Lexington, Kentucky, a city known for its rich history and vibrant culture, is undergoing a transformation. With the support of The Manchester, the city’s first high-end hotel, it is evolving from a second-tier city into a top-ranked tourism destination. Developers are investing in redeveloping historic and formerly industrial areas like the Distillery District to foster economic and residential growth.
New Circle Investments, a prominent developer, has made a substantial investment of $37.5 million into The Manchester, marking it as Central Kentucky’s first high-end property. Situated in the East End Distillery District and encompassing the former campus grounds of Central Kentucky’s first registered bourbon distillery, this boutique lifestyle hotel and mixed-use development sets a new standard for luxury in the region.
The architectural design is led by Lexington-based EOP Architects, renowned for their work on notable projects such as The Kentucky State Capitol and Rupp Arena. Boasting 125 exquisitely designed guest rooms, a meticulously curated bottle shop, and an inviting lobby bar and lounge, The Manchester caters to the discerning tastes of its distinguished clientele.
It features two extraordinary dining and drinking spaces, each with its own unique ambiance and offerings. Granddam, the hotel’s remarkable 140-seat feature restaurant, showcases a menu that expertly blends global influences with classic Appalachian cuisine. Guests can savor creatively crafted dishes that pay homage to traditional Appalachian flavors while adding a modern twist, providing a culinary journey that delights the senses and satisfies even the most refined palates. Adding to the hotel’s allure is Lost Palm, an exquisite Art Deco rooftop bar and lounge. Inspired by the nostalgic spirit of 1960’s South Florida horse racing culture, this sophisticated venue transports visitors to a bygone era. Here, guests can enjoy a beverage program that artfully reinvents classic American cocktails, providing a playful and refreshing experience. With its stunning panoramic views of downtown Lexington, Lost Palm offers an idyllic setting for relaxation and socializing, creating memories that will last a lifetime.
Complementing The Manchester’s grandeur, the completion of the $35 million Pedestrian/Biker Walking Trail, Town Branch Commons, has significantly contributed to Lexington’s appeal as a pedestrian-friendly destination. Completed in 2022, this trail links downtown Lexington to the Distillery District, eliminating the reliance on cars and providing easier access for visitors and locals alike. The integration of this trail enhances the overall experience of staying and exploring the Distillery District.
Once an industrial and defunct area, the Distillery District has experienced a remarkable renaissance. Spanning 25 acres, this entertainment hub is carefully developed to honor the region’s rich history. The grounds of the historic James E. Pepper Distillery, a designated National History Landmark, now serve as the heart of the Distillery District. With an array of bars, distilleries, breweries, a cidery, new restaurants, and boutiques, the district offers a diverse range of experiences for visitors to enjoy.
Adding to its allure, the Distillery District has become a hot spot on the Southern music tour circuit. The Manchester Music Hall and The Burl venue/arcade have quickly gained popularity, hosting a variety of live performances and attracting music enthusiasts from near and far. This vibrant music scene further contributes to the district’s appeal and solidifies its position as a growing entertainment zone.
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