Updated: Jul 16
A few weeks ago, I asked my Instagram followers:
“Have you ever booked a staycation in the city where you currently live?”
I was surprised that 67% of respondents said Yes!
When I first moved back to Tupelo over a decade ago, I would have been a firm No, but over the years, Tupelo has gotten cooler and cooler. Downtown has been significantly renovated, and a slew of restaurants have created a hidden-gem food scene. Annual events like Gumtree Festival, Elvis Festival, and the summer concert series – and Elvis tourism in general – draw an influx of visitors from all over.
The only puzzle piece missing: A boutique hotel experience.
But last year, Tupelo’s first boutique hotel opened its doors, and I must say, I’m inspired to check in for a little staycation of our own.
Nestled in the historic downtown district, Hotel Tupelo offers a retreat for travelers seeking a modern stay. Opened in February 2022, the hotel's vibe is a little bit mid-mod, a little bit rock & roll (a nod to the town’s most famous native), and a whole lot of Southern Hospitality.
Rep Yo Hood
From the moment you walk into the lobby, you’ll find that Hotel Tupelo “reps its hood,” and reps it well. There’s a feature wall in the lobby highlighting the properties of numerous local partners, such as:
Local mead from Queen’s Reward - Guests are treated to a tasting at check-in!
Locally baked guitar-shaped dog treats from Dog House Bakery
Hotel Tupelo special scented candles from Raw Furniture
Locally roasted coffee from Tupeo River Coffee
Locally crafted bespoke denim from Blue Delta
Each of the 79 guests rooms and suites have thoughtful touches - a coffee maker with locally roasted coffee, a clothing steamer, and an umbrella - to name a few. At 335 square feet, the standard bedroom offers plenty of space to spread out after a day of exploring. If you're traveling with your pup, Hotel Tupelo has dog-friendly rooms, too.
In addition to the cozy guest rooms, guests have access to a top-notch fitness center, complimentary bikes, and plenty of free parking. There's also an on-site restaurant and bar, which we talk about more below!
How to Get There?
For those flying in, Tupelo Regional Airport is conveniently located just an 11-minute drive away. If you prefer a scenic road trip, major highways and interstates — and the Natchez Trace — make it easy to get to Tupelo. The hotel offers free parking for guests traveling by car.
Pay tribute to the King: Start your journey with a visit to Elvis’ Birthplace, where you can walk through his childhood home, check out museum exhibits, and snap a selfie with a statue of young Elvis.
Take a stroll Downtown: On Tupelo’s quaint Main Street, you'll find a mix of local boutiques, colorful murals, art galleries, and delicious eateries. Elvis fans will want to pop into the Tupelo Hardware Company, where Elvis bought his first guitar.
Groove to live music: Blue Canoe is THE place to experience the local music scene, but you also never know what future big-hitters might grace the stage. This tiny room has hosted some of my favorite shows. Alabama Shakes, Gary Clark Jr, and Leon Bridges are just a few of the artists that played at the Canoe on their road to making it to big stages. The menu is also a top-3 favorite in town for us.
Sip Your Way through the Tupelo Cocktail Trail: Pick up a Tupelo Cocktail Trail card and head on a tasty adventure, where you can sample hand-crafted cocktails at seven Downtown Tupelo watering holes. Once you’ve sipped your way through the list, return the card back to the Tupelo Visitors Center (right across the street from Hotel Tupelo) for a special souvenir to take home.
Experience Queen's Reward: Visit Queen's Reward Meadery for a taste of local craft spirits. Take a distillery tour, learn about the production process, and enjoy a tasting of their unique and flavorful spirits.
Go Antiquing: Explore Tupelo's antique shops and flea markets for hidden treasures and vintage finds. From furniture to collectibles, you'll discover a variety of unique items to add to your collection. Relics Antique Marketplace is our favorite, and it’s is just a short walk from the hotel. (Fun Fact: The building that houses Relics was once the Tupelo Garment Factory where Gladys Presley was employed during her pregnancy with Elvis and his twin brother!)
