The Peabody Hotel is a historic luxury hotel in Downtown Memphis. It was built in 1925, and for 40 years, it remained the place to be for wealthy locals and visitors. It went brankrupt in 1965 and was briefly operated as the Sheraton-Peabody, but like pretty much everything else in the downtown area, it did not make it through the hard times that followed Martin Luther King Jr's assassination. The Peabody Hotel's grand reopening in 1981 is generally seen as the event that marked a new beginning for Downtown Memphis. The hotel has been beautifully restored to its former glory, and although many of its amenities have been modernized, several traditions have remained, two of which we got to enjoy: the famous Peabody Duck March and Afternoon Tea at Chez Philippe.
In 1933, the manager of the Peabody Hotel came back from a hunting trip slightly tipsy (OK, he was rather drunk!) and decided to put three of his live decoys in the hotel's fountains. Word spread around and people flocked (no pun intended) to the Peabody Hotel to see the waterfowl that was splashing around in the fountain. These were replaced with five Mallard ducks, and in 1940, bellman Edward Pembroke trained them to walk in and out of the fountain. From bellman, Pembroke was elevated to the position of "Duck Master", a position he kept until he retired in 1991. The ducks supposedly live in a top-floor penthouse, and they still march from the elevator to the fountain every day at 11:00 am and, after spending a fun afternoon in the fountain, retire for the night at 5:00 pm. People can watch them waddle in and out of the fountain for free (make sure you get there early enough for it is one of the most popular attractions in town).
Then, my sister and I had Afternoon Tea at Chez Philippe, the hotel's Four-Star and AAA Four-Diamond restaurant, which was a really fun and fancy experience. I had brought a dress especially for the occasion but due to a change of plans, I showed up wearing denim shorts and a sleeveless shirt. To say that I felt rather underdressed in these luxurious surroundings would be a bit of an understatement! But luckily, the "business casual" dress code didn't seem to be enforced and we were shown to a nice table all the same. Our waiter was very attentive, and for $40, we enjoyed a glass of champagne, scrumptious tea sandwiches, a freshly-made scone and homemade jam, some very tasty pastries, and tea of course! We left the place full to the brim! Afternoon Tea is served from 1:00 pm to 3:30 pm, from Wednesday to Saturday.
Most people come here to see the ducks march. It is not that impressive to me. The Cooking Heritage seminars that they had were. You get samples of products that they have created and you get to taste samples of their products on the food that they cook plus there are cooking demonstrations. There was a wine tasting class with barbecue as well. These are free and you do not have to pay.
One of the main attraction of the Peabody hotel is the Peabody marching ducks.
Every day , in the hotel lobby , The Peabody ducks march take place at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. daily.
Today, The Peabody Ducks are led by Duckmaster Jason Sensat.
We went to see it since we heard about it from some locals downtown. I must say that as sweet as it was - it was so rapid , maybe 2 minuets , and its over. Well, since the hotel is really beautiful , then adults can take a tour in the inside of the hotel, while children can watch the duck march.
As I said I love to go to the rooftop of the peabody to just look out on the rest of the city & the river. During the summer months there are Peabody rooftop parties every Thursday night. Ladies get in early before 8:00pm, but you have to get there even earlier than that to stand in line at the elevator. Make sure you get there at least by 7:30 just so you can get to the rooftop by 8:00. Don't think you can take the stairs all the way up and bypass the line at the elevator either. We tried that once and once we got to the top floor the door was locked and we had to go back down one flight of stairs and wait for the elevator up anyway. You also have to buy tickets to drink, which really sucks, but you can get these once you get to the rooftop. The tickets are good on any Thursday night rooftop party, so if you have some left over you can always use them again when you go back. Unfortunately for tourists this may not be very useful. From the rooftop you can also get a great picture of the Peabody sign.
The Peabody Hotel is elegant and charming. There are many sitting areas in the lobby to just relax, whilst visiting friends, admiring the famous fountain and of course, the Peabody ducks, as well. The Peabody Hotel is also a great place for people watching or just enjoying a coffee or a drink or two, and the lobby is open to the public at no charge.
I went to a ballroom party for an appreciation dinner a few years ago, and I remember the food was excellent and the desserts were incredible. It was fun to dress up for the fancy occasion in formal wear, and the ambiance of the Peabody Hotel, with all it's grandeur, was reminiscent of days of a different era, when gentlemen in their top-hats danced with ladies in petticoats in the ballroom complete with a baby grand piano. Nowdays, you may also visit the rooftop free of charge and see views of downtown Memphis, including the Mighty Mississippi River. The duck's penthouse is also located on the roof. During Summer months, there are rooftop parties on Thursday nights.
Back inside, there are several places to shop located throughout, and also a bar in the lobby, an Italian Grill restaurant, and a French restaurant. You can view the menus available on their website below. One item I noticed that I must try on my next visit is one of the dessert shooters in the Cappriccio Grill.
This famous Memphis landmark is perhaps the most glamorous hotel in the city. Yet, it seems to be an attraction in its own right. Some of the attention is due to the famous Peabody ducks. Every day, a group of ducks is marched from a cage at the top of the hotel into an elevator and then led into a fountain in the midst of a dining area. There, they stay until they are marched back into the elevator late in the day. This is of course a ritual, and there is a lot of pomp and circumstance that goes along with this. Kids will enjoy watching the ducks leave the fountain and walk along the red carpet towards the elevator. The views from the top of the hotel are nice. You can see where the ducks stay and you get a good look at the city and the river. There were also scenes of the movie "The Firm" that were filmed here. I recommend watching that movie before coming to Memphis. The Peabody is an elegant hotel and a bit on the expensive side if you can imagine. Maybe one day, we will stay there.
The Peabody Hotel is the most famous & probably most expensive hotel in Memphis. My friends that came to town to visit me on their first trip to Memphis said that they felt like they were stepping into the 1940s when they walked in the Peabody Hotel. It is decorated very classically, with a beautiful fountain & piano bar in the lobby. There are also several very nice restaurants at the Peabody. The movie "The Firm" was set in Memphis & did feature the Peabody Hotel from the rooftop. Anyone can enter the Peabody Hotel at any time, and I love to go to the rooftop at any time of the day to look out and see downtown Memphis. You can also see the cage where the ducks are housed on the rooftop.
The Peabody ducks are also very famous. They march two times each day. At 11:00am they are brought down from their rooftop home to wade in the fountain in the lobby until 5:00pm when they are marched back up to their home. They actually march down a red carpet. I'm not sure how this became such a big tradition or attraction, but I understand there is a crowd there every day to see this.