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Luxury and Local Color at the Omni Louisville

Written by Elizabeth Hutchison

Walking into the Omni Louisville Hotel there’s no mistaking exactly where you are—every fixture, finish and piece of furniture throughout the recently-opened hotel was thoughtfully selected to reflect the last 241 years of Louisville history and the city’s unique culture. And although the Kentucky Derby shines an international spotlight on the city every year on the first Saturday in May—and you’ll find small equestrian touches throughout the hotel—there’s much more to love about Louisville than Churchill Downs and the horses who make history there. Did you know Louisville supplies more than 95% of the disco balls in the United States? You’ll find examples inside the third-floor spa dressing rooms and the hotel’s basement speakeasy and bowling alley, Pin + Proof.

But these days, bourbon—America’s only native spirit—is attracting more and more visitors to the Bluegrass State. Last year, a staggering 1.63 million people came for a taste. Located just a short walk from downtown’s Whiskey Row, the 612-room Omni Louisville Hotel makes an ideal home base for bourbon travelers looking to drink their way through the Bluegrass. (Check out Mint Julep Tours for expert guides—and drivers.) But you don’t have to leave the hotel to immerse yourself in bourbon culture. There’s an on-site bottle shop with a deep bench of whiskies. And at Lewis + Louis, you can pick up bourbon-related gifts and hard-to-find bottles of the really good stuff. The spirit’s cultural significance is apparent in the hotel’s design, too. In the lobby, the sculptural wooden arch and charred ceiling panels are artfully designed to look like the inside of a bourbon barrel. And the Instagram-ready fireplace at the cozy Library Bar (try the 1881 Old Fashioned) was created by Vendome Copper. The family-owned Louisville company produces more than 90% of the world’s copper stills.

Hungry? Omni Louisville Hotel adds three restaurants, two bars and a sprawling food hall and market to the city’s already robust food scene. If you’re after a quick bite, pop in Falls City Market, which includes a local coffee shop, bakery, sushi bar, taco truck, pizza parlor, a grab-and-go grocery and deli. Across the hall at Neighborhood Services, dig into a menu of American classics. Or treat yourself to a filet with a side of lobster mac-and-cheese in a leather booth at Bob’s Steak & Chop House. And from April to October, head upstairs to The Water Company—the stunning rooftop pool and bar with a full-service kitchen.

A year after opening and the Omni Louisville Hotel is still buzzing. The best measure of its success…locals love it.