Unpretentious but with a love for arts, architecture and more famously being home to the first baseball team in America, the Ohio gem is underrated as a tourist destination.
It’s a surprisingly hip place with a love of ethnic food, European-style neighborhoods and with a friendly, laid back atmosphere.
Take a stroll around its hills, rivers and 250-year-old buildings and you’ll find some awesome places to stay too. From gorgeous boutiques to large, chic and grand, here are my favorite cool and unusual hotels in Cincinnati, Ohio (in no particular order)...
1. The Graduate – a hip, trendy and very Instagrammable stay perfect for fun-loving Millennials and Gen Zs
Located in the heart of the University District; between the University of Cincinnati campus, the College of Medicine and Burnet Woods is the Graduate Cincinnati.
Somewhat dull on the outside, the inside is a riot of color and design with an overabundance of clashing, quirky themes reminiscent of a sort of kindergarten designed by Roy Lichtenstein.
It should look awful, but it feels great. It’s a fun and playful escape from the surrounding seriousness of academia and medical centres.
You may choose from various comfortable rooms and suites throughout your stay. The cool-looking hotel has 203 rooms, and each room has an air-conditioner, a desk, a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, swish private bathrooms including shower/tub combinations, complimentary toiletries, irons/ ironing boards, privacy shades, and other complimentary amenities, and some rooms also have a patio. In addition, housekeeping is available on request.
The fun hotel also offers a restaurant and a coffee shop/café where visitors can enjoy coffee and light snacks at Poindexter Coffee Shop, specialty drinks, and regional food at Fiona’s. Both have direct access to a huge balcony with a fire pit, outdoor seating, and food service.
Whether you want a small or big party to enjoy your special day, the hotel has the fitting room to host your event and all the fun.
Graduate Cincinnati has IACC-certified buildings, event managers, eight conference rooms, nine meeting rooms, two amphitheaters, a grand ballroom, and a Jr. ballroom.
Visitors may also use the hotel’s 24-hour fitness center, computer station with free internet, and tour/ticket assistance.
The Graduate Cincinnati Hotel is the best place to stay, it is only 3 miles from downtown Cincinnati, close to 5 hospitals, and right next to the Botanical Gardens.
I loved the Graduate, it’s one of the very few hotels that’s genuinely quirky and fun without feeling too contrived!
2. 21c Museum Hotel – an award-winning hip boutique which is also home to a contemporary art museum
In the heart of historic Downtown Cincinnati, adjacent to the Contemporary Art Center and across the street from the Aronoff Center for the Arts, is the 21c Museum Hotel which is known to be one of the best hotels in the city. (Although it’s not a museum, it’s an art exhibition space in a former Metropole Hotel.)
Despite the external appearance of a historic building, the interior is almost devoid of original features, with 156 large guest rooms filled with unique furniture that gives the hotel a very homely atmosphere, offering a welcome reprieve from the thought-provoking art and constant activity surrounding the museum galleries.
A modern French-Italian restaurant and bar on the ground floor and a very nice cocktail terrace on the rooftop with good views across old Cincinnati.
Whether planning a rocking rooftop celebration with a view of the city or an international teleconference, 21c Cincinnati has the event space for you. Among the hotel event venues are:
- One large ballroom accommodates seated parties of up to 120 people and receptions of up to 200 people.
- Five cool art-filled galleries can accommodate meetings or activities for groups of 12 to 75 people.
- One cutting-edge conference room with seating for up to 12 people.
- You may also take your gathering to the next level with unrivaled views of downtown Cincinnati from the swish Cocktail Terrace.
The Spa at 21c is another option for some R&R, with services including their famous facials, massages, and more.
21c Museum Hotel Cincinnati is a great location to explore the city with the added bonus of exhibitions of contemporary art when you get back to the hotel!
