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The name conjures up the drama, wealth and high jinks of the Kentucky Derby and the bourbon which bears this state’s name, but there’s much more to Kentucky’s love of horses than just one race and some of Kentucky’s counties are dry, so all is definitely not what it seems in Kentucky. In a state this size it’s always going to be tough to refine recommendations for the best places to stay in Kentucky, but our Guru’s list includes both small B&Bs in sleepy, pine-laced hamlets, and grand Louisville dames.

Kentucky is also breathtakingly beautiful. Especially if you’ve a thing for the wild west. The rolling limestone hills and lush pastures of Kentucky’s horse-breeding country are a sight right out of a frontier film.

As well as fields of bluegrass, Central Kentucky is also where you’ll find the 700,000 acres of dramatically rugged scenery of the Daniel Boone National Forest and the natural sandstone arches and sheer cliffs of the Red River Gorge and the Mammoth Cave National Park, which has the world’s largest underground cave system.

Central Kentucky also has Bardstown, the ‘Bourbon Capital of the World’, Hodgenville, where Abraham Lincoln grew up, Lexington, and the Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill.

Louisville is thought of as the gateway to ‘the South’, so there’s an air of old fashioned hospitality. It has long been a transport hub - first the river and then rail - and it’s a bit overlooked as a visitor destination outside of Derby time. But the Victorian architecture is impressive and there are numerous wonderful museums, some of them pleasingly niche, classy old neighbourhoods and hipster bars and farm-to-table restaurants popping up everywhere.

Then there’s Lexington, home to the University of Kentucky and the million-dollar thoroughbred industry, Fort Knox, home of Fort Knox, and Frankfort, the peaceful state capital.

Use our guide to the best places to stay in Kentucky to help to plan your trip, whatever your reason to visit.

Best Places to Stay in Kentucky

For a city break

  • The 21C Museum Hotel is also home to a popular contemporary art space, and both the public spaces and the rooms benefit from an overspilling art onto their walls as well. The 90 rooms are modern, lively and luxurious and you’re right in the centre of things, with a great restaurant, gym, spa and sauna.

For the Kentucky Derby

  • The Brown Hotel is a grand old hotel with a Georgian Revival facade, wonderfully impressive public spaces and almost 300 comfortably modern bedrooms. Right in the heart of the action with doubles starting from around £120 per night.

The Best Places to Stay in Kentucky to Relax

  • The Boone Tavern Hotel in Berea is a charming, traditional hotel with a classical facade and nice features, like handcrafted furniture and high ceilings. A perfect place to come for strolls around forests and pokes through artisan boutiques.

Still not sure which is the best place to stay in Kentucky for you?

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The best hotels in Kentucky

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  • Boone Tavern Hotel


    A traditional, charming hotel. Breathtaking traditional exterior features a classical facade. Smart, comfortable rooms contain handcrafted furniture, and high ceilings. A perfect base for admiring the surrounding forests and artisan boutiques.

    63 rooms from $100
    Private Hot Tub  -  Executive Suite features a private jacuzzi tub
    Back to Nature
    Great walks  -  Good for walkers.
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