Galt House Hotel, Louisville: Where people come to celebrate

galt house outside

Stay at the Galt House Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky for a taste of luxury and every reason to celebrate. While I was there two weeks ago, I shared glass elevator rides with women attending a bowling league convention, young men who had been at a college buddy’s wedding,  families on vacation, and monks in saffron and maroon robes who were in town for the Dalai Lama. Several of these combinations milled in the lobby the morning I was leaving.

galt house lobby While I watched the action of people ferrying luggage, gift bags and wrapped packages through the hotel’s lobby, I chatted with one of the bellman who filled me in how busy the Galt House Hotel is on most days. Very.

From what I saw, the Galt House is a Louisville hub of sorts. Its location, size and offerings have it locked in as a destination.

As Louisville’s only hotel located next to the Ohio River, and Kentucky’s largest hotel (there are 1,290 guest rooms), the Galt House offers a gleaming bustle of snappy service, casual to upscale dining, boutique style shopping and comfortable slumber just minutes from several Louisville attractions.

The Louisville Slugger Museum and the Frazier History Museum are within walking distance for those who like to stroll and the KFC Yum! Center (where the Dalai Lama talked), the Kentucky International Center and the Muhammad Ali Center are connected to the hotel by a skywalk. The Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft and Kentucky Science Center are almost next door.

Outside Jockey Silks Bourbon Bar

Outside Jockey Silks Bourbon Bar

At first, the Galt House Hotel’s size felt intimidating when I navigated my way from one part of the hotel to another, but I caught on to the layout thanks to signage and directions from the helpful staff. The hotel consists of two main towers situated on both sides of North Fourth St. with an expansive walkway connecting them three stories above the street.

Each time I ventured from my two double-bed suite on the 15th floor, an abode of soft cotton bedding, marble counter-tops, polished wood furniture and two flat screen TVs (one in the bedroom and one in the living room) I was struck by how a hotel of this magnitude also offered places for intimate gatherings. For example, the sitting area outside of Jockey Silks Bourbon Bar and Lounge is perfect for visiting with a group of friends while enjoying a bourbon libation. I headed here as part of Louisville’s Urban Bourbon Trail. To be on Louisville’s Urban Bourbon Trail, a bar must have at least 50 different bourbons. Jockey Silks Bourbon Bar has 150.

River view from The Conservatory

River view from The Conservatory

The Conservatory that serves as the walkway between the two towers of The Galt House Hotel is another popular gathering place. Here, Al J’s at the Conservatory and Thelma’s Deli offer drinks, eats, and terrific views of downtown Louisville and the Ohio River. Along with Al J’s unusual bar of live fish that swim lazily beneath the long stretch of glass, The Conservatory also has a bird aviary of canaries.

The Galt House Hotel also has an outdoor swimming pool, a fitness center, a spa, and a hair salon. I didn’t use any of them for lack of time. I almost went to the business center to use a computer, but the concierge looked up a phone number for me which saved me money.

Bedroom of two room suite

Bedroom of two room suite

There is free Wi-Fi in public areas but there is a $5.95 fee to connect in guest rooms. Parking will cost $12 a day if you self park. Valet parking is $18 with in and out privileges.

If you go here, notice the jockey statue and the handprints in cement near the hotel’s main entrance.  Each handprint belongs to a  jockey who won the Kentucky Derby. The Galt House Hotel is the official hotel of the Kentucky Derby so the “Gallop to Glory” tribute is fitting. This artwork that includes roses made of steel was created in 2005 to honor the 30  jockeys who were still alive at the time. Each subsequent Derby winner has been added since then.

"Gallop to Glory" Kentucky Derby Jockey Tribute

“Gallop to Glory” Kentucky Derby Jockey Tribute

Galt House Hotel
140 North Fourth St.
Louisville, KY 40202
800-The-Galt (843-4258) or 502-589-5200

My stay at the Galt House Hotel was courtesy of the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau. The lowest price listed at is $134 for a room with 2 double beds.  A suite is  $203.

You can also check rates at Travelocity, or Priceline.

Post and all photos except for the guest room photo are courtesy of Jamie Rhein, member of the Midwest Travel Writers Association.

The guest room photo is courtesy of The Galt House Hotel.

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