Marching ducks, a lobby that perfectly toes the lines between elegant and inviting, 150-plus years of history . . . these are just a few reasons The Peabody Memphis is known as "The South’s grand hotel." It's no surprise, then, that The Peabody was recently named—for the third consecutive year—"Best Historic Hotel" in USA TODAY's 10Best Readers' Choice Awards. Yet, this storied property remains full of surprises, if you follow these insider tips:
1. Experience the duck march like an insider
First-timers crowd the red carpet (and kids always should—they’re invited to sit right on the carpet’s edge). But pros know a few things: Arrive early—by 10:30 a.m. for the 11 a.m. march; 4:15 p.m. for the 5 p.m. march. This ensures you’ll have time to enjoy a cocktail in The Peabody’s fabled lounge or saunter up to the mezzanine level, where you can get a bird’s-eye view of the march.
2. Stick around for a Hotel History Tour
When the ducks have marched and the crowd begins to dissipate, make your move toward the Concierge Desk. Daily after the 11 a.m. duck march, The Peabody Duckmaster invites you on an hour-long history tour of the hotel. For $10 per person, you’ll hear 150-plus years’ worth of lore, starring tipsy duck hunters, big band-era musicians and Elvis himself.
The Peabody Ducks: A Beloved Tradition
Daily at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m., The Peabody Duckmaster guides the hotel's resident ducks to and from the lobby.
During the twice-daily celebration, the ducks march along a red carpet unfurled from the elevator to the lobby fountain.
Between the morning and evening marches, the ducks swim in the fountain of the hotel's storied lobby.
3. Discover the Memorabilia Room
Once you’ve taken the Hotel History Tour, see the artifacts for yourself in this mezzanine-level room. The shrine to Peabody history displays photographs, room keys and china from days gone by, plus gems such as the recording contract Elvis Presley signed on-property.
4. Do some ducky souvenir shopping
Peabody Deli & Desserts isn’t just for house-made treats (more on that in a bit). It’s your one-stop shop for Peabody-themed souvenirs, from plush mallards to the Celebriduck, a rubber ducky decked out like the Duckmaster himself.
5. Linger over afternoon tea
Reserve your spot at The Peabody’s traditional afternoon tea, a three-course affair of savory sandwiches, sweets (including warm-from-the-oven scones) and teas. Caffeine-free selections, and champagne add-ons, are available, and the setting—The Peabody’s venerable Chez Philippe restaurant—is oh-so-elegant.
6. Indulge in house-made ice cream and pastries
You’ve learned that The Peabody employs an official Duckmaster. But did you know that the hotel also has its own executive pastry chef? The best way to find out is to pop into Peabody Deli & Desserts for a shortbread cookie—shaped like a duck and expertly iced. Or order a chocolate dome filled with rich mousse and Grand Marnier crème brulée from the gilded dessert cart that appears in the hotel lobby each evening. Or sample the soufflé du jour at Chez Philippe. You get the picture.
7. Visit the Duck Palace
Ever wonder where those famous ducks go when they aren’t hanging out in the hotel lobby? Take the elevator to the roof; then take a peek at the Duck Palace, where the ducks enjoy room to waddle, splash and chill near their own miniature version of The Peabody.
8. Hang out on The Peabody Rooftop
The ducks aren’t the only reason to head to the roof of The Peabody. Be prepared for gorgeous city and river views and, when the weather’s warm, events like Sunset Happy Hour and Peabody Rooftop Parties, a summer-evening trifecta of live music, cool cocktails and unparalleled views.
9. Stay for special events
The Peabody’s social calendar is always packed with goodies, from indulgent weekend brunches and sumptuous holiday buffets to daily happy hours as well as wine- and whiskey-tasting events. Check into special events that coincide with your visit.
10. Or, stay overnight
What's better than an overnight stay at The Peabody? A deal on an overnight stay at The Peabody. The hotel offers a variety of accommodation packages and deals throughout the year, so whether you're into breakfast in bed, adventures with the family or even serving as an honorary Duckmaster, you'll find something that speaks to your vacation, or staycation, personality.