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The Brown Hotel 4.0

Louisville, Kentucky, United States

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Downtown location in theater district, relatively close to most attractions
  • Spacious rooms with tasteful, traditional decor
  • Fine-dining restaurant on-site with 24-hour room service
  • Casual restaurant and lobby bar serving Hot Brown sandwiches
  • Free 24-hour airport shuttle plus free downtown shuttle
  • Fitness center with cardio and weight-training machines
  • 24-hour business center
  • 19 event rooms, including an elegant ballroom
  • On-site gift shop with artwork from local artisans
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout

Cons

  • A substantial walk from downtown attractions on the riverfront
  • Bathrooms are sub-par for an upscale hotel

Bottom Line

The four-pearl Brown Hotel is a historic property with ornately decorated public spaces and a fine-dining restaurant. Its 293 guest rooms are spacious, comfortable, and tastefully decorated in traditional furnishings, but bathrooms are just average for an upscale hotel at premium rates. The free downtown shuttle helps compensate for being farther away than many other downtown hotels from the city’s many riverfront attractions. While competitively priced with other upscale hotels in the area, there are options worth considering. For a modern hotel near the riverfront and convention center, the Louisville Downtown Marriott is a good choice with comparable amenities and rates.

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Scene

Historic hotel with elegant common areas that hosts lots of area events 

Opened in 1923, the Brown continues to be a center of local social events and a destination hotel for travelers who enjoy historic accommodations. The long and narrow, two-story lobby features hand-painted, plaster-relief ceilings, ornate chandeliers, and arched, two-story windows. Beige marble columns, walls, and floors combine with crimson upholstered chairs and sofas to create a rich and glamorous glow. Dark-wood antiques, large vases, equestrian-themed artwork, and a granite-top, carved-wood lobby bar with an impressive Kentucky bourbon selection entices visitors to linger in the spectacular space. Theatergoers, weddings and other local social events keep the hotel busy on weekends, as does the fine-dining English Grill, with its dark wood columns, gild-framed artwork, stained glass, and coffered ceiling.

Location

Downtown in theater district, about one mile from river, most attractions walkable

Map of The Brown Hotel

The Brown is located in downtown Louisville’s theater district, adjacent to the historic Brown Theater and about a half-block, two-minute walk from the Palace Theater. It’s about a 20-minute walk south of the Ohio River where many major attractions in the city are located. The Kentucky International Conference Center is a 12- to 15-minute walk or four-minute drive, as is the KFC Yum Center sports arena and the Fourth Street Live entertainment district, known for numerous nightclubs, restaurants, and shopping. The Muhammed Ali Center and the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory are a bit farther away, about a six-minute drive or around 20 minutes by bus. The Kentucky Exposition Center and Fairgrounds, Churchill Downs, and Louisville International Airport are a 10- to 15-minute drive. The hotel offers a free, 24-hour shuttle to the airport. The University of Louisville campus is approximately about eight minutes away by car. There are some restaurants within two to three minutes walking from the hotel, but most downtown restaurants are located closer to the river. A free downtown shuttle bus operated by the hotel is also available. 

Rooms

Spacious and traditionally decorated rooms, but with just average bathrooms

Even the smallest rooms here are spacious, clean, and comfortable. Many rooms offer sitting areas with upholstered sofas, armchairs, and coffee tables. With some variations in color scheme, decor is tasteful and traditional but not luxurious, with darker, two-tone striped carpets, two-tone patterned drapes, patterned wallpaper, and dark-wood furniture. Wall-mounted flat-screen TVs and work desks with traditional upholstered chairs are standard in all rooms, as are coffeemakers, free weekday newspapers, and two-line speakerphones with voicemail. Club-Level guests receive access to the club lounge that offers a free continental breakfast, free afternoon snacks, free beverages including alcohol, and a dedicated concierge. Bathrooms are average for an upscale hotel, with  marble floors, patterned wallpaper, granite-top vanities, standard white shower/tub combo framed by white tiles, and magnifying mirrors. Suites and Club-Level rooms include robes.

Most rooms offer two doubles or one king, but there are some queen options. Linens are Egyptian cotton with down comforter and a custom throw. Suites feature separate living area and bedroom and a wet bar. Local boxing legend Muhammed Ali is honored with a luxurious suite bearing his name, which has a dining room, a second bathroom, a marble whirlpool tub, custom decorations, and some of his personal memorabilia. Views are of surrounding streets. 

Features

Free airport and downtown shuttles, fine dining, elegant meeting space, and free Wi-Fi

The Brown has two restaurants and a lobby bar, J. Graham’s Cafe, where the famous Hot Brown sandwich was first created in 1926. Breakfast and lunch are served here, though the latter isn't included in room rates. The fine-dining English Grill is open nightly for dinner and men must wear a collared shirt (business casual) to dine there. The Lobby Bar opens in the afternoon and offers small plates as well as the English Grill menu in the evening. It also features a wide selection of Kentucky bourbons. Room service is available 24 hours a day. 

There are 19 event rooms that can accommodate up to 600 people, including the opulent Crystal Ballroom that showcases several crystal chandeliers. The business center is open 24 hours a day, and there's free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel. Concierge, dry cleaning, and laundry services are available. There is a fitness center with cardio and weight-training machines. A safe deposit box is available at the front desk. A large gift shop sells equestrian- and Kentucky-themed gifts, jewelry, sundries, and artwork from local artisans. Note that other than service animals, no pets are allowed. 

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Address

335 W Broadway, Louisville, Kentucky 40202-2167, United States

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