Paducah, Kentucky, a UNESCO Creative City, welcomes a new boutique hotel. The 1857 Hotel is housed in a renovated red-brick antebellum building that originally served as a gentlemen's haberdashery and an adjoining turn-of-the-century tractor repair shop. The hotel's well-preserved façade belies its contemporary interior. The circa-1857 building contains most guest rooms while the tractor shops serves as a bar and event space.
The hotel offers easy access to the pedestrian-friendly town's attractions, beginning with the Carson Center for performing arts, the National Quilt Museum and Paducah Wall to Wall floodwall murals. Diverse culinary offerings include hotspots such as Freight House restaurant, Tribeca Mexican Cuisine, JP's Bar & Grill, Dry Ground Brewing Company, Kitchens Café at Paducah School of Art & Design, Paducah Beer Werks, Cup of Pipers Tea & Coffee, and Silent Brigade Distillery. An artist's haven, Paducahis home to a number of galleries, such as Make and Ephemera, both of which offer hands-on experiences. The Yeiser Art Centerand River Discovery Center invite visitors to explore two vital aspects of Paducah's culture and development. Numerous shops offer everything from antiques to fashion.
"The building found us rather than us finding it," says Paul Gourieux, a Paducah restaurateur who developed and owns the hotel with his partner Jorge Martinez. "Every day leaving work we'd see this empty building, and it distressed us to watch it deteriorating." One afternoon Paul saw two men leaving the building: one the owner and the other a local realtor. Paul and Jorge finalized purchase of the building in late 2014 and went about assessing what they'd bought. "It was a mess," Paul states bluntly.
They decided to take a contemporary approach to allow the architecture to speak for itself. Paul, a former banker, crunched the numbers and realized they needed to carve out the maximum number of rooms without making them feel cramped. "Going contemporary was the right approach, because it's an uncluttered look."
Paul handled the design while Jorge served as general contractor. "I'd moved to the Caribbean working as a banker and designed everything from there," says Paul. "I sent my ideas to Jorge, who executed everything to perfection."
An open floor-plan lent guest rooms a loft-like aesthetic, and they rolled the dice on one important design detail. "Most people here tend to be conservative and are accustomed to plenty of interior space, so we debated having showers and soaking tubs open to the rooms." The gamble paid off as the opened approach with soaring ceilings and tall windows add to the airy feel, while exposed brick add warmth.
Paul chose unique pieces and furnishings, resulting in 10 no-two-alike guest rooms. Such individuality also accommodates the local art that hangs throughout on a rotating basis. "We have a small gallery in the restaurant," explains Paul, "so we already had strong relationships with artists, but the scale of hotel walls allows us to hang larger pieces that couldn't fit in the restaurant."
Average room rates for start at $105 for a Queen Suite and $165 for a Double Queen Suite.