Hotel Distil uncorked in Louisville’s Whiskey Row

Hotel Distil opened in late October on Louisville’s Whiskey Row, the first of Marriott International’s Autograph Collection Hotels in Kentucky.

The 205-room hotel incorporates the original 1860s-era façade of the building, which housed J.T.S. Brown and Sons’ bourbon works. Interior design cues are taken from bourbon barrels and the distilling process, including wood tones, staves, black metal accents and copper fixtures. It also incorporates local blown glass in light fixtures and blown glass flask art pieces. 

“Now that we have been open a little over two weeks, our biggest differentiator and comments from guests is our storied location and history on Whiskey Row,” said Mark Billing, market director of sales at marketing at the hotel. “The challenge behind this is tying in our modern amenities to the historic location.” He said the hotel considers its competition to be the 21c Museum Hotel and the Omni Louisville.

“Our most notable design element is the incorporation of the historic facades into our modern architecture,” Billing said. The cast iron and glazed brick of the façade were saved following a 2015 fire.

The hotel’s F&B options including Repeal, an oak-fired steakhouse seating 72, with a skylight that allows views of the historic façade, along with a private room and separate bar. Bitters End, an open-air rooftop bar with retractable glass roof, serves small plates. Both areas are part of new construction added to the existing building.

A local touch: Guests staying in one of 11 suites have access to an in-room private bourbon cart and the services of a “bourbon ambassador” to make cocktails from the hotel’s private single-barrel picks. 

The hotel was developed by White Lodging, Poe Companies and REI Real Estate Services. White Lodging, which has eight other hotels in Louisville, also manages the hotel and restaurants.

Published rates start at US$185. “We expect to be the rate leader in the market,” Billing said.

Hotel Distil's Bitters End bar
Hotel Distil’s Bitters End bar

C. Baldwin opens in Houston: C. Baldwin, Curio Collection by Hilton, opened in mid-October in the mixed-use Allen Center west of Houston’s downtown. The name of the 354-room property is a nod to Charlotte Baldwin Allen, known as the “mother of Houston” for her role in bankrolling and building the city.

A 111-foot living native plant wall at the entrance of the hotel is shaped like an X “to remind visitors to make their mark in the world, inspired by a time when Baldwin was unable to sign her own name to legal documents when conducting business matters,” according to the hotel, and there are other touches meant to appeal to female travelers and pay homage to Allen. 

“She was an explorer and a builder, a freethinker and an unparalleled go-getter,” said Melody Warren, the hotel’s marketing manager.

F&B spaces include Rosalie Italian Soul, with mid century-inspired ambiance and geometric forms. There is also a grab-and-go section and a bar whose chandelier and staircase are a focal point of the lobby.

A standout design element of the property is the modern décor and floor-to-ceiling windows in guest rooms and suites. “All guest rooms also feature an image of powerhouse female Houstonians, all taken by local Houston photographer Elizabeth Conley,” said Warren. Fourteen corner rooms feature Peloton cycles.

Lauren Rottet of Houston-based Rottet Studio and Kate Rohrer of Philadelphia’s Rohe Creative led the hotel’s design.

Local competitors include Four Seasons Hotel Houston, JW Marriott Downtown and Hotel Zaza Museum District. ADR is about US$229, Warren said.

A view of the outdoor patio at C. Baldwin from the lobby
A view of the outdoor patio at C. Baldwin from the lobby