Tag: Kentucky Derby HotelsView All Tags
UPDATE: A rep for 21C Museum Hotel tells us that you don't have to know the hotel founders to book a room but you do have to book early. For example, they are already getting requests for next year and since there are only 90 rooms and a lot of repeat guests, the rooms will go fast. Hurry!
This weekend is the 2012 Kentucky Derby and if you were smart, you booked a hotel room way back in February. But sadly, the hotel that we all really want to stay at for the Derby is never going to be available during the horse race.
We're talking about the arty cool 21C Museum Hotel, a hybrid contemporary art museum/boutique hotel. The hotel is booked this year and presumably, next year and the year after that and the year after that. The reason being is not just because it's a popular spot but also because we've heard during the Derby, friends and family of the hotel's owner get first priority. Aw shucks.
For now, we'll have to live vicariously through these up close and personal snapshots from Business Insider. In the meantime, we'll be scheming of ways to get into the owner's good graces.
[Photo: Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider]
We know, we know. It's not even Valentine's Day and we're already talking about booking hotels for Kentucky Derby but the truth is, even though the big race is not until May 4, it's probably harder to book a last-minute room for the Derby, especially if you want to be in town, than it is to book a last-minute hotel for the Super Bowl. So if you're interested in going, we say book now.
So, what are the hotel options like right now? We hit up Expedia during the Derby weekend (Thursday, May 3-Sunday, May 6) and found a few budgety hotels like Days Inn and Ramada for under $280 a night. You might be saying "Ouch" right now and you might not be thrilled about staying on the outskirts of town but those are actually doable rates for the Derby.
Looking at the four and five-star hotels, we see that they are all sold-out. At least on Expedia. They may have availability if you book with the hotel directly or if you work with a travel agent. (See our tips for Super Bowl.) There are a few three-star hotels left like the Hyatt Place Louisville for $499 and the Holiday Inn Louisville in North Clarksville for $429 a night. The Galt House is available but at $1,500 a night. Yikes!
It's the only time of the year when you can wear a ridiculous floppy hat, guzzle mint juleps and talk in an exaggerated Paula Deen accent without an ounce of shame (at least until the next morning.) Yes, we're talking about The Kentucky Derby.
While hotels in Louisville sell out far, far, far in advance (we've actually heard that the horse owners buy up all the hotel rooms for their friends), there are plenty of other hotels to watch the races at. Here are our three hotels who are going all out:
It may be over in two minutes, but the Kentucky Derby is a weekend-long celebration in Louisville, and this year it's even tougher to find a hotel room in town. According to the local Courier-Journal, rooms have been filling up much more quickly than last year. In fact, most places you'd want to stay are sold out.
Already bought your fancy hat and still want to blow your month's rent at Churchill Downs? You can still find a place to stay, as long as you don't mind budget chains of the Holiday Inn, Best Western variety.
While you'll likely be spending Black Friday elbowing people at Target for $3 appliances, you Kentucky Derby fans will want to do some hotel shopping before braving the crowds. The Galt House Hotel in Louisville, the official hotel of the Kentucky Derby, will offer a one-day-only sale on November 27 from 1:36 a.m.—to commemorate the 136th running of the race—until 11:50 p.m., EST.
Yes, the May 1 derby is far away, but the hotel's early specials will save you 700 smackers. It's not atypical to shell out more than a couple grand for a room during the derby, which makes it worth it to plan ahead. Plus, you can use the savings on some good betting at the tracks.
Two minutes. It's how long the actual race of the famed Kentucky Derby lasts, but for many both in Louisville and outside of Kentucky, it's the difference between a fat wad of cash or empty pockets. Curious to observe the spectacle from the comfort of our home city, New York, we headed up to the 19th floor mad46 rooftop bar at The Roosevelt Hotel for their official party, complete with copious mint juleps and little cheese plates.
There were seersucker suits and showy hats, and there was even a little betting in honor of the fun happening in Churchill Downs. The race, which actually began a tad bit late, was broadcast live via several rooftop televisions and everyone gathered around as "Mine That Bird" took home the first jewel in the Triple Crown.
