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Cincinnati's Best Hotels: Architectural Gems and Modern Luxury with Welcoming Service

Choosing a hotel in an unfamiliar city can be a difficult task. This list contains ten options for visitors to downtown Cincinnati. All are great hotels; read on for guidance on picking the best fit for your needs.

Valet parking with in/out privileges is standard for hotels in downtown Cincinnati. Prices range from $24 (Residence Inn) to $35 (21c and Renaissance). Too pricey? Stay across the river at the Courtyard Cincinnati Covington which is the only hotel on this list with free parking, or choose the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza which is the only downtown hotel to offer both valet and self-parking with in/out privileges ($20).

Guests who like the convenience and value of free breakfast will find it at the Homewood Suites, Residence Inn and Hampton Inn & Suites.

Some of the hotels have a maximum occupancy of four people per room. The Hilton, Homewood Suites, Residence Inn, Courtyard and Hampton Inn all have rooms that can accommodate families with three or four children.

Swimming pools can be found at the Hilton, Westin, Hyatt Regency and Courtyard.

21c and the Residence Inn offer rooftop bars with spectacular views of the city.

History buffs should consider the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza and The Cincinnatian, which are both historic hotels. Newer hotels located in renovated historic buildings include the Homewood Suites, Hampton Inn and Renaissance Hotel.

The 21c Museum Hotel and The Cincinnatian are good choices for art lovers, offering both modern and traditional art, respectively.



Renaissance Cincinnati Downtown Hotel
Photo courtesy of Renaissance Cincinnati Downtown Hotel

The Renaissance Cincinnati Downtown is one of Cincinnati's newer hotels, opened in 2014. It is located in a renovated historic building that was designed by architect Daniel Burnham and opened in 1901 as a bank. The Renaissance combines intricate architectural details with sleek modern furnishings and luxurious amenities. The large fitness center is one of the nicest in downtown Cincinnati and has plenty of windows with city views. The restaurant, D. Burnham's, is named after the building's architect and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. The lounge has live music on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Navigator iPads are placed around the hotel for guests to access information about the city. A concierge lounge is available for Marriott Gold and Platinum members and guests in concierge-level rooms. Rooms are equipped with coffee makers; mini refrigerators are available upon request. Marriott Rewards members who book through receive complimentary Wi-Fi; otherwise, there's a charge.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: The Renaissance Cincinnati Downtown Hotel is a gorgeous new upscale hotel in a restored historic former bank.

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Cincinnatian Hotel
Photo courtesy of Terri Weeks

The Cincinnatian Hotel was Cincinnati's tallest building--at eight stories--when it opened in 1882 as the Palace Hotel. Now it's known as a small boutique hotel with excellent service, fine dining and original art. The hotel has a full-time concierge, but they don't offer concierge-level room differentiation because they believe in providing outstanding service to all guests, such as turndown service with cookies at bedtime. The hotel's authentic London taxi provides complimentary transportation throughout downtown. The Palace Restaurant and Cricket Lounge Bistro are named after the original hotel and restaurant. The Palace serves breakfast, lunch, dinner, weekend brunch and a monthly afternoon tea. Cricket Lounge guests are treated to live jazz on Saturday evenings. The 24-hour fitness center includes a dry sauna. While there are no coffee makers in the rooms, complimentary morning coffee is served in the lobby. Wi-Fi is free, and mini refrigerators are available upon request.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: The Cincinnatian Hotel is a small, historic boutique hotel known for its excellent service and fine dining.

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Courtyard by Marriott Cincinnati-Covington
Photo courtesy of Courtyard Cincinnati Covington

The recently renovated Courtyard Cincinnati Covington is a modern hotel across the river from Cincinnati in Covington, Ky. The hotel has free Wi-Fi and plenty of convenient electrical outlets in public spaces as well as on bedside tables. Although most guests probably wouldn't walk as far as Fountain Square from the hotel, many walk to the ballpark and Smale Riverfront Park. A free shuttle to downtown Cincinnati is offered on weekdays primarily for business travelers, but is available for sightseers as well. The Courtyard offers a few features not offered by most downtown Cincinnati hotels: free parking, a swimming pool with a hot tub, and an outdoor patio. A quick-service bistro serves breakfast and Starbucks coffee in the morning and dinner and cocktails in the evening. All rooms are equipped with a mini refrigerator. Some rooms have two queen-size beds and a sofabed, accommodating up to 6 people.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: The Courtyard Cincinnati Covington is just across the river from Cincinnati and offers many conveniences, including free parking.

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Hyatt Regency Cincinnati
Photo courtesy of Hyatt Regency Cincinnati

In 2013, the Hyatt Regency Cincinnati underwent a $23 million renovation, adding features that modern travelers desire including a library, free Wi-Fi and a small market. The restaurant was transformed into a farm-to-table tavern. Standard rooms include a refrigerator and an iHome docking station. The hotel provides the typical toiletries and will deliver additional items, such as a toothbrush or deodorant, or loan out items such a phone charger, upon request. A small indoor pool is covered by a glass roof and surrounded by a sun deck. Guests can visit the fitness center or request that a yoga mat and small weights be delivered to their room. The hotel is connected directly to Saks Fifth Avenue, an other downtown businesses are accessible by a skywalk.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: The Hyatt Regency Cincinnati offers many amenities in a modern, renovated building in downtown Cincinnati with easy access to shopping, dining and attractions.