3. Kinley Cincinnati Downtown – a cool, sophisticated, striking and modern upscale downtown hotel
Kinley Cincinnati Downtown is a thoughtful and stylish hotel, perfectly positioned in Downtown Cincinnati just a short walk from the parks, gardens, fashionable Over The Rhine district, and many bridges across the Ohio River to Kentucky. Externally it’s smartly confident, comfortable in its surroundings, but not brash.
Internally it’s designed with supercool décor and unpretentious chic furnishings. Someone has spent a lot of time designing spaces that work, and making the utilitarian enjoyable.
You can make yourself at home in one of the hotel’s 94 guestrooms, each room including a refrigerator, a smart television, free internet, cable programs, private shower tubs with complimentary toiletries, and hair dryers. Other facilities include phones, desks, complimentary bottled water, and a great fitness center.
The modern and creative hotel also features a restaurant on the ground floor serving traditional and modern dishes and drinks from Spain and Latin America, like tasty tapas, ceviches and big plates.
In addition, the hotel includes a bar where you may have distinctive artisan cocktails produced with local ingredients and foods with your evening appetizers and main entrees.
Overall, one of the best hotels in Cincinnati; a masterclass in getting it right!
4. The Lytle Park Hotel – a beautiful and stylish spot housed in a 1909 building offering superb city views
In the historic Lytle district of Downtown Cincinnati, close to the Ohio River Trail and Great American Baseball Park, sits The Lytle Park Hotel.
Separated from the hubbub of Downtown by a small park this chic upscale hotel is a clever conglomeration of two old buildings using a connecting glass atrium to create interesting and refined zones.
Lytle’s spacious, luxurious decorated rooms and suites set the setting for a memorable encounter with thoughtful details that effortlessly bring the park inside.
Each room has a magnificent marble bathroom with a rain shower, a Nespresso coffee machine, a comfortable cloud-like bed, and a slew of other useful amenities that will have you eagerly expecting your return.
The hotel also features various dining choices, including lively and varied cuisine alternatives, where you may brainstorm over a quick breakfast or lunch.
In the vibrant lobby bar, you can also drink unique custom cocktails with a nod to the classics. Or, from Cincinnati’s biggest rooftop terrace, enjoy holidays and summer Friday evenings with views of jaw-dropping firework displays and panoramic city lights.
The gorgeous boutique hotel is also a top choice among successful professionals for conferences and other gatherings.
The rooftop event area is unique in its completely retractable cover, allowing inside and outdoor events to be held in the same location. The interior has conference spaces that may be arranged for any occasion, from formal board meetings to casual beanbag sessions.
You can also enjoy valet parking and fast check-in/out, a modern gym, free WiFi, and the business center is available if you need to work.
5. The Cincinnatian Hotel – an upscale design abode housed in a historic 1882 building
Constructed in 1882, this grande dame of a hotel must once have been the finest place to be seen in Cincinnati.
Perfectly located in the heart of Downtown, on the same block as Macy’s, is this beautiful old lady, looking very Parisienne on the outside. Inside, sadly, it’s all gone; there’s barely a glimpse remaining of her heyday.
Consecutive interior designers at The Cincinnatian Hotel appear to have smothered everything, leaving a hotch-potch of styles and themes which produce a clumsy, disjointed feeling in common areas and guest rooms.
Each room at this boutique-design hotel has comfortable linen as well as a flat-screen cable TV. Certain rooms have spa baths and balconies. Ironing boards and safes are also available in the rooms.
The eating choices at the Cincinnatian Hotel are equally perplexing, with a gastropub and a takeaway coffee shop. The bar’s menu includes a selection of regionally influenced craft beers to complement the restaurant’s geographically inspired cuisine options.
Guests may also work out in the fitness center or use the on-site business center, which has free internet. The hotel also includes a function room and valet parking. A variety of shops and eateries also surround the hotel. So it’s simple to go out and discover Cincinnati’s famed gastronomic pleasures.
6. Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza – an art deco style property housed in a 1931 National Historic Landmark
Located inside the landmark Carew Tower, less than 100 yards from Fountain Square, is the exquisite Hilton Netherland Plaza.
