No trip to Kentucky is complete without a little bourbon. Whether it’s through a tour, a tasting or a bourbon-infused treat, the American whiskey manages to reach everyone from first-time vacationers to longtime residents. In Old Louisville, Herb and Gayle Warren have provided yet another way for people to immerse themselves in the bourbon world.
The owners of the 8,800-square-foot, six-bedroom mansion – which, in 1887, housed the then-president of Louisville & Nashville Railroad, Russell Houston, and his family, their governess and multiple servants – have rebranded their former bed and breakfast, Inn at the Park.
Louisville Bourbon Inn, the new and improved 35-year-old B&B, had its grand opening on December 2. Changes to Kentucky laws earlier this year allow bed and breakfasts to serve alcohol to registered guests; this provided the Warrens with the opportunity to bring a bourbon theme to their business. Though Inn at the Park lives on as a three-room, “little sister inn” at the property’s former carriage house, the home itself has a new name as well as updated amenities.
Of course, the mansion’s main features remain intact out of respect to its charming Victorian heritage. Upon entering, guests are treated to a view of the stunning grand staircase, which Gayle has appropriately dubbed the “here comes the bride staircase.” The home’s blend of oak, cherry and mahogany complement the Warrens’ furniture and decor, which consists primarily of antiques, with some authentic period pieces sprinkled throughout. The back area of the house, which was originally closed off for servants, boasts a second staircase that has been lined with art from local bourbon distilleries.
A large table sits in the middle of the dining room, allowing for guests to have a family-style breakfast. There are also four small tables in the corners of the space for more private dining. The innkeepers – chefs who live just next door – typically serve breakfast in the dining room between 7:30 and 9 a.m., though they can accommodate any kind of special time or dietary request. Their morning menu includes bourbon-apple French toast, bourbon-glazed ham, pumpkin pancakes with bourbon maple syrup and honey-glazed bacon. Guests also have their choice of gourmet coffee and teas, orange or cranberry juice, homemade granola and fresh fruit. In the evenings, the dining room is a gathering place for bourbon tastings and decadent desserts, such as bourbon and chocolate pecan pie, peach-bourbon upside-down cake and bourbon balls.
Once guests are ready for a little rest and relaxation, they can head up to the bourbon room on the second floor. The large area has ample seating space and a widescreen TV for watching videos about the Bluegrass State and the history of bourbon. The room will also soon have a bar, as well as a gift shop filled primarily with bourbon-themed souvenirs.
The second floor is also home to the master bedroom, otherwise known as the Grand Derby Suite, and another large bedroom, called the Mint Julep Suite. These guestrooms, as well as three of the third-floor rooms, include king or queen beds, flat-screen TVs, central air and heat, private baths with Whirlpool tubs and custom-made mini bars crafted of old bourbon barrels. Some of the rooms, like the Kentucky Sunrise Suite on the third floor, also have balconies that overlook the city. “In the summer when the leaves are on the trees, you feel like you’re in a treehouse,” says Herb. “In the winter, the leaves are gone and you’re left with quite a view.”
View or not, every room at Louisville Bourbon Inn is a glorious step back into the 1800s, with all the comforts and amenities of modern-day living. VT
For more information, visit louisvillebourboninn.com or call 502.638.0045.