As an Iowan, I'm battle-hardened in the hunt for boutique hotels in areas lacking a tourist infrastructure. Though Indianapolis isn't as bad as Des Moines due to its host status for several preeminent sporting events, it could be better.
Enter the Hotel Broad Ripple.
Located in the Indianapolis suburb after which it's named (about 20 minutes from downtown Indy), I discovered the Broad Ripple from a Google search that had me doubting my abilities. Just when I was about to surrender, the waves of generic chains and locations featured in the pilot episode of CSI: Indianapolis parted for an affordable and rustic hotel with glowing reviews built alongside a nature trail.
We booked a room for Memorial Day (after our weekend of Indy 500 festivities) and were surprised and pleased with how quiet the hotel was when we arrived early Monday morning. This seems to be the case for all of Indianapolis after the 500, so if you're planning to explore Indy, we recommend staying after the race.
The Broad Ripple's entrance opens up into a bar area known as the Bunkhouse Lounge, complete with tables and chairs, a coffee stand available at all hours of the day, and a tv that was playing race coverage during our stay. It's best described as an old farmhouse in the countryside, a vibe that intermingles with modern takes on rustic charm throughout the hotel.
Follow a narrow hallway back to a bright blue room that seems more Savannah than Indianapolis and you'll be greeted by either Debbie Hasbrook or her husband Charles, the Broad Ripple's owners and some of the nicest human beings you'll ever meet. Since opening the hotel in 2014 to cater to attendees of Butler events, they've taken on several expansion projects, including adding four additional guest rooms by the end of the summer. They've also instituted a summer movie series taking place every Thursday, a testament to how ingrained and involved in the community the Broad Ripple is.
Each of the current nine rooms is unique and decorated in a range of themes and styles that emphasize coziness. We were given room three, which Charles informed me had the best deck in the hotel, complete with Adirondack chairs and a relaxing view of the Broad Ripple's outdoor dining space and the confluence of families, dogs, and couples out for a stroll on the nearby Monon Trail. It's the perfect place for eating Brics Ice Cream (located up the road) and people watching as the sun goes down.
The room was huge, fitting an intoxicatingly comfortable king-sized bed, cream colored leather sofa, mounted flat-screen tv (complete with the Food Network, in case you were wondering), and other random decorations with space to spare. If you're a vampire like me, you'll be pleased to note the blackout curtains that can be easily utilized to turn your room to a cave at all hours of the day; perfect for napping!
The bathroom was equally spacious, a distressing fact when I think of the price I paid for a hotel room in London that was basically a closet. Like the rest of the room, it's painted in warm chocolate tones that blend well with the clean lines and spotless white vanity. The shower, an important staple of any C&C vacation, seemed big enough to fit an IndyCar and was a welcome respite after our day walking around Broad Ripple in the Indiana summer.
We thoroughly enjoyed our time at the Hotel Broad Ripple. The cozy rooms, friendly staff, and prime location in charming Broad Ripple make it a must stay for travelers seeking a boutique experience at a chain price. With a yearly trip to the Indy 500 every year for the foreseeable future, it's nice to know we'll have a place like this to come back to after every race.