Whether you're headed to the Kentucky Derby tomorrow to actually watch the races or just to don a silly hat and stalk Paris Hilton, you'll be happy to know that there are hotel rooms open. But they will cost you a pretty penny.
For instance the Embassy Suites is charging $450 a night. Granted, it's a suite and you can fit four friends in there easily but still, are people really going to shell out that much for the Derby? Similarly, the Hilton Garden Inn is now charging $579 a night. And The Brown Hotel is asking for $1,333 a night. Um. Ok. If you say so.
Your best bet for affordable Derby hotels continues to be budget brands outside the city center. Louisville doesn't have that much of a boutique hotel scene to begin with and the existing rooms have been sold-out for a long time.
If you're not celebrating the Derby in New York, then we say just wear a crazy hat from the flea market, make your own mint julep and plop yourself down on the couch to watch the races instead.
Fancy a cool mint julep? In the mood to wear a freakishly oversized, overdecorated hat while competing to win tickets to the Belmont Stakes horse races in June? Don't even think about heading to Kentucky for Saturday's Derby at this point, but instead grab a cab and head uptown to the Roosevelt Hotel's mad46 rooftop lounge for their Official Kentucky Derby Party.
From 5pm to 10pm on Saturday, the 19th floor lounge will host nattily-dressed folk after they walk the red carpet on 46th Street and are whisked to the rooftop by private elevator. At 6:05pm, the actual Kentucky Derby will be broadcast live to accompany the specialty cocktail, the "Woodford Reserve Mint Julep," and cheers will go up to this 135th anniversary of the event.
If the women are game to wear dresses with kick-pleats and hats large enough to almost beam in the broadcast on their own and the men break out the seersucker and pocket watches, then there will be hearty competition for "Best Dressed at the Derby." The prize, two tickets to the Belmont Stakes, should be enough to draw out the horse racing fans, but we're also hoping for the appearance of faux southern accents and handlebar mustaches.
[Photo: Roosevelt Hotel]
The Kentucky Derby will be held this year on Saturday, May 2 and it's sure to be less glitzy than other years thanks to the economy and well, the loss of Anna Nicole Smith. Her absence is still felt two years later. Oh well, there's always Heidi Montag or Lindsay Lohan to step in.
But despite these tragedies, hotel room rates are not coming down. Even though, hotels are moaning about the loss of business and empty rooms for Derby weekend, you will be hard-pressed to find any mildly respectable hotel brand that is not going for less than $200. In fact, most room rates are averaging about $350.
We checked rates on our own Hotel Rates Search Engine and found the Hyatt Place Louisville for $449 a night. The Hilton Garden Inn was $579 a night and the Hyatt Regency Louisville was $1,130 a night. The uber-cool 21C Museum Hotel was sold-out.
These rates turn us off entirely and we can only imagine that rich folk are spending that much money for a Derby hotel room. Perhaps as the weekend gets closer and hotels realize they aren't selling out will the rates come down. But we won't bet (har, har) on it.
When Saturday's snail mail delivered up Travel & Leisure's Hotels Issue we got a bit overexcited--yeah, welcome to our lives.
The issue is chalk full of good glossy hotel info, but when we read the Viewing Rooms piece on 21C Museum Hotel in Louisville, we realized this brand spankin' new hotel might just be worth of destination hotel consideration. Hotels that combine art and hospitality always pique our interest. Throw in the fact that this project is part of a larger, and judging from the photographic evidence on Flickr, rather successful revitalization of downtown Louisville and we were in.
21C Museum hotel just opened in April, but already guests are raving about the service and the 42 inch flat screen plasma televisions. Let's be honest, giant plasma televisions help guests forgive most beta hotel service hiccups anyway. Now that the Derby is a thing of the past it shouldn't be all that difficult to snag one of the 90 rooms here if you are set to travel to Louisville in the near future. If you do go, take some photos and share them with us, will ya?
As for us, we are seriously considering booking a HotelChatter trip here for the 2007 Kentucky Derby. Despite Barbaro's horrific and tragic injury, which was really hard to watch, attending a Triple Crown race ranks fairly high on our to-do list. If you are thinking along the same lines, the cool girl at 21C said to call back "late summer" when they would begin accepting reservations for next year's Derby (May 5, 2007). Stay tuned.