The Grady Hotel: History and Style in Downtown Louisville

Lobby, The Grady Hotel, Louisville, Kentucky

The Grady Hotel, a historic property in downtown Louisville, Kentucky

Distillery tasting rooms, hip cafés, art galleries, and hotels line West Main Street in downtown Louisville, Kentucky’s bourbon capital. Most of these businesses are set in restored Victorian-era buildings with ornate stone facades, including a recently opened boutique lodging: The Grady Hotel.

Here’s the scoop:

The Grady Hotel, Louisville, Kentucky

The Grady Hotel sits on Louisville’s West Main Street.

The Grady Hotel

This 1880s building was originally home to an apothecary — a “medicinal bourbon apothecary,” that is, the kind that sold not medications, but spirits. In the 1920s, the Swann-Abram Hat Company, known for crafting hats worn by patrons of the Kentucky Derby, Louisville’s legendary horse races, set up shop here.

In 2021, the completely remodeled property opened as the 51-room Grady Hotel.

Lobby2, The Grady Hotel, Louisville, Kentucky

A second lobby seating area at the Grady

The main lobby is huge, with several seating areas and a fireplace with a mantle crafted from the building’s original stairwell. Behind the lobby is a gallery space, with works by area artists, and a second smaller lobby with more seating and a work desk.

Restaurant and bar, The Grady Hotel, Louisville, Kentucky

“Food, but mostly booze”

The Wild Swann

Located below the lobby, and accessed either from a lobby staircase or from the guest room elevators, The Wild Swann restaurant and bar feels like a hidden speakeasy, with shelves well-stocked with liquor and several secluded nooks where you could hide away for a private tête-à-tête. The Wild Swann’s tag line is “food, but mostly booze.”

In the morning, a simple Continental breakfast of a croissant and fruit is included in the room rates, and other dishes, from yogurt with fresh berries to bacon and eggs, are available to order a la carte. And in the evening, there’s food, but mostly booze.

Guestroom, The Grady Hotel, Louisville, Kentucky

A Grady Hotel guestroom

Guest Rooms & Amenities

The Grady’s guest rooms mix historical style with contemporary conveniences. Rooms have one king or two double beds, with traditional padded leather headboards that are wired with handy built-in electrical outlets. Bedside reading lamps sit on the adjacent night tables. Other amenities include work desks, mini-fridges, and clothes steamers.

One negative is that rooms aren’t currently equipped with coffee or tea-making facilities, although complimentary coffee and tea are available in The Wild Swann, set up on the bar where guests can help themselves.

The rooms with the best views are the -01 and -02 rooms on floors 3, 4, and 5 with expansive vistas across the Ohio River. You can glimpse the river from the upper floor -03 rooms, too, but they don’t have full water views. City-view units look out over Main Street or at the surrounding downtown buildings.

The only rooms that aren’t up to the same standard are the three on the lower level. While they are furnished identically to rooms on the upper floors, the large windows are almost below ground, so your view is of the sidewalk. Hotel staff say these rooms are sold only when the hotel is full and that they typically warn guests about their subterranean setting.

Guest bath, The Grady Hotel, Louisville, Kentucky

Many of the updated baths have large walk-in showers.

While most of the guest rooms throughout the hotel aren’t large, many of the bathrooms are surprisingly spacious, with grey and white tile floors and large walk-in rainshowers. 

Bathrobes are inspired by hometown hero, the late boxer Muhammad Ali. You can learn more about Ali’s life and legacy at the Muhammad Ali Center, which is right around the corner from the Grady.

Robe, The Grady Hotel, Louisville, Kentucky

Robes inspired by Louisville native Muhammad Ali

If you normally work out when you travel, note that the Grady doesn’t currently have a fitness room or other workout facilities. But you can get at least some exercise nearby, as you walk the Louisville bourbon trail that leads to several downtown tasting rooms.


Standard double room rates at the Grady Hotel start at approximately $229/night, including a Continental breakfast. Valet parking is available for $40/day, with unlimited in and out privileges. You can check or for a better rate and make your reservation there as well.

Hotel feature by Vancouver-based travel, food, and feature writer Carolyn B. Heller. Photos © Carolyn B. Heller. Louisville Tourism hosted my stay at the Grady Hotel for research purposes.

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