Location, original art, and details that connect Hotel Alexander to its home city make this place unique. If you stand outside The Alexander, 333 South Delaware Street, Indianapolis, Indiana, you’re a block south of Gainbridge Fieldhouse (where the Indiana Pacers play basketball) and four blocks east of Lucas Oil Stadium (where the Indianapolis Colts play football). Within easy walking distance are the Indianapolis Convention Center and myriad downtown businesses, including Eli Lilly and Company two blocks to the south.
When Hotel Alexander opened a decade ago, the goal was to provide a “curated hospitality experience”, according to Dolce, part of Wyndham Hotels. The hotel is full of what are often called “Easter eggs” — hidden surprises — as well as the more obvious art installations. Those in the know will recognize discreet nods to Indianapolis history alongside the $3 million collection of art curated by staff of the Indianapolis Museum of Art: Dr. Lisa Freiman, head of the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s Contemporary Art Department, and Veronica Roberts, adjunct associate curator of contemporary art for the IMA.
Take the wallpaper (and, the logo for the hotel). It’s not just a geometric abstract pattern. It’s a simplification of the plat laid out for Indiana’s capital city by Alexander Ralston (can you guess, now, why the hotel is called the Alexander?).
Indianapolis — like Washington DC — was a new city set in a new place. As an assistant to the French-American architect Pierre Charles L’Enfant, in 1791 Ralston helped lay out the city plan for the nation’s new capital. Then, Ralston, a surveyor and engineer, was hired to design the layout of Indiana’s capital in 1820. He created a smaller version of L’Enfant’s plan consisting of a central circle with four radiating avenues crossing a grid of streets within a Mile Square border labeled North, East, South, and West streets.
The Alexander is located on the southeast corner of Delaware and South streets — specifically on Plat 99, which became the name of the hotel’s bar (pictured, below).
It’s impossible not to notice the artwork: it’s everywhere. There are 14 site-specific pieces created just for the hotel by individual artists plus more than 50 other works of art displayed in the hotel’s public spaces.
The Alexander Indianapolis in two sections, one with standard guest rooms (and lots of meeting spaces) and the other with extended stay suites. The hotel was doing some repair in the wing with standard guestrooms, so they put me in one of the suites. It was huge, like a studio apartment. There’s a full kitchen (including a Keurig coffeemaker) and, in a closet in the bathroom, there’s a space plumbed for a washer and dryer.
The only quibble — no light for reading in bed — and a giggle: Shampoo, conditioner, and bath gel (Jonathan Adler Champagne brand) are large 300 ml containers. They’re not affixed to the shower wall and evidently too many guests have been, shall we say, tempted to take them home. A notice next to the bed snarkily notes the charge for such appropriation.
Guest rooms have a safe hidden in a drawer under the television, a full-length mirror, and a lighted makeup mirror in the bathroom. WiFi is free and fast.
There are 209 guest rooms including 157 standard hotel rooms and 52 extended-stay rooms. Room types offered include 146 traditional double-queen and California king guest rooms, 10 junior/extended suites, 36 one-bedroom residential studios, 16 two-bedroom residential suites, and a presidential suite with direct house-service access. ADA accessible units are available in each unit type.
In-room dining is available evenings Wednesday through Sunday.
There’s a workout room, 24-hour business center, and baggage storage at the Alexander. The hotel garage includes an electric vehicle charging station. Across Delaware Street is a CVS Pharmacy and Drug Store (open from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.) that’s also an active UPS Access Point. The Alexander welcomes two dogs up to 75 pounds for a $50 one-time, non-refundable fee per dog. Cats are not allowed.
Meetings and events can take place in 17 different locations comprising some 16,500 square feet of fully functional, flexible event space.
There are two restaurants in the hotel: Market Table (with its enviable selection of hot sauce, pictured above) is open for breakfast (except Sunday), and Nesso Italian Kitchen is open for dinner (closed Sunday and Monday). Plat 99 offers a small plates menu to go with your favorite libation.
The Alexander, completed in 2013 was last renovated in 2020. My suite in the extended stay part of the hotel is about $230 per night. Regular guestrooms start at about $180. You can make your reservations directly online with the hotel or check an online booking site like Expedia to see if you can get a better rate.
If you’re looking for more hotels in Indianapolis with long histories, check out the Bottleworks and Crowne Plaza Union Station.
(Susan McKee was a guest of Hotel Alexander; photos and opinions are hers)