A place fit for a king

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Andi Nolan never expected to own and operate one Airbnb, let alone two.

But the well-known Tupelo native promised herself that she would pursue her dreams after her three children were grown, and that’s exactly what she’s doing. Since July 2021, Nolan’s duo of Airbnbs have been popular lodging spots for travelers dropping by the All-America City for a few hours to a few days.

The location has a lot to do with the rentals’ success. Situated behind Veterans Park, the properties are within walking distance of the city’s most popular tourist destination: The Elvis Presley Birthplace.

The short-term abodes are intended to make guests feel like they’re at home while visiting, even if just for one night. And when they fall asleep in Nolan’s Airbnbs, they can dream within yards of where Elvis Presley once did.

Most of the traveling tenants stay between a single night and an entire week. Some travel for work, others for leisure. No matter their reason for staying, Nolan’s goal is to expose guests to as much of Tupelo as possible in the little time they have to explore.

She strives to make her cottages feel like home the moment a guest steps inside. The walls are decorated with local art and everywhere you look, you’re bound to see Tupelo’s native son within eye-shot.

Many of the pictures hanging in the houses are from Nolan’s family, including an original by her mother.

The hostess makes it a point to advertise local restaurants and activities to guests with pamphlets and handouts available in the front of each home.

Upon special request, Nolan will provide Queen’s Reward mead, baked goods from Simply Sweet by Margarete and flowers from Fresh Farm among other products that are unique to Tupelo.

Hosting a place for visitors to stay a night or two may seem like a natural fit for Nolan, but it wasn’t until her children were grown that she even considered it.

“I always told myself, ‘You’ll have your time,’” she said. “So here I am.”

Nolan’s husband works in the rental business, so she was able to join him in creating her own unique Airbnb projects.

“I wanted to do something bigger,” Nolan said. “I tacked onto what he does already. That’s literally as simple as how it started.”

Nolan purchased her first property on Elvis Presley Drive and got to work converting the home into the kind of place that would catch a visitor’s. Soon after, however, she noticed the house next door was up for sale.

“I called my husband, and we thought, if we’re going to do two, we should grab the one right next door fast,” she said.

Nolan and her husband verbally bought the house within hours so they could have neighboring rental locations.

As for the stroke of luck, Nolan thanks God for the chance realtor sighting.

“I honestly thought it was a God thing because I had been praying about it,” she said. “That’s kind of how it all started.”

When asked what prompted her to pursue this new career path, Nolan said she wanted to embrace the spirit of Mississippi.

“This is the hospitality state. I love the hospitality industry,” Nolan said. “It makes me happy when people are happy with their stay in Tupelo.”

Photos by Adam Robison