Ironworks Hotel Indy: an Idealized Take on the Industrial Era

Ironworks Hotel, Indianapolis, Indiana (Photo by Susan McKee)Clanging machinery, noxious odors, dangerous workplaces, long hours, and child labor all marked the Industrial Revolution in the United States. But that was early last century — and the one before. In the 21st, many of us spend our workdays hunched over keyboards. No heavy lifting involved, although the long hours have lingered.

Along comes the Ironworks Hotel with the motto: “A hard day’s work deserves a soft place to lay your head”. The “Industrial Charm” design motif (as hinted in the name: Ironworks Hotel) is expressed in random pieces of decommissioned factories far removed from their original use and repurposed as decorative objects. The road warrior sees the remnants of a rougher workplace while gratefully settling down on a comfy couch in front of a wide-screen television or snuggling under a down comforter on the bed.Ironworks Hotel, Indianapolis, Indiana
You know that the Ironworks Hotel, 2721 East 86th Street, Indianapolis, Indiana, won’t be your typical bland cookie-cutter place just looking at the outside. This isn’t a decommissioned factory, but new construction inspired by America’s industrial heritage. The prevailing color scheme inside is gray, brown, and black.

Ironworks Hotel, Indianapolis, IndianaThe front portico of the Ironworks Hotel in Indianapolis is structural steel, carefully finished to resemble rusted supports. Inside, repurposed wood and random pieces of flat metal line the walls. On one wall is an enormous rendition of the United States constructed of the wooden patterns for machine parts — gears, pistons, grills, pipes, shanks, hinges, wheels — all painted red, white and blue.

The ductwork and electrical conduits are exposed aluminum. Some of the walls are brick, others are wood (some are metal — or painted to resemble metal). Lights in rough glass cubes hang from iron pulleys at the ceiling of the lobby in the Ironworks Hotel Indianapolis.

Guest room, Ironworks Hotel, Indianapolis, IndianaWiFi is free in the common areas and in each of the 120 guestrooms, where the minibar is set behind a metal grate. Keurig coffee makers and glass-walled showers with rainshower heads are two of the modern amenities. My room, on the top floor, had a half-wall of windows offering a panorama of treetops towards downtown Indianapolis.

If you’ve got a furry friend with you, the hotel can acccommodate (for a fee). Although there’s ample free self-parking, if you arrive, say, during Happy Hour, and the lot is (almost) full, you’ll find taking advantage of complementary valet parking will save a lot of walking.

There’s a fitness center and a business center with the usual services. On-site restaurants serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner (but you can also dine in your room if you prefer). The five-story Ironworks Hotel in Indianapolis has a AAA four-diamond rating.

You can book a room on the hotel’s website or via one of the usual hotel booking sites such as or Expedia. Rooms start about $180. There’s a second Ironworks Hotel in Beloit, Wisconsin.

The lobby’s on the second floor, reached by a stairway curving around an old boiler or via elevator.
Ironworks Hotel, Indianapolis, Indiana

(Photos by Susan McKee, who was a guest of the Ironworks Hotel Indy)

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