This blog post was updated on October 26, 2018.
Founded in 1778, the ever-hard-to-pronounce Louisville is not just Kentucky’s largest city. It is also arguably the state’s most eclectic city, where 6 story baseball bats rest comfortably with fried chicken greatness and the most exciting two minutes in sports. Birthplace of Muhammad Ali and inspiration to F. Scott Fitzgerald, it is no wonder many flock to this city on the Ohio River for a little bit of this and that. Even Louisville hotels fail to disappoint in terms of flair. While a night’s sleep is included in the room rate, there are a few touches that make these properties decidedly Louisville.
21c Museum Hotel (pictured): If you like to keep your art museums close when you travel, Louisville offers the opportunity to sleep in your museum. Located in downtown Louisville, the 21c Museum Hotel is part boutique hotel and part contemporary art museum. A series of 19th century warehouses were converted into the 21c Museum Hotel. Guest rooms feature original art, exposed brick and high ceilings. However, it is the hotel’s 21c Museum that draws a great deal of attention. The museum is North America’s first museum dedicated to the art of the 21st century. Not only can you saunter down to the museum after a nap, but you can also visit the 21c Museum 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The museum is also free to visit. As if being a museum and a hotel weren’t enough, travelers can also stop by the property’s Proof on Main restaurant, home to a bar with over 50 of Kentucky’s finest bourbons.
The Brown Hotel: Also in Louisville’s downtown area, the Brown Hotel takes travelers back in time. Built in 1923 by J. Graham Brown, the Brown would face closure in 1971. It would be renovated and reopened in the 1980s. Today, aside from staying in a hotel on the National Register of Historic Places, you can also take in the classic English Renaissance design of the ornate lobby. And while you are lost in time in the Brown Hotel, you can also play the part of a 1920s ballroom dancer by feasting on a legendary Hot Brown. The Hot Brown is an open-faced sandwich with roasted turkey breast drenched in Mornay sauce and Pecorino Romano cheese. It is baked and then adorned with bacon and tomatoes for good measure. The Brown Hotel’s tasty invention was born out of the 1920s ballroom dancers at the hotel. The chef onsite concocted a dish that would be ideal in the wee hours of the morning after dancing and probably drinking.
The Seelbach Hilton: For a dash of literary Louisville, the Seelbach Hilton supplies. Situated on Fourth Street in downtown Louisville, the hotel was built in 1905. Hailed as a Golden Era landmark, the Seelbach provides guests with an ample dose of history but also modernity. While the Seelbach is on the National Register of Historic Places, it also underwent a $12 million renovation so that rooms would be up to guest’s modern standards. The Seelbach offers more than just a night’s rest in that you can bask in the setting that inspired F. Scott Fitzgerald. He used the Seelbach as his location for Tom and Daisy Buchanan’s wedding in The Great Gatsby. Fitzgerald was known for hanging out at the Seelbach. To feel a bit like the great author, you can plop down in the Old Seelbach Bar for a drink, an authentically restored 1900s bar.