Louisville, Kentucky – the moment I arrive with my dog Victor we’re greeted with “I love your dog,” shouts from across the street.
We’re downtown, outside the Aloft Louisville Downtown Hotel and within walking distance of the newly rejuvenated waterfront, this day host to a dog-friendly festival. (See previous article: Travel, Louisville).
The Aloft is one of the newest boutique hotels in Louisville’s renovated but historically preserved downtown. Aloft is uber-hip with an open concept lobby bar, pool table and module seating areas. Here, polished New York City cool meets laid back youth hostel energy.
And it’s dog-friendly.
Dog welcoming, actually.
Victor’s right at home with the candy dish of dog biscuits at the front desk. A valet parking attendant (who brings my luggage to the room) fusses over my dog while the check-in host is on the phone.
Four floors up and inside our room it’s Scandinavia revisited: minimalist design and sliding doors separate the bathroom with walk-in shower. Add to that a flat screen TV, charging station and white duvet on a platform bed with splashes of colour on the pillows and pop art above the headboard.
Victor nestles in comfortable. He’s a boutique hotel kind of guy and drew attention in the lobby to the elevator and down the hallway. Today, he’s sporting his hipster paisley bow tie.
It’s our first night in Louisville, Kentucky on our way to Huntsville, Alabama and little did I know it’s Derby Week in town. I should have known because the Kentucky Derby runs at Churchill Downs the first weekend of May.
And we’re here the first week of May.
Good timing because the River Walk Park Festival in Louisville’s revitalized waterfront along the Ohio River is three blocks from our hotel. Even better, day one of the festival is Dog Day – the only day you can bring Fido to the festival and the only day there’s dog activities and pet product vendors in one corner of a park otherwise filled with mid-way rides, live bands and deep-fried food vendors.
Victor was thrilled. He loves chaos, lights, activity and new smells – especially if the scent’s source just walked by.
He was equally comfortable at the Aloft Hotel after letting off some post-car trip steam and maybe ingesting a bite of carnival hotdog or two.
Aloft Louisville Downtown Hotel Details:
Location: 102 West Main Street, Louisville, Kentucky – Valet parking ($28 per day) is at the side of the building and the street is one-way, so be prepared to stop because if you miss it, you’re driving around a large block to get back. Self-park for $22 per day is across the street. Parking rates increase during the Derby.
Aloft Hotel is blocks way from the KFC Yum! Center home to University of Louisville Basketball teams and major concerts. A 10-minute drive from museum row where you’ll find the Louisville Slugger Museum and Muhammad Ali Center. Churchill Downs and the Derby Museum is 20 to 30 minute drive away.
Rooms: Seven floors of sleekly designed 300 to 400 square foot rooms with one King or two Queen beds. Most rooms requires elevator access so you will need to get up and head downstairs for morning potty.
Pet Policy: Dogs are welcome at no extra charge but there might be a clean up fee if necessary. Although we didn’t get this service (not sure why), Aloft Hotels has an Arf program that provides a comfy bed, food and water bowls, treats and toys in room.
Restaurants: Aloft Louisville has a bar on the main floor, Corner Restaurant and Bar, and Re:fuel grab and go counter for cooked breakfast and many convenience store snacks (which makes it easy to get food with the dog in tow).
Nearby Parks: The Aloft Hotel is within easy walking distance of the waterfront for full hour or so exercise excursions. But for quick morning pees, immediately outside the doors are city streets, so you’ll be walking around the concrete block with only small green patches available.
Louisville residents, however, love their pups and Victor got a lot of compliments – even an inquiry about potential puppies. (Nope, the shelter made sure for that years ago).
We stayed as guests of Louisville Tourism. Information: www.gotolouisville.com