Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products and services; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.
Founded in 1778, Louisville is the largest city in Kentucky. Blessed with more than its fair share of Southern charm, it’s famous for its fried chicken, for the annual Kentucky Derby and of course, for the iconic Louisville Slugger baseball bat. Come to watch the horses at Churchill Downs or to wander the Victorian streets of picturesque Old Louisville. In this article, we look at the best hotels the city has to offer, ranging from art-inspired boutiques to party picks near the bluegrass and bourbon bars of Fourth Street Live!.
Best Overall: Homewood Suites Louisville East
Located a 20-minute drive east of central Louisville, Homewood Suites Louisville East is certainly not the most convenient city hotel - but it is the most popular. Ranked first on TripAdvisor, it offers a quiet location, rustic decor and stands out for its exemplary service. It also has an impressive list of amenities, making this the perfect choice for a wide range of travelers. Book a suite with one or two bedrooms and enjoy the freedom offered by a full kitchen, free Wi-Fi and a cozy separate living room.
A dishwasher and a complimentary grocery shopping service ensure that self-catering doesn’t feel like a chore. Start your day with the included hot breakfast, then connect with your fellow travelers at the evening social (a food and beverage reception is hosted every week from Monday to Thursday). Families will love the barbecue grills and seasonal outdoor pool, while corporate travelers stay connected in the professional business center. Other highlights include a fitness center, a jogging trail and a basketball court.
Best Budget: Holiday Inn Express & Suites Louisville Downtown
Located a few minutes’ walk from the famous Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, this Holiday Inn Express is an excellent value pick in the heart of downtown. Its within walking distance to the city’s major attractions, so you'll save money on public transport. Those planning a budget family trip will be especially grateful for the fact that children aged 19 and under stay for free, as long as they share their parents’ room.
All rooms include a private bathroom, a 40” LCD TV and a Keurig coffeemaker. Instead of paying for restaurant meals, use the mini-fridge and microwave to cater for yourself or fill up at the hotel’s complimentary hot continental breakfast buffet. Other money-saving perks include a free 24-hour coffee bar and free high-speed Internet. A fitness center allows you to exercise in between sightseeing sessions, while on-site parking is available for a small daily fee.
Best Boutique: 21c Museum Hotel Louisville
Ultra-stylish 21c Museum Hotel Louisville enjoys a superb location near the Muhammad Ali Center and the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts. Comprised of five 19th-century warehouses, the property doubles as a boutique hotel and a contemporary art museum. Rotating exhibitions make your stay interesting, while permanent installations include a double-size replica of Michelangelo’s David (painted gold and positioned on the street outside).
There are 91 rooms and suites, all with custom-made designer furniture, high ceilings and oversized windows. Each one is equipped with a full range of modern comforts, including a Nespresso machine and Malin + Goetz toiletries. For a truly unique stay, spend the night in multi-colored art installation Asleep in the Cyclone. Proof on Main restaurant serves artisanal regional produce alongside a selection of over 120 Kentucky bourbons. There’s a 24-hour fitness center, as well as a spa with a sauna and steam room.
Best for Families: Hampton Inn Louisville Downtown
Located within easy walking distance of kid-friendly attractions such as Louisville Slugger Field and Louisville Waterfront Park, this Hampton Inn is an excellent choice for families. In particular, the indoor pool is made for quality bonding time. Each of the 173 guestrooms includes free Wi-Fi (an obligatory amenity for teenage travelers), a 32” TV and a coffee maker. Choose a guestroom with a pull-out sofa or two queen-size beds.
Suites provide extra space with a separate sitting room and include a microwave and mini-fridge for basic self-catering. Before heading out to explore the city, fill up on the hotel’s free hot breakfast. Kids will be especially impressed with the waffle station. Other useful amenities include a fitness center, laundry service and self-parking. And although there’s no restaurant, there are countless dining options nearby.
Best for Romance: The Brown Hotel
A Louisville landmark since 1923, The Brown Hotel is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and located a short stroll from Louisville Palace Theater. Stop to admire the hotel’s Georgian Revival façade, then step into a world of nostalgic Southern romance. In the guestrooms, a pillow-topped bed complete with Egyptian cotton sheets and a goose-down comforter awaits.
There’s a flat-screen TV for cozy evenings in and a refrigerator for keeping celebratory champagne chilled. Refined restaurant English Grill was recently ranked by OpenTable as one of the 100 Most Romantic Restaurants in America, while the Lobby Bar is an Urban Bourbon Trail highlight. Make your stay extra special with the Romantic Getaway Package, which includes breakfast for two, a dozen red roses and valet parking.
Best Luxury: Seelbach Hilton
Historic Seelbach Hilton puts you within a few minutes’ walk of buzzing entertainment complex Fourth Street Live!. Also listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it has been the hotel of choice for visiting elite since 1905. In fact, F. Scott Fitzgerald based the eponymous character from his iconic novel The Great Gatsby on a bootlegger that he met while staying here during the Prohibition.
To relive the glamor of Gatsby’s era, book a stay in the Seelbach Suite, with its original wood floors, stained glass windows and magnificent marble bathroom. In the parlor, a carved-oak fireplace adds to the overall sense of luxury. Downstairs, The Oak Room is the only AAA Five-Diamond restaurant in Kentucky, while Old Seelbach Bar is renowned for its single barrel bourbons.
Best for Nightlife: Hilton Garden Inn Louisville Downtown
From Hilton Garden Inn Louisville Downtown, you can walk to the restaurants and bars of Fourth Street Live! in just six minutes. The hotel also boasts 8UP, the only indoor-outdoor rooftop bar in the city. Make your way upstairs for scenic 8th-floor views complemented by seasonal cocktails and bourbon-inspired dishes. In between parties, you can detox with a visit to the fitness center or take advantage of complimentary access to the nearby YMCA pool. From free Wi-Fi to a fridge for your pre-dinner drinks, the stylish rooms and suites include everything you need to have fun. If you feel peckish after a night out on the town, pick up a snack from the 24-hour Pavilion Pantry.
Best Business: Embassy Suites by Hilton Louisville Downtown
This downtown Embassy Suites is ideally located for business near the Kentucky International Convention Center. You can host an event for up to 500 people on-site, while a 24-hour business center and complimentary Wi-Fi allow for a productive stay. After work, unwind in a spacious suite complete with a fridge and microwave, a separate sitting area and an oversized TV. All room rates include a cooked-to-order breakfast and an evening reception with drinks and canapés. An indoor pool, a 24-hour fitness center and a restaurant for steak dinners with your colleagues complete the hotel’s list of amenities.
Best B&B: Dupont Mansion B&B
Nestled amidst beautiful formal gardens, Dupont Mansion B&B lies at the heart of historic Old Louisville. A glorious Italianate mansion dating back to circa 1879, it’s a masterpiece of marble fireplaces, hardwood floors and intricate plaster moldings. There are seven rooms and suites, all adorned with antique furniture in addition to modern TVs and free Wi-Fi. Some have fireplaces, others have four-poster beds and all boast an ensuite bathroom with a shower and whirlpool tub. In the morning, enjoy the complimentary gourmet breakfast with its changing roster of hot and cold dishes.