The Bottleworks Hotel, 850 Massachusetts Avenue, Indianapolis, Indiana, has a vibe all its own.
While located in an historic building almost a century old, it has every up-to-date feature prized in the most contemporary of hotels, from a coffee shop and a bar to free WiFi and other up-to-date technology. Retention of the best of the old — especially the exuberant terra cotta white glazed decoration — anchors the space at this historic Indianapolis hotel.
Staying at the Bottleworks Hotel
There are 139 guestrooms at the Bottleworks Hotel, some of which are in the new section. I was a guest of the hotel, and they ensconced me in a suite larger than my first apartment. Because it was in the old part of the building, the outside walls retained the white glazed brick. Other walls were painted white, and the ceiling was black.
The sitting room had a bar, six-person dining table, huge sofa, desk, a vintage Remington typewriter, and a stack of old books (including a poem by Indianapolis poet James Whitcomb Riley — “His Pa’s Romance” — that I’d never heard of before). Side tables were repurposed water utility manhole covers.
I noted a Keurig single-cup maker with Starbucks coffee and tea, a stocked in-room minibar, and a menu of in-room dining options.
There was a Klipsch Bluetooth speaker system, complimentary high-speed WiFi, a humongous 75-inch flat-screen television, and oversized work station (aka “desk”) in the sitting room The bedroom had a second enormous tv.
A large hall opened to the bedroom on the left, the bathroom on the right, and a huge closet straight ahead (complete with iron, ironing board, and safe). The white marble bathroom included both a deep soaking tub and a glass-walled shower. William Roam amenities included soap, shampoo, conditioner, bath gel, and bath salts. My favorite extra? A makeup mirror that lit up automatically when you got close.
I wasn’t traveling with my pooch, but the hotel is pet-friendly. Four-footed guests are offered a selection of amenities including dog bowls, a custom-made sweet treat, and a placemat from Indy-local City Dogs Grocery.
The Garage Food Hall in Indianapolis
The Garage isn’t the only dining option in the Bottleworks District (there are a couple of traditional restaurants) but the lure of a 21st-century food hall was too great to resist.
The Garage, a 30,000-square-foot food and market hall, anchors the project, occupying two of the bottling plant’s original garage buildings. The food hall features 1930s Art Deco terra-cotta facades, industrial architecture, and large roll-up doors for a seamless indoor-outdoor experience open from about 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week.
This is where I headed for dinner. I did a slow walk around inside — trying to decide what to eat. Although it was a Monday night, the place was packed with couples and families occupying the tables in the center. Obviously the Garage attracts locals as well as hotel guests.
Although tempted by La Chinita Poblana, Chapati Beta, and Mama Fofo’s, I ended up at J’s Lobster & Fish Market where I tried the day’s special — fried shrimp on french fries — and added a Mexican coke to wash it down (photo, below).
Meeting and event space ranges from the usual to the extraordinary.
If you’re looking for a “wow” factor, look no further than the 578 square feet of The Lab. Floor-to-ceiling green glass tile mixed with mid-century modern chandeliers make this one of Bottleworks Hotel’s most buzzworthy event venues. The Lab is where once upon a time all the newest Coca-Cola concoctions and recipes were developed and tasted.
But, as they say on tv, there’s more. Entertainment options right on site include movies at Living Room Theaters (an eight-screen cinema) and Pins Mechanical (duckpin bowling, bocce ball, patio pong, and vintage pinball.
History of the Bottleworks
The Coca-Cola Bottling Plant — at one time the largest Coca-Cola bottling plant in the world — was designed by Rubush and Hunter, the city’s premier architectural firm of the interwar years. Completed in 1931, it is an Art Deco masterpiece lavishly covered with decorative glazed white terra cotta tile.
The Encyclopedia of Indianapolis notes that even the factory portion of the interior featured Art Deco details on stair rails and doorknobs. Immediately southwest of the main building is the one-story garage — now a food court — also built in 1931 and only slightly less ornate than its companion.
The complex now known as the Bottleworks District anchors the northern end of the Mass Ave Cultural District. Coincidentally, it is across Massachusetts Avenue from Jungclaus-Campbell Company, which (then, William P. Jungclaus Company) masterminded the construction almost a century ago.
The bottling plant was sold to Indianapolis Public Schools in 1968, which used the complex primarily for servicing and parking school buses. In 2017, IPS sold the 12-acre complex to Hendricks Commercial Properties. Transformation into a mixed-use development began. Envisioned as a culinary, arts, and entertainment hub, in addition to the Garage (food hall) and Bottleworks hotel, there will be apartments, office space, and retail space.
If you stay at the Bottleworks Hotel
Another historic hotel in Indianapolis you might like is the Crowne Plaza Union Station Indianapolis. If you love Art Deco architecture in your hotel, check out our round-up of Art Deco hotels in New York City.
(Review and photos by Susan McKee, who was a guest of the Bottleworks)