Seelbach Hotel Goes the Extra Mile With Flying Fare Menu

Reed Travel Features

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- It may be a flight of fancy, but the stately Seelbach Hotel here has turned "brown-bagging it" into an Epicurean delight for guests winging home on an otherwise empty stomach.

The hotel, which prides itself on its kitchen, offers patrons a fillip it calls Flying Fare, which transforms lunch on the fly into, well, lunch on the fly.

While the hungry Jack on the aisle has to make do with a bag of salty peanuts, airborne guests of the Seelbach can dine on the likes of marinated grilled chicken with black olive and garlic tapinade served on herb and black olive foccacia or grilled vegetable pesto pita with fresh daikon sprouts.

Here's how it works.

A guest can order a Flying Fare sandwich -- there were seven of them at last count -- by calling Room Service at least one hour before leaving the hotel, and a tidy bagged lunch will be waiting at the front desk on checkout.

Each sandwich comes packed with chips, fresh fruit, a kosher dill pickle and a cookie (the hotel says it includes an extra cookie to share with the salivating passenger across the aisle).

No Flying Fare sandwich costs more than $7.95, and the top price is $10.95 for a sliced tenderloin and sirloin with cheddar.

Of course, clients taking off on a morning flight can arrange to pick up a continental breakfast instead.

For $5.95, early birds will get a bagel with apple cinnamon cream cheese, a fresh baked muffin, a danish-style pastry and fresh fruit.

Anyone who knows the Seelbach is not surprised the hotel is willing to go the extra mile (in this case air miles) when it comes to fine dining.

The hotel's new executive chef, Jim Gerhardt, brought with him a host of accolades, and it was under his stewardship that The Oakroom, the Seelbach's landmark restaurant, was awarded the coveted four-star rating by the Louisville Courier-Journal.

Gerhardt, who was honored as one of 20 chefs invited to participate in the James Beard dinner in New York next May, stresses regional ingredients and accents for his menus.

"Fine food brings out-of-towners as well as locals to a hotel while at the same time attracting conventions and meetings," a spokeswoman for the Seelbach said.

"Good restaurants enhance a hotel's salability."

In addition to gourmet dining in The Oakroom, the Seelbach features the Cafe on the lobby level and the Old Seelbach Bar.

As for meeting accommodations, the Seelbach, which is located in the heart of downtown Louisville at 500 Fourth Ave., offers 32,000 square feet of space, including the Medallion Ballroom, the Mezzanine Ballroom and the Grand Ballroom as well as the unique Rathskeller room in the lower lobby.

The Rathskeller, which was constructed in 1907, is noted for its Rookwood pottery and hand-painted, leather ceiling.

Rates at the elegant 321-room property, where the amenities include four-poster beds (in most rooms), marble baths, mahogany furniture and two floors of concierge Club accommodations, are $180 for two persons in a superior room; $205, Concierge Club room; $310 one-bedroom suite, and $510, Presidential suite.

For additional information or reservations, call (800) 333-3399; fax (502) 587-6564.

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