Unique Décor and Local Touches Distinguish Hotel Indy

Brutalist concrete ceilings and Neo Art Deco furniture set Hotel Indy, 141 East Washington Street, Indianapolis, Indiana, into a category of its own. The addition of oblique references to “the greatest spectacle in racing” make it stand out in the city known for the 500-Mile Race.

Hotel Indy, Indianapolis Indiana (Photo by Susan McKee)

This Tribute Portfolio Hotel (part of Marriott Bonvoy) opened at the edge of Indy’s Wholesale District in 2021. It’s diagonally across Washington Street from the City-County Building and directly across Delaware Street from the Julia M. Carson Transit Center — hub for IndyGo public transit. One block to the south is the Gainbridge Fieldhouse, where the Indiana Pacers play basketball. It’s a short walk to Lucas Oil Stadium (home of the Colts football team) and to Victory Field, stadium for the minor league baseball team, the Indianapolis Indians. The Indiana State Museum, Indiana History Center, and Eiteljorg Museum also are nearby.

Cannon Ball Lounge, Hotel Indy (Photo courtesy of hotel)The Cannon Ball Lounge on the top floor opens onto a rooftop bar. It’s named for Erwin Baker, who won the first race ever held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1909. Unfortunately, it rained all evening when I stayed at the Hotel Indy, so I never got a chance to check out the expansive views of downtown Indianapolis from the sixth floor, which was added when the hotel was transformed from a 1969 office building.

The Hulman Restaurant, Hotel Indy, Indianapolis, Indiana
The main floor dining room is called the Hulman to honor the late Tony Hulman, who bought the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, site of the “500”, in 1945. The hotel’s private dining room is called “1945”. The command at the start of the race — “Gentlemen, start your engines” — was first delivered in the 1950s. It didn’t become “Ladies and Gentlemen” until after the first female driver, Janet Guthrie, joined the field for the 1977 race. Tony Hulman died later that year. The Hulman family sold the track to Roger Penske in 2019.

Art Deco detailing, Hotel Indy, Indianapolis, IndianaDetails throughout Hotel Indy are reminiscent of flourishes of Art Deco design, from the cylindrical cushions on chairs and couches to the keyhole doorway to the Hulman restaurant to the rounded edges of furniture and the circular mirrors.

The hotel has 90 rooms, including king-bedded, double queens, suites, and a number of hearing and mobility accessible rooms. Pets are welcome. All guestrooms offer complimentary WiFi, minibars with snacks canned for freshness, mini refrigerators with selections of alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks, a coffee maker, a large flat-screen television, and a wind-up alarm clock. I was relieved to note that the clock was NOT wound up so I didn’t have to worry about the ticking. In fact, my room was impressively quiet. Although it was right on a busy downtown street and across from a bus depot I heard absolutely no traffic sounds, and with the waffle cement ceiling, I couldn’t hear anyone in the rooms above or below me. The soundproofing meant I couldn’t hear neighboring rooms or hall noise either.

Hotel Indy has an on-site 24-hour fitness center on the lower level plus a business center, should you wish to use a full-size computer or print out your boarding pass. There are two event rooms on the lower level encompassing 1200 square feet plus breakout rooms.

You can make a reservation on the Hotel Indy website or via one of the usual booking sites like Booking.com. Rooms start about $195. Hotel Indy is the only Tribute Portfolio Marriott property in the state of Indiana.

Looking for another Indy-centric Indianapolis hotel? Check out the Hotel Alexander.

Indianapolis mural by Derek Carter; Hotel Indy, Indianapolis, Indiana (Photo by Susan McKee)
Derrick Carter created the Indy mural depicting more than 200 years of Indiana history just outside the parking lot door for Hotel Indy.

(Review and most photos by Susan McKee, who was a guest of Hotel Indy)

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