I headed to Hampton Inn I-75, Lexington/Hamburg Area for a Kentucky adventure with one of my traveling friends. The last time we saw each other, we were in London, pre-pandemic. There we stayed in four different hotels, including the Old Borough Arms in Rye. This was my call.
My friend is a fan of Hampton Inns for her road trip stays. This time, lodging was her call. I found this Hampton Inn lived up to its reliable standards. Recently renovated in 2019, and because of the travel slowdown of 2020, there’s still an atmosphere of newness. Plus, it was a great location for exploring several places in and around Lexington. Whether you’re interested in exploring horse farms, bourbon, Kentucky cuisine, history, art, or the outdoors, this location is a thumbs up.
The easy to access from the highway, free parking and size of the hotel –125 guest rooms, are a bonus when site-seeing a variety of places in a short time is the aim. Transitioning from our hotel room to the car to where we wanted to go was quick.
We started our Kentucky adventure by meeting up in the parking lot of Boone Tavern Hotel in Berea, Kentucky, a college town south of Lexington. The food here is phenomenal. We opted for Hot Brown, a traditional Kentucky dish and fried green tomatoes. Fortunately, even without a reservation, we snagged a table right by a window overlooking main street. We were lucky. The Boone Tavern is popular for a reason.
Next up, The Arboretum, the State Botanical Garden of Kentucky on the way to the Hampton Inn for check-in. The Arboretum is a 100-acre public garden that showcases Kentucky’s native plants and a variety of landscapes.
When we arrived at the Hampton Inn, there was ample places for us to park near each other. We stayed long enough to check in and figure out our next stop. We tend to go where our mood takes us.
Our stay was before COVID restrictions lifted, but regardless of social distancing, the check-in staff was warm, welcoming and very happy to see us. His cheerfulness matched the “Welcome to the Bluegrass State” signage and the cheerful décor of the lobby. The complimentary colors of the orange and blues create energy and I liked the mix of patterns which created a visual interest.
As with other Hampton Inns, framed photos set the scene for the hotel’s location. This one focused on Bluegrass Country. Black and white photos of horses and farms are part of the décor in the common areas and the guest rooms.
Our double queen room had all we needed. As with the rest of the hotel, it was modern, sleek and had a horse themed décor that included the bathroom. The close up photo of a jockey on a horse in a race was a nice touch. Bedside phone charging stations, the desk and chair, the large flat screen TV, mini-refrigerator, coffee maker, microwave, hair dryer and ample closet space are perfect for a vacation hub where all one needs is comfort and a place to keep one’s things. (My friend stayed here for two nights.)
Once we checked in, we headed downtown to head past Mary Todd Lincoln’s house to the Distillery District for bourbon. We missed out on the tour due to timing, but followed our bourbon with ice-cream at Crank and Boom. We found a phenomenal meal downtown at Distilled Restaurant and Bourbon Bar before heading back to our overnight hub.
In the morning, with the outdoors in mind, we headed to Natural Bridge State Resort Park with enough time to take The Skylift at Natural Bridge to the top of the mountain, walk across the top of the arch, hike down the trail to the lodge and back to the parking lot of the skylift where I left my car.
I imagine that now people have hit the road with summer travel, this Hampton Inn is a bustling place since catering to road trip travelers is its forte. (My friend just stayed at this Hampton Inn last weekend. This time she and her husband took in the Kentucky Horse Park in between meeting up with friends.)
When we stayed, breakfast was the grab and go version of a continental breakfast accompanied with good coffee. Now, the full hot breakfast is being offered. And the pool, fitness room and business center are at full capacity.
Photos and post by Jamie Rhein