Where To Stay, Spa, Shop And More In Lexington, Kentucky

Wide open spaces. Wild Horses. Wonderful Bourbon. At this point, you’re likely conjuring idyllic visions of Lexington, Kentucky – but beyond this stalwart trifecta of pleasures, this city offers the intimacy of a small town but the forward modernism found in a bustling metropolis – all of which is worth exploring. In fact, it’s also an emerging sanctuary for self-care (and beautification): from dabbling in yoga flows, hikes in lush nature, to the hedonism experienced from visiting and patronizing artisan shops, it’s all easily found in the heart of the Bluegrass State.

If you’re seeking a brief respite from Lexington’s famed attractions, here are an additional roster of inspired experiences that seek to nourish you in innumerable ways.

Rest and Revive

21c Museum Hotel Lexington is a hybrid boutique hotel and art museum. As an eclectic and luxurious outpost, it offers a dedicated space for contemporary works; the art is ever rotating and meticulously curated by founders Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson. The synergy between the hotel (formerly the historic Fayette National Bank Building), art, representation, and society-at-large, creates a welcoming hub for community engagement.

Of the 88 rooms available, the 21c suite is undoubtedly the decadent showpony you want to book. It’s largest suite (at a luxe 1245 sq.ft) with sweeping views of downtown Lexington, a king bed, dressing area, powder room, en suite bathroom – and plenty of additional space with dining and work areas.

Meanwhile, in echoing the artful digs, over at the hotels’ flagship restaurant on the lobby floor is Lockbox. It is where Executive Chef Nick Fisherkellers prides himself on offering picture-perfect Southern comfort fare with an elevated spin. Local squash is cooked a la plancha is placed on a whipped cushion of goat cheese, is topped with blistered cherry tomatoes, and finished with butter crackers. Meanwhile, decadent roast pork is smoked low and slow, served slab-thick and glisteinng, then finished with tangy mustard sauce.

Pro-tip: Let loose and then recover with their specialty Bourbon Trail Before and After Escape package; which includes a specialty bourbon flight, a meal at Lockbox (with more bourbon, at your discretion), and finishes up with a cheeky (and handy) recovery kit that include eye drops; hydration powder; energizing eye masks; and most importantly – pain relievers (Aleve and Excedrin).

Immerse yourself in a Verdant Haven

About a 30 minute drive southeast of downtown Lexington, you’ll arrive at the Raven Run Nature Sanctuary with 734 acres of pristine woodland waiting for you to explore it. The Kentucky River meanders east of the area and the expanse preserve offers hiking and walking trails through meadows, woodlands, and streams. Additionally for history buffs, there are opportunities to spot remnants of early 19th century settlers on the park grounds.

Pro-tip: mark your calendars for a bevy of hosted events. Of note, stargazing with the Bluegrass Amateur Astronomy Club is a way to connect with the spiritual side and tap into the universal awe of twinkling stars above.

Delight in Otherworldly Gems

Babaloo Jewelry is a small batch, ethically made, Indigenous owned, artisan jewelry brand founded by Almeta Dellagnolo, a registered member of the Nez Perce (Nimiipuu) tribe. She founded her line in 2019 to honor her roots; and with passion, she explains that “my designs are manifested from a desire to reconnect with my heritage. I create pieces that marry traditional Indigenous materials with modern design. My goal is to make designs that are unique and mirror the beauty of Nature and her elements, as well as express the myriad of cultures and places that I have lived and traveled to. They are a juxtaposition of many things brought together to make something beautiful; just like people.”

Materials she sources include earthy elements such as shells, feathers, and even Jewel Beetles. Using her ingenuity and creativity, she transforms these items into wearable art. “Each design tells a story – and the fact that I am able to make women feel beautiful is icing on the cake.” Recommended items include these statement and light-as-air handcrafted Venus earrings accented with gold leaf and feather fans; and this minimalist yet memorable Open Choker with Pearl, with 14K Gold chain, and semi-precious bead accents

Pro-tip: advance bookings for a studio appointment is recommended.

Peruse for Fanciful Footwear

Oneness Sneaker Boutique located in the historic South Hill neighborhood is a must-visit for sneakerheads. Founded by Joseph Staley in 2007, his shop curates hot exclusives, specialty releases, and one-of-a-kind items. With a cult following, their Instagram posts and stories offer the latest scoop on shoe drops from coveted to classic brands such as Maison Mihara Yasuhiro, Rhude, Nike, and more. While you’re here, run through the racks and discover their curated apparel which includes these luxurious MCM Silk PJs, show stopping Ivy Park sequin duster jacket, wardrobe staple Comme des Garçons x Junya Watanabe Denim Jacket, and this camo print John Elliot Military Parka.

