During our stay in Louisville, Kentucky, we were hosted at The Bellwether Hotel in Louisville’s Park District. Only a 10-minute drive away from downtown Louisville, The Bellwether sits in the quiet Highlands neighborhood, just close enough to enjoy the activities of the surrounding city.
The Highlands neighborhood is known for its pedestrian-friendly ambiance and eclectic culture. Surrounded by diverse restaurants, from classic Southern comfort food to international cuisines, the road The Bellwether is located on is often dubbed “Restaurant Row.” There are over 30 restaurants, coffee houses, bookstores, breweries, and small shops all within walking and biking distance.
The Bellwether formerly housed the 1907 Highlands Police Station, 1917 BellSouth Switching Station, and the Louisville Ballet. The original police station’s brick facade and WWII-era murals have been restored, and the ballet studio converted into a lounge, seamlessly blending the building’s historical charm with modern Kentucky living.
The Bellwether is unique in that it is an invisible service and self-check-in hotel. You’re provided with a personal key code to enter the hotel after your reservation is confirmed which will lead you to the “selfie check in” complete with a ring light and photo area. There’s no obligation to participate in the selfies though, you can just check yourself right in by walking in with your door code. Once you head to your room, enter your code again, and you’re all set for your stay.
While convenient check-in with a line free experience helps get you settled in quickly, you do need to note that there is no front desk onsite to call or drop in to ask questions. This provides a bit of an unconventional hotel experience to try out. The hotel does provide you with a number to text for any questions that you have during your stay. I used the text service a few times during my stay make a few requests and the toiletry items were delivered while we were out sightseeing on Saturday as requested.
To encapsulate the history of the building, the style throughout the hotel is Art Deco. The lobby has sleek geometric paneled walls, velvety couches, and a small coffee bar. Each room is styled similarly, with simple bedding and pops of color in the carpet and chairs. It is very much like a place you could imagine the fictional character Gatsby staying.
The guest rooms and suites are designed to pay homage to local historical figures and iconic Highlands thoroughfares. There are 7 different room options ranging from a queen or king suite, a penthouse that sleeps 10, and a separate adjacent house that sleeps 12. The rooms are very spacious, offering sitting areas and a small kitchenette area. The bathrooms are large, and depending on the type of room you book, you can choose a shower or a bathtub.
Our room was a King Suite called Rosewood and has tall 20 foot ceilings and was painted in a dark blush rose color with beautiful art deco design elements. One of the delight features of our room was a small hole in the glass shower door to avoid getting wet while reaching through to turn on the faucets for a shower. I had never seen this feature and was impressed with this attention to a small detail.
All guest rooms and suites come stocked with LATHER toiletries, Heine Brothers Coffee, and a craft mini bar fully stocked with local Old Forester Whisky from the distillery located nearby. The hotel offers free wifi and Smart TV’s to its guests and free street parking. There is no dedicated hotel parking but we were able to find parking within a few blocks of the hotel each time we returned during morning, afternoon and evening hours.
With the open entertaining spaces and large room options, the hotel feels like a grand estate from the 1920’s and it seems perfect for a girl’s weekend or a family gathering. If you are a solo traveler to the area, you may want to request a room down the hall from the entertaining space to ensure a quiet stay all day but there are quiet hours after 10 PM in all the common areas.
If you call ahead, you can even make a pet-friendly booking. Unlike some other boutique hotels, booking a stay is fairly affordable, with queen suites starting at just $134.00 per night and king suites starting at $144.00 per night.
The Bellwether is a great place to stay if you’re someone who prefers to be more independent and unbothered during their stay. With basic amenities and a gorgeous Art Deco style, The Bellwether is a comforting place to come back to after a night on the town or a visit to local museums.