Hotel at a Glance: The Brown Hotel
After its opening in 1923, the first person to sign the guest register at the Brown Hotel was a former prime minister of the United Kingdom. Over the next several decades, the Georgian revival-style hotel continued to welcome rich and famous guests, including Harry Truman, Elizabeth Taylor, Joan Crawford, the Duke of Windsor, and Muhammad Ali. In 1971, as downtown Louisville’s economy worsened, the hotel was forced to close it doors. More than a decade passed before the 16-story property was fully renovated and reopened. In 2012, it was named one of the best 500 hotels in the world by Travel + Leisure magazine, signifying its triumphant return to its 1920s grandeur.
- Secret club: Available only to guests in the Club Deluxe and Luxury rooms, this special nook in the hotel provides complimentary hors d’oeuvres and wine each evening, as well as a free breakfast each morning.
- AAA Four-Diamond restaurant: At the English Grill, choose from a selection of more than 200 wines that complement dishes ranging from sautéed halibut to braised beef short ribs (dining credit is included in some options of this Getaway).
- Interesting dish: At J. Graham’s Café, the Hot Brown, which comes in a skillet atop texas toast and turkey, stuffed with cheese, tomato, bacon, and mornay sauce, was featured on an episode of Man v. Food.
- In-room amenities: mahogany furniture, 5-inch feather pillow-top mattresses, and marbled bathroom floors
Louisville, Kentucky: Southern City with Legendary Sports Attractions on the Banks of the Ohio River
Sometimes referred to as the northernmost southern city, Louisville is located along the Indiana-Kentucky border on the banks of the Ohio River. Each year on the first Saturday in May, throngs of well-dressed folks descend on the city’s Churchill Downs to watch the “most exciting two minutes in sports”—the Kentucky Derby. Though the horserace and the events surrounding it last only a few days, the track hosts other races from April to November and operates a museum full of artifacts and hands-on exhibits you can see seven days a week.
Another Louisville mainstay is the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, which offers a 30-minute guided tour of its famed baseball-bat-making operation. The 120-foot-tall Louisville Slugger stationed out front is billed as the largest bat in the world. In the museum, you can participate in interactive exhibits that take you inside the manufacturing process and even let you test out the latest line of bats inside Bud’s batting cage. After the tour, each visitor receives a miniature souvenir bat for swatting away autograph-seeking fans.