Waldrop+nichols evokes Louisville's style in new Omni hotel

Right on schedule, the 30-story Omni Louisville Hotel has officially opened after two years of construction in Kentucky's largest city.

Dallas-based interior architectural design firm waldrop+nichols studio conceived the interior spaces for the $300-million hotel, which was developed by Omni Hotels & Resorts and Metro Louisville and is reportedly the tallest hotel in the city.

The concept for the 612 guestrooms and suites, as well as the public spaces, showcases interior elements that blend the city’s heritage, culture and characteristics. Waldrop+nichols studio employed its proprietary design process—“spatial mythology”—to create a sense of place for the property.

In the lobby, stone and iron interior architecture guides guests to the art gallery installation, which displays works from local artisans. Neon pendants hang over the check-in desks. 

“Louisville’s iconic landmarks, heritage and distinctive multifaceted lifestyles provided the framework and foundation for the interior architecture layered with contrast and color,” said Reggi Nichols, president and founding partner of waldrop+nichols studio. “Much like the city itself, the interior architecture strikes the perfect combination of grit and polish, showcasing unique individual elements that work together to complement, support and celebrate each other.” 

The hotel’s food-and-beverage options also pay homage to the city’s style. The 139-seat Bob’s Steak & Chop House honors the history of Louisville’s sporting legacy by displaying vintage boxing gloves and colorful textiles inspired by jockeys’ caps. The Library Bar, designed as the “heart of the hotel,” has a two-story feature-wall installation comprised of individually wrapped books depicting a steamboat floating on a river of bourbon. The 184-seat Neighborhood Services restaurant uses reclaimed bricks from the Morrissey Garage, a former parking garage on the hotel site. Pin + Proof, meanwhile, is a combined private speakeasy and bowling alley, tucked away in a hidden location.

The hotel also has Falls City Market, a contemporary urban market and food hall offering prepared foods and beverages as well as grocery staples. Shops include Louisville’s own Heine Brothers’ Coffee, a bookstore, artisanal pizzas, a bakery, a wine shop and a flower store.  

The guestrooms, meanwhile, incorporate subtle touches like bourbon-inspired splashes on the carpet and a curated bourbon bar.

The Mokara Spa pays homage to the city’s waterscapes, the Ohio Falls, and the Louisville Water Tower. Behind the reception desk, a water wall with aquamarine and silver surfaces creates a sensory experience.

“We were very inspired by the city, and we want the hotel to inspire the guests,” said Laura McKoy, creative direction and VP of interior design at Omni Hotels & Resorts. “I hope the locals feel proud and recognize that we captured the essence of Louisville when they enter the space.”