The historic Brown Hotel in Louisville is known for its opulent rooms and, like many fabulous hotels in Kentucky, provides guests with a luxury experience fitting for a royal.
2. The scenery
Like much of the south, Kentucky is spectacularly beautiful. From the rolling fields of bluegrass in spring to the Appalachian Mountains and the Kentucky River, the scenery here is stunning and delightfully varied: there are lakes, caves, waterfalls, forests, fields, gorges and rivers.
The Mammoth Cave National Park provides visitors with an experience they'll never forget as well as the chance to explore the most extensive cave system in the world. Standing several hundred feet beneath ancient sandstone ridges and gazing at the crystal columns that hang from the ceiling is a wonderfully eerie experience. It is not an exaggeration to say that anyone who appreciates natural beauty will find something to love in Kentucky.
Kentucky's magnificent Red River Gorge. Image by CHetiz.
3. The horses
Kentucky might be better known as The Bluegrass State, but it's also Horse Country. Everyone knows the Kentucky Derby – “the greatest two minutes in sport” and the oldest continuous horse race in the world – but horses are just as much part of the state as bluegrass and bourbon.
Aside from the tourist attractions like the famous Kentucky Horse Park, horses are part of the daily fabric of the state. The Bluegrass Country Estate offers luxurious accommodation in exquisite countryside surrounded by horse farms, and may just be the perfect blend of luxury and rural life.
4. The climate
Sitting in the center of the US, Kentucky has a famously mild climate. The summers are warm and the winters are only moderately cold. Daytime temperatures in the summer are 87 degrees on average while winter lows average 23 degrees. While the seasons are distinct it stays pleasant throughout the year, making it ideal for a spontaneous mini break.
The temperate climate also means outdoor activities can continue later into the year than most other states, while the wide-ranging landscape means there's scope for nearly anything you can think to do outdoors: horse riding, canoeing, hiking, bird-watching – you name it, you can do it somewhere in one of Kentucky's vast state parks.
Smooth. Kentucky bourbon image by Brndnsh
5. The bourbon
Bourbon gets its name from Bourbon County in Kentucky (ironically now a dry county). Although Kentucky Straight Bourbon needn't be made in Kentucky to qualify for the title, 95% of all bourbon is still produced in The Bluegrass State. Any trip to Kentucky would surely be incomplete without a visit to the famous Kentucky Bourbon Trail where you can learn all about (and taste!) many famous Kentuckian bourbon brands like Makers Mark, Jim Beam and Woodford Reserve.
6. The music
If bourbon comes from Bourbon County, it should be no surprise that bluegrass music comes from The Bluegrass State. Being just a stone's throw from Nashville, Kentucky also has a strong country heritage, playing host to the Country Music Highway (Highway 23) along which lie the hometowns of scores of country music stars, including Loretta Lynn, Billy Ray Cyrus and Crystal Gayle.
Spending an evening in Louisville means being spoiled for choice when it comes exclusive bars to visit for a night of authentic music. The swanky Jazzyblu Club is a must; here you can while away the hours listening to brilliant live jazz bands, sampling the first-rate food and sipping on their signature Jazzyblu cocktails.
Famous for its low-key, low-cost style of living, Kentucky may not be the state you most associate with luxury, but as a deluxe mini-break destination it's clear that Kentucky has a lot to offer.
Top photo credit: The breath-taking beauty of the Wickliffe creeks. Image by Jeffery Wright