The new AC Hotel in NuLu skipped the usual grand opening celebration and instead opened fairly quietly during Louisville’s busiest week of the year — Kentucky Derby week.

“We didn’t want to get lost in the shuffle of Derby,” said Jill Klus, director of sales for the hotel. However, the owners knew construction would finish sooner than expected, so “why not open for one of the best times for the city and be part of the celebration.”

The $38.6 million, 156-room hotel officially opened on May 2, and before that, Insider Louisville was given a sneak preview of the modern new hotel, which was built by stacking prefabricated modules.

As of last week, the hotel was nearly booked for the big weekend. Room rates ranged from $599 to $799 a night for Derby weekend, and guests will receive welcome gifts including fresh flowers from NuLu floral shop Mahonia, a dirty horseshoe, four slate coasters and bourbon balls, among other items.

Of course, room rates are inflated for the Kentucky Derby. The average night at the AC Hotel will cost guests anywhere from $129 to $169, Klus said.

The AC Hotel includes a fitness center, meeting space and the AC Lounge bar, which serves small plates, local craft beers, Spanish wines and cocktails made from local spirits. Breakfast is also available at the hotel for $18; its menu includes assorted European and domestic cheese, croissants, cured meat, yogurt, cereal, seasonal fruit, and sweet and savory tarts.

The hotel is managed by North Carolina-based Concord Hospitality Enterprises and owned by The 725 Partners. The partners are Creation Gardens co-founders Ron and Mollie Turnier; Creation Gardens chief operating officer Rob Webber; the local developer Terry Chynoweth; and Kersey and Kersey partners Steve Kersey.

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Caitlin Bowling
Louisville native Caitlin Bowling has covered the local restaurant and retail scene since 2014. After graduating from the Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, Caitlin got her start at a newspaper in the mountains of North Carolina where she won multiple state awards for her reporting. Since returning to Louisville, she’s written for Business First and Insider Louisville, winning awards for health and business reporting and becoming a go-to source for business news. In addition to restaurants and retail business, Caitlin covers real estate, economic development and tourism. Email Caitlin at [email protected]