As we’ve combed through all 162 submissions for our list of The Best Places to Stay in Bourbon Country, a few have stood out to us Bourbon Travelers. Last week, we visited Bed & Bourbon properties in Louisville, but this week we head down to The Bourbon Capital of the World to visit the original Bourbon-themed Bed and Breakfast – Bourbon Manor.
Story – Caroline Paulus
Photos – Courtesy of Bourbon Manor
In the tiny town of Bardstown, Kentucky, Bourbon is king. Named the Bourbon Capital of the World, the town of less than 12,000 people boasts seven distilleries, is home to four of the 99 Best Bourbon Bars in America, and hosts more than 50,000 people each year for the Kentucky Bourbon Festival. It’s got talented chefs and bartenders, amazing views and distillery tours, and of course – first-class accommodations. Bardstown’s Bourbon Manor, the very first Bourbon-themed bed and breakfast in the country, plays host to the people who come from all around the world to pay homage to Bourbon’s birthplace.
Todd Allen and his partner Tyler Horton have been in the inn-keeping business for over 17 years. Their first property, Maple Hill Manor, is just miles down the road from Bardstown in Springfield, Kentucky. They founded Bourbon Manor in 2014, wanting to cater specifically to the Bourbon lovers flocking to their state.
“We try to delight and please the Bourbon tourist,” says Allen, who has served on the Board of the Bed & Breakfast Association of Kentucky for 14 years. As part of his role, he has helped state senators pass legislation to promote the growing Bed and Breakfast industry in Kentucky. Years ago, the title “Bed and Breakfast” meant just that, but recent laws have allowed for serving lunch and dinner – and most importantly, Bourbon. The Bourbon Manor serves this up in spades.
The property consists of four historic buildings – The Federal House (c. 1810), The Brown House (c. 1830), The Historic Tobacco Barn, and the Smokehouse Cottage. When guests book their stay at Bourbon Manor, they order their first Bourbon cocktail of their Kentucky Journey. Each of the ten rooms is named after a classic drink – The Mint Julep, The Old Fashioned, The Hot Toddy, and more.
The ten cocktails make up the drink menu at the Bunghole Lounge, the on-premise bar and restaurant offering more than 130 Bourbons, small plates, and more. Named for the hole in the side of a Bourbon barrel, this comfortable and quiet bar has a private feel (although it is open to the public). The small plates have a Spanish tapas feel while all pairing perfectly with Bourbon. Guests can snack on cheese plates, bacon wrapped figs, olive dishes, and Bourbon breakfast desserts like apple fritters drenched in Bourbon caramel sauce.
Have a little too much fun at the Bunghole? No driving necessary – The Bourbon Manor is located right downtown. “When people come to Kentucky, this is what they picture Kentucky being like – its very nostalgic,” says Allen. One walk down Main Street will prove why Bardstown has been named The Most Beautiful Small Town in America. In addition to fine dining and amazing Bourbon bars, the town has a museum row (including a Civil War Museum and The Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History), My Old Kentucky Home State Park and Golf Course, and fantastic shopping and wineries.
The biggest draw for most guests is of course, is the distilleries. Barton 1792, Willet, Maker’s Mark, Heaven Hill, Jim Beam American Stillhouse, and newcomers Bardstown Bourbon Company and Luxco are all a quick drive away. And fresh attractions arrive every day. Bourbon Manor’s newest neighbor will be Stoli, who recently announced the construction of a 150 million dollar Kentucky Owl Park less than a mile from the manor. “It’s really amazing to see the transformation in the industry, and its been a wild ride to be on,” says Todd.
The Bourbon Boom has brought more than just distillers to Bardstown. Although Bourbon Manor declines to name names, they’ve played host to country music stars, politicians, and upper crust Derby attendees. If you never want to leave the property, you wouldn’t have to – they have a full Day Spa, Bourbon tasting packages, and almost every extra a hotel could provide. Treat your travel partner to flowers, Bourbon chocolates, birthday cake, or fruit or cheese platters, all delivered right to your room.
“We provide the privacy and exclusivity of a private home,” explains Allen. And people have taken notice – Bourbon Manor has recieved TripAdvisor’s Award of Excellence, a 9.6/10 from Booking.com’s Guest Review Awards, The Innkeeping Excellence Awards from the Association of Independent Hospitality Providers, and so many more.
”We’ve gotten a lot of recognition in the last 17 years, and we work really hard to please our guests. We pride ourselves in providing a great Bourbon Country experience,” says Allen. “People come to see how Bourbon was made 200 years ago, and leave with great stories to tell their friends.”
Ready to start your own Bourbon traveler story? Click here to make your reservation at Bourbon Manor!