms surrounding the second and third floors of the Bass Pro Shop. There are a variety of room types all with woodland themes. The interior rooms have screened balconies that overlook the Bass Pro Shop. Our family stayed in an interior room with 2 queen beds. There was a large luxurious bathroom with oversized tub and separate shower. Also inside was an electric decorative fireplace that gave the room a cozy feel. The screened in balcony overlooked the store with a pool of fish just below and the sounds of a waterfall right beside us. The screens afforded excellent viewing of the store and its outdoor theme while also offering some privacy. The bedding was also luxurious with down feathers in the pillows and mattress top.
I must say that this lodge reminded me so much of Disney's Wilderness Lodge which I also love.
The staff was very welcoming, friendly and helpful. When we walked into our room, the gift basket full of gourmet goodies was a very welcome touch that made us feel very pampered. They also had a bottled water for each of us waiting in the fridge.
Another nice touch is that a staff member comes around in the evening to bring you a bed time snack. It was fun to get our Mississippi Mud cookies as we were settling in our room for the evening.
The Big Cypress Lodge was such a relaxing place to stay. Sitting with the sound of the waterfall in your ears and watching the fish below from your balcony, you really feel like you are enjoying a peaceful outdoor getaway. It was so relaxing, yet fun knowing you were steps away from bowling, dining and shopping. Even though you are in a hotel inside a retail store you feel like you are off somewhere far in the wilderness...just with luxury and room service!
- Downtown Memphis TN Hotels | Big Cypress Lodge | Tennessee
With large indoor cypress trees and rooms fully immersed in Bass Pro Shops outdoor lifestyle, Big Cypress Lodge is one of the most unique hotels in downtown Memphis.
Bass Pro Shop, Memphis, TN
I have been inside a Bass Pro Shop store before but you really have to see the Memphis store to understand how really amazing it is! Upon first walking inside the Bass Pro Shop at the Pyramid, my family was in awe! Just a visit to the store feels like a vacation in itself. The huge store is filled with soft lighting strung all inside the store. There are many small "ponds" with fish and ducks. There are alligators safely enclosed in tanks for you to view. There is a large aquarium with many fish in the center of the store along with wildlife displays and a waterfall. Also, near the center is a large lighted elevator shaft which leads to the the top of the pyramid for dining or viewing of the Memphis cityscape and the Mississippi River. There is also an underwater themed restaurant and bowling alley on the main level of the store.
The store is made up of many sections to appeal to a variety of shoppers. While obviously the most appealing for men, there is also women's clothing, toys and a snack/fudge shoppe.
Sky High Ride
Another fun option to your experience in the Pyramid is a ride in the tallest free standing elevator in the country located in the center of the Pyramid. The elevator goes up 28 stories to an observation deck and restaurant. As you ride, you get to hear the story of how there came to be a Bass Pro built inside the Memphis Pyramid...you will find out we owe it all to a 30-pound catfish! The lookout decks at the top with glass floors offer expansive views of the Mississippi River, bridge and cityscape. You also have the option to visit the Lookout restaurant and enjoy the aquarium in the center of the bar which is central in the room as well as the city and river views while you dine.
Of note, the elevator ride is $10 per person, though children ages 4-12 can ride for $5 before 4pm. Guests at the Big Cypress Lodge do recieve tickets for the elevator ride for each night they are staying at the hotel.
Worth a Visit!
The Bass Pro Shop in the Pyramid and it's surrounding restaurants and activities are worth a visit just in themselves. However, our stay in the Big Cypress Lodge was so relaxing and fun for our kids that we are planning our next visit already. My 10 year old daughter who loves fish and animals especially loved it....only second to Disney World! I definitely recommend spending a least a weekend at just the Pyramid and longer to go out and enjoy all the attractions the city of Memphis has to offer. I think this would also make a great Father's Day or other occasion gift for the men in your life especially if they love hunting, fishing and outdoors.
Also, Memphis is a city with a lot of other attractions and entertainment options. There is Graceland, Beale Street, Mud Island and the Memphis Zoo to name a few. So with a relaxing and fun home base like the Big Cypress Lodge, you can still have a lot of adventures when you venture out of the Pyramid.
I hope this hub helps you have some new ideas for your vacation options!
Christy Aldridge (author) from MS on June 01, 2018:
Thanks for you comment Liz! Those other hotels sound really awesome as well!
Liz Westwood from UK on May 24, 2018:
Wow! This looks amazing. I've heard that some of the Dubai hotels have aquariums in them, but have never stayed there. The nearest I've been to anywhere like this is the Hilton, Prague, which has a pyramid type glass roof over the central atrium, with rooms looking down into it. But there were eating places and shops, no wildlife there.