Photo courtesy The Seelbach Hilton
Luxury lifestyles and travel writer Bryan Dearsley, a big fan of the Bluegrass state, shares his list of the best luxury hotels in Kentucky.
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There’s no denying Kentuckians know plenty about how to enjoy the good life. Not only does the Bluegrass State have a grip on the bourbon business, they’ve also made a name for themselves by cornering the market in thoroughbred racing, too. And now, it seems, the state of Kentucky is making a name for itself in the world of luxury accommodations.
Kentucky’s best luxury hotels are perfect for choosy travellers seeking both opulence and authenticity. With their blend of Southern hospitality and world-class amenities, these establishments serve as perfect bases from which to explore the state’s rich tapestry of experiences, whether it’s hitting the bourbon trail or the racetrack.
Whether it’s a historic mansion ready to transport you to a bygone era, a modern boutique hotel echoing with urban sophistication, or a tranquil resort set against the backdrop of the state’s natural wonders, Kentucky’s luxury hotel scene is as diverse as it is captivating. Read through our list of the best luxury hotels in Kentucky to find out more.
The Best Luxury Hotels in Kentucky
The Seelbach Hilton, Louisville
The Seelbach Hilton Louisville is a storied emblem of historic grandeur and sophistication. Situated in the heart of downtown Louisville, this attractive red-brick 4-star hotel has been a beacon of elegance since it first opened its doors in 1905. Otto and Louis Seelbach, ambitious brothers from Bavaria in Germany, envisioned a hotel that combined European opulence with American innovation, their dream ultimately materializing in the form of this Beaux-Arts baroque architectural marvel.
From its intricate plasterwork to the rare Rookwood pottery, the hotel’s design is a testament to meticulous attention to detail. Over the years, the Seelbach Hilton has attracted a roster of illustrious guests, from presidents and royalty to legendary figures like Al Capone and F. Scott Fitzgerald. In fact, the hotel’s storied past even served as inspiration for Fitzgerald’s classic novel, The Great Gatsby.
The grandeur of the Seelbach’s Grand Ballroom and the old-world charm of the Rathskeller, one of the few surviving Rookwood Potteries rooms in the world, are testaments to its rich history. A top-notch spa and a state-of-the-art fitness center are also available.
The rooms and suites are a blend of classic elegance and contemporary comfort designed with both luxury and comfort in mind. Plush bedding, marble bathrooms, and state-of-the-art technology come as standard features, while some of the best boast panoramic views of the Louisville skyline and the Ohio River.
The hotel’s culinary offerings are second to none. The Oakroom serves exquisite dishes that perfectly encapsulate Kentucky’s rich culinary heritage, while the classy Old Seelbach Bar, renowned for its extensive bourbon selection, is the perfect locale to savor a signature cocktail.
LuxuryKentucky Recommends: For the latest reviews, rates, and reservations, visit The Seelbach Hilton.
Hotel Covington, Covington
Hotel Covington has seamlessly merged its charming historic architecture with the contemporary aesthetics we’ve come to expect from quality luxury hotels. Located in the heart of Covington across the Ohio River from Cincinnati, this lovely 4-star hotel was built in 1910 and boasts an elegantly designed lobby that pays homage to the building’s storied past as one of the state’s first (and best) department stores.
The accommodations reflect the hotel’s unique blend of history and luxury, with each of its rooms and suites thoughtfully designed with bespoke furnishings and plush bedding. High ceilings and large windows come as standard, and textured fabrics, plush bedding, and curated art pieces contribute to an ambiance that feels both upscale and inviting.
A standout feature, the in-house restaurant, Coppin’s, offers a superb farm-to-table menu featuring locally sourced ingredients. You can savor these delectable dishes in the chic ambiance of the restaurant or on the vibrant outdoor patio overlooking the urban heart of Covington. In-room dining is also available.
Other amenities include a well-equipped fitness center, cozy lounge areas perfect for socializing, and event spaces.
LuxuryKentucky Recommends: For the latest reviews, rates, and reservations, visit Hotel Covington.
21c Museum Hotel Louisville
A personal favorite, the 21c Museum Hotel in Louisville is much more than just a great place to stay: it’s a unique fusion of contemporary art museum and luxury hotel. Housed in a series of renovated 19th-century warehouses in the heart of downtown Louisville, this classy establishment pushes the boundaries of the traditional hotel experience, integrating art and hospitality in a truly innovative manner.
