“Retreat” to NuLu with These Bourbon-Themed Air BnBs

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 21c Museum Hotel in our hometown of Lexington, but this week we head to Louisville with entrepreneur Rick Keuber to see two of his Bourbon-themed Air BnB units.

With a flourishing Urban Bourbon Trail and a close proximity to Bourbon’s hometown of Bardstown, Louisville is one of the main stops for Bourbon tourists. The city is also currently completing “Whiskey Row,” a historic neighborhood housing Old Forester, bourbon bars, and more – all to ensure that Bourbon lovers will have no shortage of distillery tours, tastings, and more to find in the Derby City.

The Nulu Downtown Bourbon Retreat, complete with barrel stave wall covering.

Louisville entrepreneur Rick Keuber has seen the potential for Bourbon tourism in his city. His background includes multiple ventures you’d recognize, including Sun Tan City (Founder/CEO, since 1999) and Planet Fitness (franchisee), as well as his own construction company. His retail experience and track record of success suggest that Rick has an excellent ‘pulse’ on what the consumer wants, and the know-how to engineer a specific customer experience.

Even with multiple business ventures, he’s never too busy to slow down on collecting Bourbon, and has a bottle collection revered by many. Bourbon is a passion that Rick loves to discuss, and Bourbon Tourism is a perfect intersection of this passion and a business opportunity.

”We knew Airbnb would quickly become very competitive and we realized we had to do something to stand out and have a competitive edge,” says Rick. “Very few hosts have done extensive, tasteful theming of units. Most just put a barrel head on the wall.”

“Asleep many years in the wood” – or just for a few comfy nights in the Bourbon Barrel Retreat.

And stand out they do. Of his 12 AirBnB units, he’s decorated four with a Bourbon theme. His 808 Market St property is in the heart of “NuLu”, a thriving redevelopment corridor adjacent to Butchertown and close to downtown Louisville. This property (808 Market St) houses two nominees for our ‘Best Places to Stay in Bourbon Country’ program, appropriately named “Bourbon Loft” and “Bourbon Retreat.”

When you enter the units, you’ll find furniture & artwork with a Restoration Hardware feel, tastefully interspersed with ‘Bourbon-themed’ decor. The original hardwood floors and the minimalist kitchens balance the more traditional Bourbon decor with modern & sleek feel. The beds are cloaked in muted greys with comfortable accent pillows, and the brightly lit bathrooms have all the amenities of a hotel.

He’s not done with Bourbon Tourism yet. He hopes to launch Bourbon VIP this year to cater to an even wider range of guests.

“Bourbon VIP is a high end concierge service I’ve invested in, which we hope to launch in 2018. It will provide truly one-of-a-kind experiences for Bourbon enthusiasts ranging in price from $2500 to $50,000,” says Rick of the project.

Overall, Rick’s units are spectacular and maintained to a high degree of precision, ensuring a consistently excellent guest experience. 50% of his stays are related to Bourbon tourism, and he’s had guests come from Australia, Switzerland, France, Italy, and Asia. Rick loves hosting guests from around the world – and giving them one of the Best Places to Stay in Bourbon Country.

Caroline Paulus
Caroline Paulus is the Senior Editor for The Bourbon Review. She lives and writes in Lexington, Kentucky. Follow her on Instagram @misswhiskeyhistorian to keep up with her latest in bourbon news - and a few old finds, too.