A stunningly over-the-top art deco interior crashes the senses at every turn with a sort of silver-screen elegance. In contrast, the guest rooms are calm and with several amenities, including premium bedding, flat-screen TVs, open bathrooms with shower/tub combos, designer amenities, and hair dryers.
The rooms at this incredible luxury hotel also include coffee/tea makers, free WiFi, irons/ironing boards, desks, and complimentary daily newspapers. Housekeeping is available upon request, as is hypoallergenic bedding.
But you don’t check in here to sit in the rooms; it’s all about the great public spaces, the staggeringly beautiful Palm Court bar, a cocktail bar serving dinner and light meals with live jazz, a pottery fountain, and triple-height ceilings.
The romantic hotel dining options include Orchids at Palm Court or The Grille at Palm Court, which specialize in international cuisine.
Other recreational options at the hotel, on-site or nearby, include a 24-hour health club, fitness center, hiking/biking trails, and golfing.
There’s also a grand staircase for a movie star entrance before a night on the town. Netherland Plaza is a historic gem in Cincinnati and a must-see.
7. Renaissance Downtown Hotel – a chic downtown spot with contemporary boutique-style rooms perfect for couples
Located in a historic building, in the absolute heart of Downtown Cincinnati, just a short walk to everywhere in the city centre, is the Renaissance Hotel.
Nicely designed to feel warm and welcoming, with plenty of deep leathery tones in the common areas and fresh, bright designs in guest rooms and suites.
Each room has a coffee/tea maker, a pillow menu, a TV, cable channels, a bathroom with a shower/tub combo, free WiFi, complimentary toiletries, a hair dryer, and a phone for making or receiving business calls. Daily cleaning services are offered.
The hotel also has various dining choices, including D Burnham’s and Prime, which specialize in American cuisine and provide breakfast, lunch, and supper. Guests may order beverages from the bar.
The beautiful chic hotel has 6800 square feet of event space, which includes conference space, so it’s perfect for any event. A 24-hour workout facility, a library, and concierge services are all available. Everywhere feels simple and elegant in a homely rather than pompous way.
If you’re lucky, you might get a room with a great view from some higher floors, or you can wander outside and enjoy everything the city offers.
8. Hampton Inn & Suites – a chic and unique Downtown stay which offers fantastic breakfasts
Inside a grand old newspaper office building, with the most impressive entrance, you’ll see away from a palace, the Hampton Inn & Suites confusingly shares the building with Homewood Suites aparthotel.
The Hampton Inn side of the building has spacious modern rooms decorated with bold colors and furnished with sensible, but fun, pieces in a sort of European style.
So you can relax on the crisp new Hampton bed while perusing channels on the LCD TV and checking emails with the complimentary WiFi.
The complimentary 24-hour business center allows you to print or fax papers. Maintain your training program at the cutting-edge fitness facility. Enjoy complimentary tea and coffee in the hotel lobby 24 hours a day, and ask the friendly staff for suggestions on things to do downtown.
The Hampton Inn also offers versatile alternatives for corporate and social events, with event space in the combined conference rooms for up to 100 persons theatrically or 60 banquet-style.
In addition, the on-site Suite Shop sells food and beverages 24 hours a day, so you can start your day off right with Hampton’s complimentary hot breakfast buffet, which includes items like fresh fruit, yogurt, and waffles made to order.
9. AC The Banks – a fun, sleek and trendy place with a cool rooftop bar and a modern design
The AC Hotel is, as its name suggests, by the legendary banks of the Ohio River. With the baseball stadium in front, an NFL stadium a couple of blocks behind and a beautiful riverside park in between, this is the perfect venue for any sports fan.
It’s also just a few blocks from the centre of Downtown so a great venue for a city break too. AC Hotel by Marriott Cincinnati at The Banks is a modern hotel, styled with clean lines and statement colors exactly as you’d expect to find. It’s a considered design, maximising the space and the light to create feelings of calm with a dash of fun.