Sip, Shop, and Feel Sublime

Situated in the Warehouse Block is The Blushery, an engaging space that features a bar/lounge area, retail shop, and beauty salon in the back, founded by Dana Peddicord and Allison Jenks. Their multifaceted space is aimed to please: “Life is busy, as women – we get that! Between the daily tasks and the to-do lists, it can often feel like there is no time for rest and play. At The Blushery, we believe that there is always time to stop and smell the rosé. We have created a beautiful, luxurious space for women to gather, connect, decompress, refresh, and celebrate,” says Jenks and Peddicord. Additionally, you can brush up on your makeup and beautification skills here too: “our sister business Blush and Glow (hair and makeup styling services) is located in our store as well. The Blush and Glow Bridal Suite is used for bridal hair and makeup services, hair and makeup classes, and for small group gatherings that we host,” explains Jenks. Enjoy shopping here with one of their recommended go-to drinks: their famous Froze. Then peruse their bevy of fun and lively clothing brands, jewelry, accessories, and homeware on offer that are sourced by the duo – featuring local designer talents such Edith Anelle and Arm Confetti.

Dive into a Utopia of Rest and Relaxation

Located in the county of Versailles (about a 15 minute drive west of downtown Lexington) is the storied The Kentucky Castle. Rex Martin originally built this incredible home for his wife Caroline in the late 1960s – unfortunately the two divorced and it wasn’t until 2017 (after renovations and an exchange of ownership) that it was opened to the public. Today, the estate spans 110 acres and includes a boutique hotel, spa, a farm and garden, farm-to-table restaurant, and event center. Despite the vast size, what is most charming is how deeply committed everyone is to the intimacy of building community and nourishing one another.

With so much to take in, The Kentucky Castle Spa is an ideal place to start. Melt your troubles away with their Champagne Facial – which helps restore and revive congested, tired skin. Along with applying a foaming enzyme masque system, dermaplaning is also incorporated to help remove dead skin cells – thereby refreshing the skin and allowing the pores to soak up the maximum benefits from specialty skincare products used.

Once you have cared for your face, the Muslin Bag Massage is a must-try for those seeking to alleviate anxiety and tension in the body. A steamed bag of aromatic clove, ginger, orange, and Fucus Serratus seaweed are massaged into the body. You will feel restored and refreshed.

Then it’s off to the garden to pick your own flowers. The lively Toni Myers, Agriculture Teacher, at The Kentucky Castle – will guide and educate you on the crops she grows for the castle restaurant. Then, she’ll help you master the art of flower arrangement, which studies show improves mental health. Additionally, consider signing up for seasonal goat yoga classes where kids kick and frolic around (and on you) while you get your flows on. If you’re a bigger fan of horses, there is also their Yoga for Equestrians where you can heal and soothe mind, body, and soul – with opportunities to practice mindful movement, improve flexibility, find balance, and concentrate on breathwork.

Shop for Sartorial Heritage

While Lexington is considered the Horse capital of the World and Keeneland Mercantile is a retail shop that offers plenty of paraphernalia to celebrate all things equestrian, it is also prized for curating and showcasing local talents in Lexington and beyond – who are makers of apparel and accessories, homeware, bar, and kitchen items. Here you can stock up on gorgeous statement pieces which include this caramel colored Brit & Blue Hacking Jacket which marries bespoke tailoring with deft durability; whiskey colored and cross-body bag by Henry Dry Goods; 24k gold-plated Brackish Brandi Wide Cuff bracelet adorned with partridge feathers; and this aubergine-hued Keeneland Basketweave Logo Tie (a statement piece that’s perfect for wearing to a fancy brunch).

Delight in Vivacious Vegan fare

Situated inside the Greyline Station, a sociable marketplace and hub for eating and shopping – is where you’ll find The Social Vegan. It’s a popular a restaurant which takes the utmost care in providing ethically and cleanly sourced fare that is delicious, nutrient dense, and 100% vegan. Comfort food is their specialty and favorites include crispy fried coconut ‘shrimp’; piquant black bean burger; and feisty Cajun ‘shrimp’ linguine.

Heal with Holistic Care for Men

About Face Organic Skincare Studio emphasizes holistic and healing forms of spa treatments. Founder Charlene Joseph, says that “our treatments combine both ancient and contemporary techniques and integrate the best of science and nature in our product selection and their delivery systems. They are designed to bring balance and beauty to meet the needs of each individual, always cruelty free.” Of note, their services for men, used in tandem with Om4 Men products, are highly recommended. Top services include their organic Face + Back Treatment to keep skin in optimum health; and their organic Face Fitness: Skin Endurance Treatment which helps address specific issues with a tailored facial.

Indulge in a cool treat

Crank and Boom Craft Ice Cream has garnered quite a cult following. The owners and founders – Toa and Mike Green – originally owned a Thai restaurant but they noticed that people kept coming back specifically for their homemade ice cream. Eventually, it hit critical mass – and a lightbulb went off for the couple. They took a leap of faith, shuttered their restaurant – and devoted all their efforts towards ice cream. Their hunch did not lead them astray; and today, they offer classics to wild-eyed experiments to doting, devoted guests. The Bourbon & Honey Ice Cream is a must-have (for obvious reasons) – lush, dense, and silky on the tongue – it’s the perfect amount of sweetness counterbalanced with the buzz of Buffalo Trace Bourbon. Otherwise, if you’re seeking something on the lighter and healthier side, the Strawberry Balsamic Sorbet is an effervescent winner. Local strawberries are married with tangy balsamic vinegar.

Pro-tip: They have two locations: one in the Lexington Distillery District and the second in Clays Mill.

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