Although it is owned by partners who are also in the racing business, it isn’t just for the horsey folk.
The mural, which is being painted by Louisville-based Cuban artist Carlos Gamez de Francisco, is a woman wearing a Derby-esque hat with a horse’s head and red tulips on it.
“The mural is part of the lobby,” said Walker Thrash, a co-owner, on a tour of the hotel recently.
You’ll be able to see it as you sit in the hotel restaurant, The Still.
There also will be a 30-seat private dining room and a larger “ballroom” event space as well.
“We’ve got a full-service kitchen for breakfast, lunch and dinner. A big part of our endeavor is to elevate the level of service for what would be considered a boutique independent property,” Thrash said.
Upstairs, the hotel has interesting decor choices, including green industrial-style lights at each door that give hallways the feel of a train station at night, Thrash said.
The rooms feel spacious in part because they are pared to what travelers really want. Closets are gone in favor of pegs with hangers. The now-ubiquitous barn door on the bathroom enhances the open feel. The rooms all have Netflix, so guests can log into their own accounts. And there will be both Keurig drink makers and French press pots so you can make your coffee the way you like it.
“Our objective was to deliver something that was high style, that was comfortable, that would make sense if you are going to be here for one night or for a long weekend, but not to fall into some of the traps of design,” he said.
It’s easy, he said, to use bridles and bourbon as shorthand for Kentucky rather than going for a look that is slightly more sophisticated, he said.
“We’re excited to build this property here. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun for us to develop,” Walker Thrash said. “This is the second of five that are under development. The first just opened in Denver and is the official hotel of the Red Rocks Amphitheater.”
They are hoping to establish similar partnerships in Lexington, he said. “Obviously there are some large businesses and event venues here. You’ve got Keeneland that’s here close, the airport that’s really close, and The Summit, which is a wonderful development.”
Bayer Properties, which developed The Summit, will have retail space on the hotel’s ground floor as well. The stores have not been announced yet.
He said that one hallmark of Origin properties is treating employees well: happier workers lead to happier guests.
The market for the boutique hotel is “anyone who enjoys the experience of travel,” Thrash said. And those who aren’t wedded to racking up points for free rooms with a particular brand. “They’re not picking destinations based on price or name, but based on the experience they want to have.”
Origin Hotels specialize in helping travelers discover the places and experiences that locals love, according to its web site.
“I hope we can offer this very local, ingrained experience,” he said.
To that end, the hotel will have a “director of brand experience,” kind of an expanded concierge, said Michael Russell, hotel general manager. That person will help guests create the adventure or outing they are looking for.
“This is all about Kentucky ... the idea is for people to come in an experience all that Lexington has to offer,” he said. “It starts with our service. The more genuine experience guests can have, that’s what brings them back.”