The rooms are uncluttered wood and beige, ranging from small to suites. Some of the bigger rooms have balconies with views of the river if you can get one.
The cool and unique hotel also serves proper Continental breakfast daily at the AC Kitchen with croissants, freshly sliced prosciutto, savory egg tarts, and Nespresso coffee.
During the day, the AC Lounge is a place for people to hang out together. It becomes a social hub at night where people can enjoy local craft beers, signature drinks, or specialty wines with tapas-style small bites.
The hotel also has a Rooftop, a great place to meet, and a great view of Smale Park, The Ohio River, and Downtown Cincinnati. It’s also close enough to the field to hear the cheers.
There is also a 900-square-foot meeting room with an entrance to the Great American Ballpark and a sneaky peek at the baseball game next door.
10. Gaslight Bed & Breakfast – beautiful quirky chic accommodation located in the historic Gaslight district of Clifton
In the leafy Victorian suburbs, 4 miles north of Downtown Cincinnati, is the mildly eccentric Gaslight Bed & Breakfast.
An inviting traditional villa, originally constructed in 1909, perched on a small hillock with just four sumptuous guest rooms, two lounges, a lovely outdoor terrace, sauna and a small fitness room.
An inviting traditional villa, originally constructed in 1909, perched on a small hillock with just four sumptuous four air-conditioned accommodations.
These individually designed rooms have desks, Egyptian cotton sheets on pillowtop beds, and high-quality furniture. Guests at this cute and quirky spot can use the microwaves and coffee/tea makers in their rooms.
There are towels, free products, and hair dryers in the bathrooms. Guests at this cute and quirky hotel can use the free WiFi Internet connection to surf the web. Cable programs are built into TVs.
The rooms also share stoves, irons, and ironing boards. Housekeeping is done daily, and guests can ask for a change of blankets. Other hotel facilities include two lounges, a gorgeous outdoor patio, a sauna, and a small fitness area.
Everywhere is decorated in a comfortable, eclectic style, not a reproduction of past times but a fresh, modern style with great character and charm in abundance. This environment is an excellent location for anyone who wants a break from bland corporate hotels.
There are nature reserves and parks right outside, and just a half-mile to local bars, restaurants, and a retro cinema or just a 15-minute drive to Downtown.
Where do tourists usually stay in the city?
Visitors usually stay either Downtown where there are plenty of great attractions including museums, hotels and the Cincinnati Reds’ Great American Ball Park or one of the hipster-friendly districts.
Where are the coolest districts to stay in Cincinnati?
Some of the most creative and hipster-friendly spots to base yourself in the city include Over-the-Rhine, known to be a trendy district with cool craft breweries, happening restaurants, a popular arts and culture scene and independent boutique shopping.
Northside is another great choice for boho types with trendy vintage stores, hip bars, a great selection of restaurants and music festivals in the summer.
How much do hotels in Cincinnati cost?
Cincinnati is generally considered an affordable city to visit especially when compared to other more famous tourist favorite cities in the USA. Prices start for lower-starred hotels at around $80 a night.
How to get to there?
The city is connected by many major highways, alternatively, the nearest airport is Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) which is located not too far from the city center.
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Becky Moore – Owner, writer and photographer
My first true adventure began as a six month voyage around South East Asia as a fresh faced backpacker and ever since I’ve lived a semi nomadic existence, clocking up visits to over 40 countries. I’m a lover of US Road Trips, deserted beaches bathed in warm glow of a sunset, Cuban mojitos, travel destinations far away from the tourist crowds and all things Scandinavian – from cloudberry liquors to Nordic noirs. When not wandering the world and running Global Grasshopper, you’ll find me walking my ex Athens street dog in leafy South West London, strolling around the Brighton Lanes on random day trips, hunting for photogenic landscapes or daydreaming about my favourite places; Havana, Copenhagen, Italy, Borneo, Finland, Greece, Berlin, Laos, California and the surreal and beautiful landscapes of a wintry Iceland.
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