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Review: Seelbach Hotel Louisville, Seelbach Suite
My dad is a big fan of Jackie Evancho and it just so happened that she was performing in Louisville the week before Christmas. He’s never seen her live, but became a fan of hers after America’s Got Talent. It worked out perfectly that I could surprise him with a short overnight trip down to Louisville as a Christmas concert surprise. I was looking at various hotel options and ultimately it came down to the Seelbach. It’s a unique hotel with a storied history; it’s affiliated with Hilton ( had cash + points avail) , and it allows pets. That is an all around win, win, win. We were very fortunate to stay at the Seelbach Hotel Louisville in the Seelbach Suite, bring Maggie, and enjoy the Signature Seelbach Cocktail. It was a BOYS weekend!!!!!!
The Seelbach Hotel History
The Seelbach hotel began construction in 1903, finished in 1905 and was an outstanding achievement for the Seelbach Bro, Louis and Otto. On opening day, it’s reported that 25,000 people visited the hotel and it quickly gained a stellar reputation. So great was the reputation that F. Scott Fitzgerald used the hotel as inspiration for The Great Gatsby! Pretty incredible piece of history that Louisville has there. Over the years many notable guests have stayed at The Seelbach, including: Al Capone, George W. Bush Bill Clinton, JFK. Movies such as “The Inside” featuring Russell Crowe have also been filmed at the hotel. Today, the hotel still holds one of the countires 44 AAA 5 diamond restaurants, “The Oak Room” within it’s walls.
- Where: Louisville, Kentucky
- When: December, 2016
- Loyalty: Hilton Honors
- Status: Diamond
- Rate: Cash and Points 16,000+ $65
- Upgrade: Yes to a One bedroom Suite then paid for a Specialty suite, The Seelbach Suite
Before checking in I received the following offers.
I initially requested a 2 bedroom suite, but after looking at pictures I called the hotel and changed my request to the Seelbach Suite. It would be more than enough room for the two of us, and the history of the suite was pretty amazing.
The front desk clerk was very polite, efficient, and excited about our stay in the Seelbach Suite. It’s worth noting that you can call the day of your reservation to see if the upgrade has come through. This is particularly useful if you’re looking to upgrade to a room that would eliminate the need for two rooms, such as a 2 bedroom suite.
Additionally, if you have the ability to check-in on your mobile device, do it. Even if you select a room on your phone you are still eligible for the special upgrade you bid on. I, unfortunately, was unaware of this. If you don’t digitally check-in you can’t get a digital key at the hotel. Next time…
We had Maggie…so $50 extra
She also informed us that the club was closed on Sunday evenings. As a token of good will, she gave us 2 certificates for drinks and appetizers at The Seelbach Bar.
The hotel is in need of some loving, but you can still feel the vibe that of it’s heydey. The lobby is grand and features a beautiful, roughly 20 foot tall, Christmas tree.
After we were checked in we headed up to the 9th floor to the Seelbach Suite
Just as an aside…the hotel had upgraded us to a One Bedroom suite the day of. Had this suite cost much more, or had it not been as distinct I would have been overly pleased with the Diamond upgrade as it was. However…this was Christmas and I wanted to do a little more of a treat.
The room is very nice. It was extremely overcast for our whole stay, but I can imagine it lights up beautifully. Stained glass…how many times do you enjoy that in a hotel room?
There is definitely some age showing on the wood and overall condition of the room. It reminds me of how the Waldorf Astoria is currently, and how the Plaza used to be. Hints of a bygone era peek out around every corner, but it would be incredibly glamorous with some reno dollars. The Plaza now…a piece of artwork.
And for some modern amenities.
The Bedroom and bathroom
Once we got settle we headed off to the bar to get some apps and drinks.
The bar has a famous, well maybe infamous drink. Adam Seger was an up and comer when he was put in charge of the bar and restaurant in the mid 90s. He was hired to commandeer the Old Seelbach Bar and scoured the annals of the hotel’s history. He soon discovered that the hotel had a famous, signature drink: The Seelbach. The story went that a honeymoon couple was staying at the hotel and visited the bar. They ordered a Manhattan and a glass of champagne. The bartender, while making the drinks, mistakenly combined the drinks. He set it aside and remade the couple’s drinks. Later…he tasted the ‘mistake drink’ and loved it. The Seelbach was born: Bourbon, bitters, and champagne.
Turns out the STORY WAS FAKE! Seger made the whole thing up. HA! He confessed years later, but the drink is so popular that IT HAS BECOME the signature cocktail. Moral of the story kids…lie, cheat, and defraud your way to the top! You’ll only be rewarded. Just don’t do it via email…we all know how that worked out 😉
The Seelbach Cocktail – it was DELISH!
And the Apps were quite hearty! The drinks were so good we got another round!
The rest of the hotel’s common areas, including gym.
We visited the Club Lounge the next day. Honestly…if we’d have paid – it wouldn’t have been worth it.
Located on the 7th floor and right of the elevator. You can’t miss it. We arrived around 9:45 am – it closes at 10am. We were pleasantly greeted and told to be fast because they were tearing it down in 7 minutes. Nothing like that Christmas spirit!
Before we headed out we dropped by the Rathskeller. It was once used as glamorous restaurant but now is a beautiful hall reserved for private events. The craftsmanship is incredible
This hotel is a gem. We grabbed drinks at the Brown hotel before the concert as well, and while it’s a beautiful hotel in it’s own right, I don’t see why it was so much busier. The Seelbach is competition for the Brown hotel, which is roughly 4 blocks away, and the only thing lacking was the people. The Seelbach was just dead. This could have been because Evancho was playing at the Brown Theater, or it could be marketing, but I don’t see a reason why this hotel isn’t full with people in the same was the Brown was.
Yes, the hotel needs some TLC, but it’s still a great stay and certainly if rates are sub $200, or you can stay with Cash + Points, it’s well worth it. Hilton often sells points for half a cent, meaning my stay ( 16,000 + $65) worked out to be roughly $145 plus the Seelbach upgrade. A very good deal.
Would I upgrade to the Seelbach again?
Not after doing it once. I would, however, stay in one of their other upgradeable rooms that have been more recently updated. The Seelbach is unique, but once you’ve done it…you’ve done it. The Presidential ( which was only $177 and 2 bedrooms) looked to be more modern and contemporary and provides an incredible value for a family. For a cash and points rate you’re talking $242 + 16,000 points per night for the biggest and best suite in the hotel. That’s one helluva deal.
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