Hotel Distil Celebrates Louisville's Bourbon Culture on Iconic Whiskey Row
Kentucky's first Autograph Collection hotel creates a sense of place in the heart of downtown Louisville
by Lark Gould
You might call it Bourbon and Breakfast, but the new Hotel Distil is making glasses clink as part of a new Autograph Collection icon on historic Whiskey Row, possibly setting a new standard for Louisville hospitality. The 205-room boutique hotel celebrates the past, present and future of Louisville's bourbon heritage.
Hotel Distil was developed by White Lodging, which manages the hotel and restaurants alongside its other eight hotels in Louisville, including the new Moxy Louisville Downtown and Zombie Taco restaurant.
The property incorporates an original 1860s era façade, which was saved following a fire in 2015, and was the original location and barrel house for J.T.S. Brown and Sons - whose name remains prominent above one of the entrances. The homage to bourbon culture is subtle but clear, as many of the design cues are taken from bourbon barrels and the distilling process, including wood tones, staves, black metal accents and copper fixtures. Other cues are taken from Louisville's glass blowing community, including pre-Prohibition style globe light fixtures and blown glass flask art pieces.
Guest rooms offer scenic views of the historic Whiskey Row on Main Street. The hotel is comprised of 11 two-room Connoisseur Suites, in addition to 194 rooms with a king bed or two queen beds. Guest rooms feature Nespresso coffee makers, plush robes and custom amenities designed for relaxation.
One of the unique experiences guests can participate in is a celebration of the repeal of Prohibition. Hotel Distil guests will be given an invitation – via a 'prescription card' at check-in – to join in the hotel's lobby for a nightly toast at 7:33 p.m., which is 19:33 Universal Time, the year Prohibition was repealed, where they will be treated to a celebratory whiskey cocktail and a tribute to the repeal of Prohibition. Guests of the Connoisseur Suites will also have access to an in-room private bourbon cart where a bourbon ambassador will craft one of 10 premium bourbons neat or one of four Old Fashioned cocktails made with Hotel Distil's private single barrel picks.
Grand Event Spaces
Hotel Distil offers a refined event space, including a 5,000-square-foot Grand Ballroom that boasts remarkable design and exquisite appointments. The event space can accommodate up to 500 people or be divided into three separate spaces for more intimate presentations, receptions or banquets. Hotel Distil's three other meetings rooms range from 775 square feet to 1,000 square feet and are uniquely designed for breakout sessions and bold presentations alike. Complete with modern technology, attentive service and top-notch amenities, these spaces set the stage for any group. The 2,000-square-foot outdoor rooftop terrace is the only open-air, all-season terrace in Louisville. For every event, on-site catering provides locally sourced, Southern-inspired cuisine.
Curated Cuisine and Cocktails
The property adds to the city’s dynamic dining scene as home to Whiskey Row's only oak-fired steakhouse, Repeal. The 72-seat restaurant features American Wagyu steaks from Brush Creek Ranch alongside other prime cuts, a seafood raw bar, 100+ curated bourbons and classic cocktails. Together with the great food and drinks, diners can expect a perfectly curated experience accented by expertly crafted design elements embracing the area's deep bourbon heritage and historical architecture. The restaurant's oak-fired grill is stoked with used barrel staves from nearby distilleries throughout the day. A key feature of the restaurant's design is a large skylight with views of the hotel’s historic façade. A 15-person private Barrel Room and separate bar is available for groups.
Adjacent to Repeal is the staircase entrance to Bitters End, Whiskey Row's open-air rooftop bar, complete with a retractable glass roof. Guests can expect to be greeted with whiskey-inspired small plates, original craft cocktails and plenty of good old-fashioned bourbon – all served with a side of Whiskey Row views.
"Hotel Distil's location on Whiskey Row and just steps away from the KFC! Yum Center and the city's business hub is a perfect complement to the city's great progress," said Steve Poe, Chief Executive Officer of Poe Companies, one of the hotel's developers.
Whiskey Row's Storied Past
After the Civil War, Main Street became the hot spot for distilleries in Louisville. Whiskey Row itself refers to a block-long stretch from 101–133 W. Main Street that once served as home to the bourbon industry. The collection of Revivalist and Chicago School-style buildings with cast-iron storefronts were built between 1852 and 1905. In 1857, the buildings were built and used to store whiskey barrels that had been produced from the distilleries nearby. On a list of Louisville's Most Endangered Historic Places, the buildings were slated for demolition in 2011, but an agreement between the city, local developers and preservationists saved Whiskey Row.