Indy's claim to fame may be the roaring Indianapolis 500 each Memorial Day weekend, but a new boutique hotel in its downtown seeks to tweak that image.
The Alexander—a sleek, contemporary property in downtown Indianapolis' newly constructed mixed-use CityWay neighborhood, walking distance from the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra's performances and Indiana Pacers' home games—opened last week. Named for Indianapolis' architect and city planner during the early 1800s (Alexander Ralston), and the state's first LEED-certified hotel, The Alexander turns a new page on the city's history with this boutique, artsy hotel.
Inside the 209-room hotel, which includes 52 extended-stay suites geared for business travelers or small families, are an 800-square-foot fitness center, and two restaurants. Market Dining is a casual eatery serving breakfast and lunch, with an open kitchen. A farm-to-table focus means locally raised meats and vegetables on the menus. Plat99 crafts cocktails from local, fresh ingredients and creates a lounge atmosphere each evening with music and comfy couches. A wine list and menu of regional beers are also on tap, perfect for pairing with plates of artisan cheeses or charcuterie. Designed by LA-based Jorge Pardo, a MacArthur Foundation fellow, the art installations (in this case, furniture, lighting, surface treatments, and a chandelier that's the focal point of the grand stairway) speak for themselves.
There's more art throughout the hotel thanks to a partnership with the Indianapolis Art Museum. Forty works by 20 artists are prominently displayed, providing lots of eye candy each time you leave your room.
Each room has lovely colors—think deep red or mustard-yellow, plus vibrant shades in the contemporary art that lines the walls—against a backdrop of neutral tones and wood flooring that feels right at home. Also in the rooms: a 42-inch flat-screen television, desk with ergonomic chair, and free WiFi, plus a bathroom featuring a walk-in shower with a rainforest showerhead and Gilchrist & Soames toiletries.
As part of Dolce Hotels & Resorts, which has properties in, among other locations, Napa Valley (Silverado Resort & Spa), Las Vegas (Ravella at Lake Las Vegas), and Provence, France (Dolce Frégate Provence)—The Alexander adopts eco-friendly practices, including steps to offset carbon-dioxide emissions and a tree planted for each staff person, either on the hotel grounds or nearby location.
Kristine Hansen is a freelance writer based in Milwaukee where she reports on food, wine, and travel topics around the globe for Fodors.com, along with new-hotel openings. She also writes for Wine Enthusiast, TIME, Whole Living and American Way. In 2006 she co-authored The Complete Idiot's Guide to Coffee and Tea (Alpha Books/Penguin). You can follow her on Twitter @kristineahansen or through her web site.
Photo credit: Courtesy of The Alexander