Stepping into the 21c Museum Hotel, passing a bejewelled brightly painted limo parked outside, you’re immediately greeted by an impressive array of contemporary art installations. These aren’t limited to just the lobby, as the hotel’s art museum spans several floors ensuring you’re never too far from thought-provoking works from global artists. It’s also worth noting, even if you’re not staying here, that the museum is open to the public 24/7, emphasizing the hotel’s commitment to making art accessible to all.
The accommodations at the 21c Museum Hotel certainly mirror its avant-garde ethos. Each room and suite is meticulously designed with a blend of historic nuances and modern comforts. Plush bedding, sleek furnishings, and state-of-the-art amenities make every stay luxurious, while original artwork adorns the walls of each guestroom, blurring the lines between living space and gallery.
When it comes to amenities, the hotel offers a diverse range. The in-house restaurant, Proof on Main, is renowned for its farm-to-table delicacies and features the best of Kentucky’s rich culinary heritage. It also doubles up as another gallery space, adorned with eclectic artworks. The rooftop bar and spa provide guests with opportunities for relaxation, while the fitness center ensures they can stay active.
LuxuryKentucky Recommends: For the latest reviews, rates, and reservations, visit 21c Museum Hotel in Louisville.
Historic Boone Tavern, Berea
Historic Boone Tavern in Berea stands as an embodiment of the region’s rich heritage and the enduring legacy of Berea College. Widely regarded as one of the best boutique hotels in Kentucky, this history-rich hotel was constructed in 1909 and owes its name to the famed frontier explorer, Daniel Boone.
The Tavern’s inception is deeply intertwined with the history of Berea College and was built to satisfy the demand for accommodations from visitors to the college. It quickly became a centerpiece of the town and, reflecting the college’s commitment to sustainability and hands-on student learning, was built using bricks made by students. Even today, the hotel remains connected to its academic roots and serves as a living classroom where students gain practical experience in hospitality management.
Architecturally, the Boone Tavern is a blend of classic and modern, with its white façade, green-shuttered windows, and elegant interiors exuding a sense of timeless charm. You’ll be treated to a room adorned with handcrafted furniture produced by the college’s woodworking students, thoughtfully curated to reflect its rich heritage. Historical nuances such as antique furniture to period artwork are also featured, along with contemporary amenities such as plush bedding, modern bathrooms, and Wi-Fi.
The dining experience at the Tavern, renowned for dishes like “spoonbread,” is a delightful journey into Southern culinary traditions. The dining room, with its vaulted ceilings and elegant décor, uses locally sourced produce, ensuring fresh and flavorful dishes.
LuxuryKentucky Recommends: For the latest reviews, rates, and reservations, visit Historic Boone Tavern.
The Kentucky Castle, Versailles
Nothing says “luxury” quite like a castle, even if it’s not a centuries-old castle. And The Kentucky Castle in Versailles certainly exudes opulence. Often referred to simply as “The Castle,” this landmark structure in Versailles, just a few miles west of Lexington, is an eye-catching architectural marvel. Constructed in the late 1960s and a well-known feature of horse country, the Castle instantly captures your attention with its stone walls, battlements, and turrets.
Today, the Kentucky Castle serves not only as an architectural attraction but also as a luxury hotel offering guests a unique blend of faux medieval charm and modern luxury. Featuring opulent rooms, fine dining, and spa services, it also boasts meticulously maintained grounds featuring gardens and outdoor spaces that are frequently utilized for events and weddings.
Each accommodation, from its well-appointed rooms to its opulent suites, features intricate design details with plush European-influenced décor, hand-carved wooden furniture, plush bedding, large windows, and even ornate chandeliers.
A highlight of The Kentucky Castle’s luxury amenities is its gourmet dining experience. The castle’s in-house restaurant prides itself on serving dishes made from locally sourced ingredients, many of which are harvested directly from the castle’s own organic garden.
For relaxation, the castle offers a range of amenities including a spa and an outdoor pool, as well as concierge services offering a variety of fun personalized experiences. Possibilities include romantic horse-drawn carriage rides and private tours of the castle’s extensive wine cellar.
To book this top-notch accommodation experience, contact the hotel directly via their website at www.thekentuckycastle.com.
Bryan Dearsley is Editor-in-chief of RileyMag.com and its subsidiary luxury lifestyle websites, including LuxuryKentucky.
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