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And we’re off — off to Louisville, Kentucky, for the infamous Kentucky Derby!
In May of 2016, all eyes were on a two-year-old male, Nyquist, the winner of the Kentucky Derby and godsend to those who’d placed their bets on him. Each year in May, horses charge to the finish line, while spectators from all walk of life anxiously await their payout — or cut their losses. No matter the outcome, Louisville is sure to deliver a parade stylish hats, seersucker suits, and a Derby month (yes, the race has grown into a month-long celebration!) of partying that won’t disappoint. Neither will these five hotel choices for Derby Weekend:
Hyatt Regency Louisville
Minutes away from Churchill Downs, the Hyatt Regency Louisville lies in the heart of the city. Don’t let this business hotel trick you into thinking there is no fun to be had; the property gives guests everything they would expect from the Hyatt brand. It’s within walking distance to everything, simply making it a top choice for Derby and other guests.
Hungry? Check out Hyatt’s Sway Restaurant for shrimp and grits and that southern comfort you’ve always heard about. Should you dare to leave the comforts of home that make up the Hyatt, hop on the sky-bridge connector and get to just about anywhere you want to go in Louisville. Grab a snack before heading out to Derby;sweet treats are readily available throughout the morning and late afternoon. The rooms have been remodeled, so if you appreciate bright colored decor with your stay, you’ll want to check into the Hyatt Regency.
21c Museum Hotel
Of course, you’ll want to visit Louisville after the Derby, too. As the name suggests, 21c Museum Hotel is a hotel with its own museum! 24 hours a day, guests take advantage of modern art never to be seen in other properties.
A one-of-a-kind Louisville property, located in historic downtown, 21c Museum Hotel features a contemporary art museum that seems to extends into restaurant, spa and rooms! With rooms that consist of either courtyard views or city-views, the “art” is equally appealing outside the hotel For those looking to explore more artistry, the Louisville Slugger Museum, Kentucky Museum of Art & Craft, the Frazier International History Museum and the Muhammad Ali Center are all nearby. Trivia time: In 2010, conceptual artist Serkan Özkaya brought to 21c inspiration from Michelangelo, a golden replica of Michelangelo’s David. The piece of art became a hotel acquisition (one of only two replicas found worldwide!) after a previous replica collapsed upon installation.
A budget-friendly Derby hotel option, the Breckinridge Inn features free Wi-Fi, and on-site tennis courts and fitness center. The post-Derby celebrations continue at Breckinridge Inn’s Jerry Green & Friends Night Club, where the best karaoke singers are sure to be found. This property is one of Louisville’s older ones, but for the price and amenities — an indoor and outdoor pool, the nightclub, and a quiet location away from Derby traffic — the Breckinridge Inn is a Triple Crown winner in its own right!
Holiday Inn Hotel at Louisville Airport – Fair/Expo
Nestled in the heart of Louisville, the all-new Holiday Inn Hotel at Louisville Airport – Fair/Expo is perfect for Derby Week — and the remaining 51 weeks, too! It’s near everything, unlike many airport hotels. However, it is an airport hotel — and a UPS hub — so expect to hear the roar of incoming and departing planes. No need to worry about missing the race, the after-parties, or the flight home! (Note: breakfast is not included in the daily room rate. Expect to be charged $10.00 for coffee and pasties.)
Red Roof Inn Louisville Expo Airport
For another cost-conscious Derby stay, check into Red Roof Inn Louisville Expo Airport. Free parking, free Wi-Fi and free stays for children 17 and under! It’s also pet friendly, unless of course, your pet is a race horse! While the amenities are close to nil, a warm meal is within a few feet away. There is a Waffle House located behind this property; who doesn’t travel to Kentucky, or any southern state for that matter, without dining in a Waffle House?
The Kentucky Derby takes every first Saturday in May, with a crowd of approximately 155,000 people taking over Louisville, Kentucky. Since 1875, visitors flocked to Louisville for the Derby and all the surrounding fanfare to be found in a weekend-long celebration. With its growing popularity, it only makes sense to share my top Kentucky-Derby-friendly hotels for the days leading to the big race. Heading to Louisville next year? Keep Hipmunk in mind for your 2017 Kentucky Derby plans. There is at least one hotel that will fit your Derby week better than the flashiest hat, sharpest seersucker suit or glamorous sundress you’d find in Churchill Downs!
Tyjuana Wilson is a freelance writer, copywriter and budget travel whisperer. Her hotel choices for the travel site Hipmunk are usually found here. More importantly, she also watches her 18-year-old princess, Tyra, grow before her eyes.