LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Serendipity encapsulates Amar Lalvani’s first encounter with the site of the future Hotel Genevieve, a $31 million, six-hotel hotel slated to open in spring 2023 at 730 E. Market St. in Louisville’s NuLu neighborhood.
The executive chairman of Standard International, the company behind The Standard and Bunkhouse hotels, told me over Zoom on Monday that during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic in summer 2020, his family decided to drive from New York to Austin, Texas — the two main locations he splits his time between.
The first stop on this long road trip was Louisville, a city where he had never previously stayed. And as Austin saw a spike in COVID-19 cases, he and his family decided to scrap plans to go there and stay at an Airbnb in Louisville’s NuLu neighborhood for 10 days.
While in Louisville, Lalvani told me he “honestly fell in love with the town.” And amid this elongated trip, a team member told him that Bunkhouse, one of the hotel brands he oversees, was considering placing a hotel in NuLu.
It turns out that it was only a few blocks from Lalvani’s Airbnb — “I went and said, ‘Oh my God, this is perfect.'”
“We love these markets like Louisville which are bursting with people and culture and community, but have not quite yet got a hotel that matches the culture that is there,” he said. “So we love that opportunity.”
‘Nothing we do is cookie-cutter’:What to know about the Hotel Genevieve coming to NuLu
Hotel Genevieve will tout a rooftop restaurant and bar as well as a “grocery concept” that will offer fresh and packaged foods from local and out-of-town vendors, Lalvani said.
And in a partnership with the local Rabbit Hole Distillery, the site also will contain an art garden on the neighboring lot that will improve access between the distillery and the hotel, as well as surrounding restaurants and businesses.
Lalvani said Hotel Genevieve is also set to be NuLu’s “first true boutique hotel” and that it can help “serve as an anchor for the community.”
“We do take very seriously wanting to be part of the community,” he said. “We don’t come in with a prescribed notion about bringing concepts from New York or Austin … What makes us special is we go places where we fall in love with the location and the community, and we want to be part of that fabric.”
The 122-room hotel had a groundbreaking in September 2021, where elected officials like Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer spoke.
Fischer said at the time that NuLu has made significant strides in recent years and is “going to be a district unlike any other in the country” with the new hotel and several other planned developments along Market Street and in the surrounding neighborhoods.
Lalvani echoed that sentiment in our conversation, analogizing NuLu’s potential to the bustling South Congress neighborhood in Austin.
“You can see where it’s headed,” he said.
Background:City officials break ground on NuLu hotel, ‘perfect fit’ alongside Rabbit Hole Distillery
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