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The Westin Cincinnati
Photo courtesy of Westin Cincinnati

The newly renovated Westin Cincinnati is a sleek, modern hotel in the heart of downtown, right across from Fountain Square. Rooms have free basic Wi-Fi (upcharge for streaming video), a mini refrigerator, a coffee maker and Westin's trademark Heavenly® Bed and Heavenly® Shower. In addition to a fitness center, the hotel has a pool and hot tub on the top floor with a wall of windows that overlooks the city. Breakfast and lunch are available at a quick service restaurant with reasonable prices. McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurant serves lunch and dinner, and many other restaurants are within walking distance. Over Vine is the appropriately named hotel bar which is suspended over Vine St. Other downtown businesses are easily accessed by a skywalk. The Westin has a well-stocked gift shop with everything you'd expect plus items like ties, pantyhose and swim goggles.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: Fountain Square is the heart of downtown Cincinnati and the Westin is located as close as you can get to it--right across the street.

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Hampton Inn and Suites Cincinnati Downtown
Photo courtesy of Terri Weeks

The Hampton Inn & Suites Cincinnati-Downtown is a beautiful new hotel located in the elegantly restored former Cincinnati Enquirer building, along with the Homewood Suites. The 1926 building has stunning architectural details and thoughtful art. Registration for both hotels is on the second floor and the rooms for the Hampton Inn & Suites are on the ninth through fifteenth floors. Both hotels share a fitness center, billiards room and bar. A free hot breakfast buffet is served daily. Tea and coffee are always available in the lobby. Rooms have complimentary Wi-Fi, mini refrigerators, microwaves and coffee makers. Studio suites have a sleeper sofa and can sleep up to six people. There is a charge for valet parking (standard for downtown Cincinnati), but the many free amenities make it a great value, especially for families. While there is no restaurant on the premises, there are 55 restaurants within walking distance.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: Hampton Inn & Suites is a great value in a convenient downtown Cincinnati location with a free hot breakfast in a beautifully restored historic building.

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Residence Inn by Marriott Cincinnati Downtown/The Phelps
Photo courtesy of Residence Inn Cincinnati Downtown

The Residence Inn Cincinnati Downtown is a luxury all-suite extended-stay property located on the far east side of downtown. The hotel is a little further from the heart of the action than some of the other hotels on this list, but it is still within walking distance of many restaurants and attractions. The location is in a quieter section of downtown and sits directly across from Lytle Park, making it a good choice for families and pet owners. Small plates and drinks are available at the bar and the rooftop lounge (open seasonally). A complimentary hot breakfast is available seven days a week. All of the suites have fully equipped kitchens and a grocery delivery service is free. The hotel has a lovely outdoor patio with a gas grill for guest use. One bedroom, two bedroom and studio suites are available and can sleep to up six people. Wi-Fi is complimentary.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: The Residence Inn provides many convenient amenities in a relatively quiet section of downtown while still being within walking distance of many restaurants and attractions.

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Homewood Suites by Hilton Cincinnati-Downtown
Photo courtesy of Terri Weeks

This stunning new hotel makes its home in the restored former Cincinnati Enquirer building, conveniently located in downtown Cincinnati. Stunning architectural details on the ceiling and elevators invite guests into the 1926 building which now holds both the Homewood Suites and Hampton Inn & Suites. Registration for both is on the second floor, and the rooms for the Homewood Suites are on the fourth through eighth floors. Both hotels share a fitness center, billiards room and bar. Designed as an extended-stay property, Homewood Suites offers fully equipped kitchens and complimentary grocery shopping service. A free hot breakfast is served daily; dinner and drinks are served Monday through Thursday. Coffee and tea are always available in the lobby. One bedroom suites feature a separate bedroom with either a king-size bed or two queens. All rooms have ceiling fans. Wi-fi is complimentary.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: Homewood Suites Cincinnati has many complimentary amenities and conveniences, making it a great value, in a beautifully restored historic building with a convenient downtown location.

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21c Museum Hotel Cincinnati
Photo courtesy of 21c Museum Hotels

The 21c Museum Hotel in Cincinnati appeals to art lovers and those looking for a decidedly different hotel experience. It is conveniently located next to the Contemporary Arts Center and across from the Aronoff Center for the Arts. Originally built in 1912 as a men's hotel, the building was renovated and opened as 21c in 2012. Five galleries display rotating works of 21st century artists. The galleries present an interesting juxtaposition of old and new, with modern art displayed against the building's original architectural features. Hotel guests and outside visitors are encouraged to explore the first and second floor galleries. Metropole, a farm-to-table fresh restaurant with a signature open hearth serves breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week. The Cocktail Terrace located on the roof serves cocktails with a view of the city. 21c also has free Wi-Fi, a fitness center and Cincinnati's only in-hotel spa.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: The 21c Museum Hotel is a luxurious boutique hotel with fascinating modern art exhibits and a spa in a convenient downtown location.

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Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza
Photo courtesy of Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza

The Hilton Netherland Plaza is a grand hotel and National Historic Landmark that has been in operation since 1931. Located inside historic Carew Tower, it has an opulent French Art Deco design. The hotel blends historic architectural details with modern conveniences and excellent service. The concierge maintains a board where guests can easily find information about concerts, games and other events. There are a variety of room sizes and suites to meet different needs, many with great views. All rooms have a mini refrigerator, safe, coffee maker and high-definition TV. Basic Wi-Fi is complementary with an upgrade available for a fee. Hotel guests have access to a large onsite fitness center with pool and hot tub. Be sure to have dinner in the award-winning Orchids at Palm Court. The bar offers live jazz on Friday and Saturday nights. Brochures are available for a self-guided tour of the building's historic features.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: This gorgeous historic hotel has the features and amenities modern travelers expect, along with excellent service and a full-time concierge.

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Meet Terri Weeks

Terri Weeks, a Cincinnati mother of three, is a former mechanical engineer who became a travel writer quite accidentally. She and a friend started intentionally exploring attractions around...  More About Terri