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A Family Sharing Good Times in Nashville

Author: sightseeingsue (More Trip Reviews by sightseeingsue)
Date of Trip: April 2006

Woo Hoo, no line at the check-in desk. Boo Hoo, the rooms aren't ready yet and none of the remodeled rooms I had requested were available. This has happened to me here before. So the reservation host got my 2 cents worth. I politely expressed my dissatisfaction, enlightened him with my situation (ailing mother-in-law due to arrive momentarily, she had been traveling a long distance, and was in no physical shape to wait for her room) and low and behold after letting his finger do some magic, discovered two adjoining rooms, though in a different section, that were ready. The rooms would be upgraded from what we requested at no additional charge. A $199 rate to a $264 rate complete with a garden patio -- we'll take it. Things went smoothly from here on.

Our remodeled, two queen-size bedrooms, were located in the Garden Conservatory section on the first floor, and only a short walk from the atrium. Although the rooms were small, they were decorated very chic, and offered very large comfy beds. A beautiful armoire housed the television, as well as drawers for clothing. The bathrooms are small but the counter-top and bathroom fixtures were not your ordinary hotel models. My shower was hot, had great pressure, and plenty of room to bathe.

The resort itself is massive, has luxurious accommodations, and first-class entertainment. Under majestic, climate-controlled glass atrium, we enjoyed being surrounded by acres of lush indoor gardens, winding rivers and pathways, sparkling waterfalls, and a place to relax, dine, shop, and be entertained all without leaving. Some highlights for me were the 44 foot waterfall, laser-light show, and tour on the delta flatboat. There is an indoor pool, first class spa and exercise facility as well.

There are several restaurants to choose from satisfying everyone's taste buds, and entertainment nightly in some of the lounges, but some don't open until early evening. Cocktails were especially enjoyed at a few lounges with our favorite being the Cascade Terrace, as you sit the terrace rotates giving you a constantly changing view of the beautiful scenery.

I would recommend this place if you aren't on a budget and appreciate beautiful scenery.

Santa Fe Cattle Company -- I needed to find a place located near our hotel (Courtyard Marriott-Opryland), a family-friendly place that could accommodate 13 of us, one with a menu that offered a wide variety of items to satisfied everyone's taste buds, served alcohol, and was reasonably priced.

I asked for a recommendation at the front desk of our hotel and Santa Fe Cattle Company was mentioned. The clerk said steak, ribs, and fajitas were its specialty items, but they also offered chicken, pastas, and burgers as well. He needed to go no further, as he had my husband at steaks! So, after a quick call, our reservations were made for the next evening at 6pm.

It was located less than a mile from our hotel, and when we arrived, it mirrored a lot of other Southwestern-style steakhouses we had been to before. My only hope was that it was going to please our entire group. Immediately upon walking through the doors, you are hit with an awesome-smelling whiff of the hickory scent coming from their grills, and then you spot a large wooden barrel loaded with peanuts and people waiting in line or at their tables just throwing the shells on the floor. Now, what's more family-friendly than that? This is when I realized this place might actually fix the bill.

We were quickly seated in a back section of the restaurant and given large menus to explore. The menu offers steaks, ribs, seafood, fajitas, burgers, and chicken dishes. Prices were generally in the $10 and $25 dollar range, with a few entrees under $10. They offer a wide variety of beverages and alcoholic drinks as well. After a careful review of the menu, our orders were placed. Drinks came quickly, but the meals took awhile to come out, but hot buttered rolls, our salads, large dishes of peanuts, and family to visit with made the time fly by quickly.

Most of us ordered steaks ,with a few choosing to dine on fajitas or chicken. My rib-eye cut was superb. Done exactly how I requested, with just a hint of a hickory favor, made this a truly delightful meal. My husband's porterhouse was huge, almost fork tender, and was finished in a matter of minutes. The side dish of smashed garlic potatoes were very yummy as well. Looking around this place, you see all the families and friends gathered together, sharing laughs and good food, and all with smiles on their faces. That's always a good sign in my eyes.

I was impressed with the friendly, efficient staff that was on hand that evening to handle our large group. She made our meal very pleasant and enjoyable. Drinks were served quickly and steadily so we didn't go thirsty. Everyone I spoke with from our clan left satisfied and extremely full.

By all means, if a casual atmosphere, great value meal, friendly staff, and fun place to eat at is what you are looking for, then I don't think you will be disappointed.

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