Sleep like an angel at this sophisticated, adults-oriented boutique hotel in Downtown Covington, Kentucky where “historic” and “contemporary” gracefully collide.
By Hope S. Philbrick
What to do with an old department store?
Unfortunately, it’s a question many American downtowns are being forced to ask.
The best answer I’ve encountered (so far) is in Covington, Kentucky: Transform the building into a posh-and-hip hotel!
Hotel Covington is luxurious with grownup décor and amenities. It feels plush, and not only because you can sink into faux fur. The hotel has a modern edge and a cool sense of humor that pokes fun at some insider information in a wink-wink, nudge-nudge smirky way that’s easy to pick up on (which helps ensure you feel welcome no matter how far from outside Covington you’ve traveled). Hotel Covington conveys a deep respect for the past while at the same time feeling very in tune with current times. It’s a one-of-a-kind hotel that every city in America deserves yet too few actually have.
Hotel Covington is smack in the heart of Downtown Covington. It’s a convenient location: If so inclined, you can leave the hotel and walk all over Covington and even walk across the Ohio River into Cincinnati, Ohio. But why leave Kentucky? In fact, once you check into this swanky place you may start to wonder, why leave the hotel?
There’s really no need, whether your goal is to relax and soak up privacy in the comfort of your own gorgeous guestroom or mix and mingle with fellow guests and locals on the lobby level—where you can grab a coffee (featuring beans made by a local roaster), shop in the gift shop (that sells upscale goods from fake furs and silk ties to bourbon and cocktail accessories), admire the department store- and vintage fashion-inspired works of art, eat at Coppin’s restaurant (which showcases local seasonal ingredients), and/or sip a cocktail at the bar or on the patio.
The building now home to Hotel Covington has an interesting history. This being Kentucky, of course the story includes a horse race: John Coppin bet on a longshot horse named Knowledge and won. He turned his big winnings into Coppin’s, the state’s first modern skyscraper (for its time, 1907) and high-end department store (by 1910).
Hotel Covington pays homage to the building’s past in ways that are tasteful and humorous, including framed prints, artsy displays of vintage attire, and playful vintage fashion ads. It honors its location on the Kentucky/Ohio border with a sculptural piece that proclaims, “If these United States are to be considered a body, then Ohio would be its heart and Kentucky its soul.”—it helps that this statement is emblazoned against a backdrop of stacked bourbon barrels, and since bourbon is “America’s native spirit” and spirit=soul, the effect is not quite as braggadocious as it may read to someone from a different yet also wonderful state.
Humor and playful fun twists pop up in details like the Magic 8 Ball (which also honors local history since it was created in the area; it sits on the desk in each hotel guestroom ready to answer questions 20 different ways). Framed prints in guest bathrooms nod at local history, like the fact that John Coppin won the money to fund the building at the race track (“John Coppin owes me big time” is scrawled over a vintage photo of a racetrack). Another photo honors a local bridge that predates its more famous sibling (“Sorry Brooklyn, I was first” is printed across a black and white photo of the nearby John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge, which was the longest suspension bridge in the world from 1867 until 1883 when Roebling’s most famous project, the Brooklyn Bridge, opened.)
The walls in my guestroom were painted black. The bold color choice set a dramatic, swanky backdrop for the faux furs draped on the sofa and at the end of the bed. (Apparently, the folks who own this hotel also own a company that makes faux furs—and based on the samples I saw, their faux furs are super realistic!) The vibe conveyed via the décor choices including the furs is definitely adult—which seems intentional since the mini bar includes a “Temptations Lovers’ Kit” packed with several items, including two with batteries.
Coppin’s Restaurant serves fresh food in a vibrant atmosphere, though you can also order room service if that better suits your schedule and mood. My breakfast was delivered to order and on schedule, a great start to a busy day.
From the valet to the reception desk, every staff member is friendly and ready to serve. Need advice about where to go, what to do, or how to get somewhere? They’ve got answers accompanied by smiles.
Hotel Covington is a destination hotel that impresses at every turn.
- Valet parking
- Free Wi-Fi throughout the building
- On-site dining at Coppin’s Restaurant
- On-site bar at Coppin’s
- On-site artisan coffee bar
- On-site shopping
- 4-star rating
- 114 guestrooms and suites
- Check-in begins at 3 p.m.; check out by Noon
- Rates from $115/night
- Walking distance to shopping, restaurants, museums, Downtown Covington attractions and even a whole other state (Ohio)
- Locally curated mini-bar
- Dog-friendly (50 lb. limit, $75 per pet per stay)
- On-site 24 hr. fitness center
- Odds of Encountering Children: Low
638 Madison Ave.
Covington KY 41011
– Photos © HSP Media LLC
Featured products, services and/or travel arrangements may have been complimentary in part or in full; this affords the research opportunity but does not sway opinion. Thanks to Meet Northern Kentucky for hosting my visit.