Our Favorite LGBTQ+ Hotels in Kentucky
When LGBTQ+ travelers hit the road, they’re looking for the same culture, excitement and memories as everyone else. But safety is paramount. Our community comes from a long history of being unwelcomed — in the states and abroad — and when we seek out accommodations, we want to know we’re being welcomed in a friendly environment.
Fortunately, Kentucky is chock full of LGBTQ+ friendly and queer-owned hotels, making it easy to find stylish, hospitable and safe stays no matter which part of the state you’re wanting to visit. Whether you’re looking for horse races, bourbon distillers, world-renowned art or some good old-fashioned bluegrass music, we’ve got you covered.
Here’s a breakdown of our favorite LGBTQ+ throughout the state.
21c Museum Hotel
In downtown Lexington, the 21c Museum Hotel remains the Kentucky gold-standard of style and safety for the queer community. This 88-room charmer is truly one-of-a-kind. A Beaux-Arts boutique with an upscale restaurant, the hotel doubles as a contemporary art museum, featuring queer artists and a cultural experience you won’t find elsewhere.
Visitors fall in love with the friendly staff, high-end amenities and the hotel’s tasteful touches. Few hotels anywhere can match the culture and cuisine offered by this LGBTQ+ ally.
In the heart of charming Bardstown — smack in the middle of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail ® — you’ll find this cozy but stately manor, tucked behind wrought-iron gates and away from the bustle of downtown. Bourbon Manor is one of Kentucky’s most sought-after B&Bs, an unforgettable and majestic respite from the real world, yet close enough to the museums and distilleries that make up the world-famous Bourbon Trail.
Owned by gay couple Todd Allen and Tyler Horton, you’ll feel safe and welcomed here, whether you’re a member of the LGBTQ+ community or an ally.
Historic and quaint, Hotel Covington is a modern space in one of Kentucky’s most queer-friendly cities. Formerly a Coppin’s department store, the hotel was restored and renovated with sleek and sexy twists while retaining its yesteryear grandeur. The lobby and bar are particularly fabulous, while the patio has become a popular downtown hotspot in the spring and summer months. Inside, the beautiful rooms are curated with thoughtful mini-bars and amenities, and the on-site restaurant is not to be missed.
But what really makes Hotel Covington so special is its amazing, inclusive staff. From the valet to the front desk to the on-site managers, the people behind the scenes are what make this one of the state’s most queer-friendly hotels.
Belle Louise Historic Guest House
Paducah — an artist’s enclave in Western Kentucky — is renowned for its festivals, galleries and retreats that welcome queer artists from all over the world. And there’s nowhere quite like the Belle Louise Historic Guest House to serve as its welcoming home base. Helmed by historic preservation specialist Melinda Winchester and her husband, Cary, this beautifully restored bed- and-breakfast in the Lowertown district is one of the friendliest and most charming haunts you’ll come across.
For more than 140 years, this historic home has been welcoming all. The rooms are dripping with character and charm, appointed with comfortable beds dressed in opulent linens. And let us not forget the breakfast each morning – the fluffy eggs, the croissants and the country fresh coffee.
AC Hotel Louisville Downtown
You’ll find the AC Hotel Louisville Downtown on the main drag of NuLu — one of Louisville’s queerest neighborhoods — with block after block of LGBTQ+ owned and popular galleries, restaurants and hidden gems. Inside, this modern Marriott hotspot is all industrial chic, with spacious rooms appointed with upscale techy touches: smart LED flat-screens, free WIFI and plenty of chargers for business travelers.
You can’t go wrong staying in this inclusive, artsy neighborhood in a modern high-rise hotel.
In the historic Smoketown neighborhood of Louisville, you’ll find this unique and quirky guesthouse that’s unlike any other in Kentucky. For queer guests looking for a stylish, welcoming stay that’s anything but typical, consider this off-beat boutique. The first thing you’ll notice about Vu is its loud, pink and magenta façade. But that’s just the beginning of its eclectic, devil-may-care appeal. The hotel has come a long way from its tobacco warehouse roots.
Inside, you’ll find 34 rooms tactfully furnished in mostly leather. The hosts — George Stinson and his partner Ed Lewis — are a hoot. The queer duo behind the hotel have been influencers in the gay scene here dating back to the 1970s, when they opened Louisville’s very first gay club. Vu is a fun home away from home. The parking is free and the location is a five-minute Uber to all major attractions. You’ll love this hotel for its larger-than-life personality. Vu is not afraid to be itself, and for that, it’s one of our favorite queer-owned guesthouses.
The Brown Hotel
What does it mean to be inclusive? Sometimes it’s an essence you can’t quite define. It’s a level of respect you feel as a guest. It’s the comfort, safety and thoughtfulness of the staff. It’s being made to feel seen, cared for and considered. What makes the Brown Hotel so inclusive is its five-star treatment of every guest.
When we step inside the century-old Georgian revival, we feel like we’re at home, with family. And the guests know the staff here by name: Sue, the gracious host in J. Graham’s café, is a treasure; John, behind the bar, makes classic cocktails. The ambience is elegant and cozy. The staff is genuine and eager to make sure you have everything you could possibly need. Inside the old-world rooms of mahogany and marble, you’ll be pampered with comfy beds and soft, white sheets. If you’re looking for a quiet, refined stay with your special person, The Brown has that quintessential Kentucky charm you’ve been seeking.
Inn at Woodhaven
Mark and Jeremy—the gay couple who own the Inn at Woodhaven—are the hosts of your B&B dreams. This historic Gothic revival is the perfect place to relax. Each room has a unique feel and its own special touches. And whether it’s the homemade cookies or the luxurious bubble bath, you will truly feel special and pampered during your stay.
Built in 1853, the house and property are an indulgent getaway for visitors and locals alike. (Seriously, even if you live in Louisville, we encourage you to take a staycation here and pamper yourself.) The breakfast is made to order and oh-so delicious. The house is also conveniently located near many distilleries for bourbon tasting, Churchill Downs and the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory.
Written by Kenny Porpora
May 9, 2022