Back in the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s the world famous Peabody Hotel was one of those grand hotels that had live national radio broadcasts featuring the top entertainers of the time. It was pretty much the social destination of the entire area.
Then the Peabody went dark and did not re open until 1981 thanks to the Belz family.
They didn't just re-open The Peabody, they made it truly a grand hotel again and continue to update and renovate to keep it that way.
"Many of us have memories of The Peabody Hotel and that's really what the hotel is all about. From the moment you see the amazing lobby, you know your are someplace special, so naturally when we want to impress someone from out of town, where do you take them?
From the daily march of the Peabody ducks to pictures in front of the lobby fountain and that huge arrangement of flowers, cameras are constantly clicking away capturing one more time the grandeur of this famous hotel that literally sparked the rebirth of Downtown Memphis.
"The Belz family has been so committed to downtown and the city," said Doug Brown, general manager at The Peabody. "The hotel really started the renaissance of downtown on again."
Brown has worked for some of the best hotel in the world and when offered the job as GM at The Peabody, he jumped at it and has been here 10 years; longer than any other post in his career.
"There are 170,000 hotels in North America," Brown said. "There are only 150 four-star hotels, so put that into prospective. We are one of only two four-star hotels in Tennessee."
To keep The Peabody a world class purveyor of wonderful memories, the hotel is constantly being renovated - not that you will ever see it happen.
"In being a luxury hotel you have to be able to do work around the hotel without the guest ever knowing that its happening," Brown said. "So we go to great lengths to hide any projects that we are doing. For an example the flower arrangement that you see. You will never see anyone changing it or fixing it or anything else. Someone does it in the middle of the night at 3 a.m. They never change the whole thing. It's in constant change."
That's exactly how the lobby has been renovated time after time over the years, and no one ever sees it happen.
The stealth work is going on with the guest rooms.
The Peabody is always changing, always for the better.
"I'm actually really excited about this renovation because one of the things that Marty Belz has done with the renovation is we are going back to our roots and the rooms have that historic classic look, that grand look you can remember back in the '30s and '40s," Brown said. "The look of our hotel should have. So it's really exciting and it's something you don't expect. When you're in it you will say, 'wow, this is soothing and relaxing.'"
Even the doors and windows will be changed out to sound-proof each room; each and every detail designed to keep The Peabody Hotel "The Grand Hotel of The South" and a great source of pride for all of us who call it ours.
"Anytime somebody important is coming in that is thinking about putting their company here in Memphis the chamber calls and wants to put em here. Josh Pastner with the tigers, when he has a recruit coming in he puts him up at the Peabody cause he wants to show off Memphis and what were all about. So this city makes my job so easy because they embrace the hotel and they love the hotel and so in turn we cant let them down we cant let the city down because they expect so much of us."
WHBQ-TV | Fox 13
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