Cruise the Natchez Trace Parkway: Take a scenic drive along the scenic Natchez Trace Parkway, a historic forest-lined route that follows a footpath formerly used as a game trail by the Choctaw, Natchez, and Chickasaw peoples. When you’re ready to stretch your legs, stop at one of the trail headers or scenic overlooks along the way.
To Eat & Drink:
Connie’s: I shudder to think how much money my husband has spent at Connie’s, but it’s hard to blame him. This biscuit joint specializes in chicken and gravy biscuits and blueberry cake donuts that simply can’t be missed. They’re open from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., and if you’re going through the drive-thru, don’t fear the line! They move customers through quick.
Crave: If you’re looking for something more on the sweet side, Crave serves delicious coffee concoctions, pastries, and their famous skillet cookies. Walkable from Hotel Tupelo and open from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., they’re great for breakfast, your morning coffee, an afternoon snack, or a post-dinner dessert.
Papa V’s: You might call it a “gourmet gas station!” Papa V’s serves a breakfast with killer biscuits, huge cinnamon rolls, and all the other usual suspects, like hashbrowns, grits, and bacon. They also offer a hearty lunchtime menu with options like ribs and catfish and a large selection of local craft beers. Guests can eat in or take out, and it’s just a block or so over from Hotel Tupelo.
Cafe 212: The cutest little, artsy cafe owned by some of our most favorite people ever. If you’re in Tupelo on a weekday, Cafe 212 is your spot for lunch. Everyone in my house has a regular order. The teenager and I always order the Tuna Salad Plate with a side of sweet pickles and jalapenos. Riley orders the Savory Chicken Salad BLT, unless it's a Friday, then he orders a double heaping of Mama’s Chicken Casserole.
Vanelli's Bistro: Vanelli's is a Tupelo classic, serving up Italian-American fare for over 20 years. From hearty pastas to mouthwatering pizzas, their menu features traditional flavors served with a side of Southern charm, making it a favorite among locals and visitors alike.
Neon Pig: When it comes to unique burgers and gourmet sandwiches, Neon Pig in Tupelo delivers. In fact, the Pig’s Smash Burger was named the “Best Burger in America” by Thrillist.com in a 2015 poll. With its house-made sausages, creative toppings, and fresh ingredients, this casual eatery will have you craving more.
Jobo's: Jobo's is Tupelo’s newest hotspot where you can grab hand-crafted cocktails and fresh seafood, all served in a laid-back atmosphere that will give you big city, coastal vibes. I have to order the Lavender Lemonade and the Parm Fries on the side every time.
Blue Canoe: Yes, yes, we’ve already mentioned the BC, but the food is just as good as the tunes. From sandwiches and small plates to hearty southern-style entrees, Blue Canoe is a low-pretense place to pull up and pour up. Make sure you order the crack fries and a Connie’s Blueberry Donut Bread Pudding.
Sao Thai: You probably wouldn’t have guessed that a Thai restaurant would end up on a list for a small Mississippi town, but let me tell you that Sao Thai is a favorite for our family. From fragrant curries to tangy stir-fries, they serve up delicious Thai dishes spiced with herbs and peppers grown on-site. The restaurant's homey decor will make you feel like you’ve stepped into your grandmother’s dining room.
Forklift: Tupelo's Forklift is all about fresh, farm-to-table eats. They source local ingredients to create tasty dishes that highlight the flavors of the region, perfect for those looking for an elevated dining experience and a nice cocktail to boot.
Who’s it For?
The Southern Curious: Tupelo is just a short drive away from Memphis, Birmingham, Oxford, and the Delta — the perfect starting point or home base to explore all the South has to offer.
Those seeking a small-town getaway: There’s plenty to do in Tupelo without the traffic and logistics of a bigger city. If you’re looking for a comfortable, uncomplicated place to kick around, Tupelo is it.
Music enthusiasts: Even if you’re not an Elvis disciple, the influence Elvis made on the world’s music is huge and worth exploring through Tupelo’s Elvis attractions. But modern music makes its way here, too, and to nearby Oxford.
Ready to book your staycation? I’d love to help you handle the details!