Downtown Louisville Hotels almost filled up for Derby - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Downtown Louisville Hotels almost filled up for Derby

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LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- Stretch limos parked outside hotels.

Ladies trying on their Derby hats.

Out-of-town visitors arriving at downtown hotels ready to spend their money to have a good time.

It is pretty clear Derby Day and Oaks Day are just about here.

Hotels and restaurants are filling up quickly already.

If you are willing to pay premium prices there are still hotel rooms available in the Louisville area.

"First of all we love Louisville," says Wayne Cutler from New York who is making his second Derby visit to Louisville, "it is a great horse country town and with the Derby it is the race of the world."

The race of the world brings thousands of out of towners who can afford to pay high prices.

"We are preparing for a lot of CEO's and presidents of big companies," says the general manager of the downtown Hyatt Regency Hotel, Donna Marquez.

To stay at the hotel this weekend it will cost a minimum of $1,300 per night and you have to stay for three nights.

But Marquez says the hotel will be sold out by the end of the business day on Thursday.

"We have two rooms left that people are fighting over right now but we are sure they will sell out by tonight," says Marquez, "they are bidding for the rooms so we will see who will win."

While the downtown hotels are likely to be filled, rooms will still be available in outlying areas of Metro Louisville, including Southern Indiana. But prices will be greatly inflated.

Restaurants are also gearing up for the onslaught.

"It will be crazy, a lot of out-of-town guests of course," says Larry Rice, owner of the Silver Dollar restaurant and bar on Frankfort Avenue.

It is booked solid for the next three nights.

But there is room for walk-ups on the patio if the weather is good.

"We do capacity every weekend just about," says Rice, "but Derby weekend they want to try the expensive bourbons and want to try the higher end items so they definitely spend a lot of money."

Rice says about 80 percent of his patrons will be from out of town. Locals have parties at home this weekend.

He says for Derby weekend his restaurant will have a limited menu of higher priced items.

According to the latest study, for the two weeks leading up to the Derby and including Derby weekend itself, there is a $345 million economic impact to the city.

And according to Stacey Yates of the Greater Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau its is not just the hotels and restaurants that benefit.

"Waste management, catering, all of the dress shops, the cigar shops," she says, "I've heard it is a lot like a second Christmas for the retailers, so everyone kind of gets a piece of the Derby pie, so to speak."

By the way, Marquez of the Hyatt Regency says they are already getting reservations for next year's Derby.

It is definitely a seller's market.

To check to see what hotels still have rooms available check out

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