The holiday season is known as the most wonderful time of the year, but it can also be the most stressful time of the year. With the chaos of Christmas behind us, what easier way to reward yourself than with a Louisville staycation? And thereâ€™s no better place to do so than at Louisvilleâ€™s most unique new hotel: Aloft Louisville Downtown.
From the moment you walk through the door at Aloft, you immediately feel transported out of Louisville and into one of the nationâ€™s biggest and most cosmopolitan cities. The decor is modern and sleek, seductive and futuristic without appearing pretentious or cloying. The space is used efficiently with just enough decoration present to realize the design without creating clutter.
â€œBy design, Aloft is a very minimalistic urban brand,â€ relates Lauren Jenney, director of sales and marketing. â€œYou will not find a more technologically advanced hotel in town.â€ Indeed, from its aesthetic to its amenities, the hotel is the perfect place for what Jenney calls â€œthe youthful-minded.â€
â€œAnd what the youthful-minded want is a comfortable bed and fast Internet,â€ Jenney asserts. And Aloft delivers exceptionally on both fronts. The ultra comfortable Sealy beds are custom made for Aloft, and as far as the wi-fi goes, â€œWe have the fastest high-speed of any hotel in the city at over 100 megabits per second,â€ Jenney describes. â€œSo you could have up to five devices surfing, video-streaming, anything at the same time â€“ every room in the hotel could be doing that and you wouldnâ€™t know it.â€
In addition to the roomsâ€™ technological elements, the very design reflects Aloftâ€™s modernity. A pixelation pattern speckles the spaces and creates both an alluring aesthetic and a symbol of Aloftâ€™s contemporary foundation. â€œThe pixelation is a design element you see throughout the hotel,â€ Jenney explains. â€œItâ€™s on the light fixtures in the hallways, on the pillows in the rooms and on the window treatments and shades.â€
The lobby is just as modern as the rooms while also paying homage to the city and its history. Repurposed manhole covers form an art display, and chairs are made out of bourbon barrel staves. The entire atmosphere is at once contemporary and classic; just like Louisville, it respects the traditions of the past while compounding its image with modern idiosyncrasies.
Tucked away in the literal corner of the lobby is Corner, the hotelâ€™s cocktail lounge. Other Aloft hotels around the country brand the bars as W XYZ, but Louisvilleâ€™s is the first to veer from the standard. â€œWith the local developer and owner, we were allowed to bring in our own concept and be a little more Kentucky and Louisville-friendly â€“ and more bourbon-friendly, obviously!â€ says Kelly Salat, Aloftâ€™s food and beverage director.
In addition to the cocktails, Corner offers small plates, perfect for sharing before heading to a game at the KFC Yum! Center. â€œWeâ€™re not a restaurant per se,â€SalatÂ contends. â€œWeâ€™re a cocktail bar with small bites. That was definitely the direction we wanted â€“ come in here, have a bite to eat and a few great cocktails, go out for the night, then come back and have a cocktail before heading up to the room.â€
The food menu incorporates classic flavors from Kentucky and even features local desserts from Desserts by Helen. Though there is a robust selection of sandwiches to choose from, the focus is on the starters and shareable dishes. Corner services the entire lobby of Aloft,Â and with lounge-style furniture, even the seating is conducive to sharing some of Cornerâ€™s three dips and chips or deviled eggs.
Additionally, on the actual corner of Main and First is Cornerâ€™s patio that includes plenty of outdoor seating and radiant heating so that it can be enjoyed year-round. Corner is currently open only for dinner 5 p.m. until midnight Sunday through Thursday and until 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. For Yum! Center games, they will open early with the idea of getting game-goers a quick snack before the event. The goal is to be â€œfast, small and shareable,â€SalatÂ expresses.
And with nearly 70 bourbons, guests certainly wonâ€™t leave thirsty. â€œItâ€™s a causal and relaxed atmosphere but also an educational one,â€SalatÂ says, alluding to the bourbon education offered to anyone interested, whether local or from out of town. â€œI try to educate guests first on what makes bourbon bourbon and what makes it so unique,â€ describes bartender Matt Burlingame. â€œSo I try to explain the different styles and also find out what their palate is. If I can find out what they like to drink normally, I can try to steer them to something that I think would be good bourbon starting point.â€
But itâ€™s not just bourbon â€“Â thereâ€™s an array of diverse cocktails available, including the Key Lime Fizz, a semi-sweet libation made with vodka, pineapple shrub, lime juice, demerara and vanilla soda thatâ€™s wholly evocative of summer. â€œItâ€™s not overly sweet â€“ itâ€™s just something different and fun,â€ says Salat.
Corner just rolled out a happy hour from 5 to 7 p.m. daily and looks forward to introducing a lunch service sometime soon along with regular live music performances in the evening. So whether youâ€™re stopping by after work at Cornerâ€™s corner bar or treating yourself to a weekend away in town, Aloft is your destination for an experience thatâ€™s exciting, engaging and absolutely one-of-a-kind. VT
Photos by JOANNA HITE-SHELTON | The Voice-Tribune