Cincinnati's Symphony Hotel: Luxury Stay In The Entertainment District

Review of Symphony Hotel & Restaurant | 210 W. 14th Street
  • Trip101 Review

Filled with antique furnishings, luxurious amenities, an in-house restaurant and a prime location, Symphony Hotel in Cincinnati is a great choice for lodging. Within easy walking distance to Washington Park, Cincinnati Music Hall, Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati and Findlay Market, guests can enjoy plenty of indoor and outdoor entertainment and return for live jazz, coffee, drinks and a comfortable night.

A history that fits the city

Front door of the Symphony Hotel

The Symphony Hotel was originally designed by architect James McLaughlin and built as a stone mansion for Peter Ehrgott, who was an ardent supporter of the Cincinnati Symphony and the May Festival. Ehrgott’s son Louis was a musician and started teaching music lessons in the back dining room.

Over time, music students were boarded there, and this mansion remained a boarding house for many years. After Louis died, the building became the Clyde Hotel and then even a brothel at a time when the whole neighborhood was in a state of disrepair. It was rescued and revitalized twenty-one years ago. The hotel is located in the Over-the-Rhine Historic Neighborhood, considered to be among the largest, intact, urban historic districts in the United States. Through the massive efforts of 3CDC, a tax-exempt, private, non-profit corporation, Over-the-Rhine is thought by many in Cincinnati as “the” place to be right now, both commercially and residentially. The mission of 3CDC has been to connect Cincinnati’s Fountain Square District, the Central Business District and Over-the-Rhine, and they have had outstanding results.

The famed Cincinnati Music Hall across the street was actually built seven years after the hotel. It is currently undergoing a 135 million USD renovation, and its grand reopening is slated for October 6, 2017.

Talented owner with a vision

Owner Karen Blatt in front of a portrait of herself with two friends

Karen Meister Blatt, with her background in fashion design and her innate ability to visualize and use color, threw herself into the revitalization and establishment of the Symphony Hotel with fervor. Mrs. Blatt is a native of Cincinnati, and she and her husband have been involved in redeveloping Cincinnati real estate for many years. She knows the area and has a vision for what will help her city the most. She even designed the shower curtains for each bathroom, and her personal artwork is used on the Do Not Disturb signs.

Themed rooms named for famous composers with plenty of amenities

Mozart Room in the Symphony Hotel

Symphony Hotel currently offers nine rooms for guests, and they are referred to by names rather than by numbers: Schubert, Bach, Rachmaninoff, Mahler, Beech, Copland, Brahms, Mozart and Beethoven. Each room is filled with decorations and memorabilia appropriate to that particular composer. Rooms are furnished with antiques, and the beds have memory foam mattresses and cotton sheets. Guests receive free wireless internet and TVs come with complimentary DirecTV. Rooms contain a hairdryer, plush bathrobes, bottled waters, sleep masks, and complimentary snacks, which include a daily Symphony candy bar.

Room rates include a continental breakfast on the weekdays and a full gourmet breakfast on the weekends.

In the coming months, the back parking lot will be converted into six more guest rooms, including a handicapped-accessible accommodation and an elevator.

In-house restaurant serving five-course dinners

A view of one room in the Symphony Hotel Restaurant

The Symphony Hotel Restaurant is open to the public for dinner on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and for brunch on Sundays from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. Three- and five-course dinners are offered and are particularly popular with those who are attending a performance in one of the venues within walking distance. Tables in the restaurant all have different themes. One is for the Cincinnati May Festival (a two-week choral event held every year), another for the opera, and still another has a baseball theme in honor of the carpenter who made all the tables. Vintage glassware from the 60’s and 70’s plus mismatched china convey the colorful, eclectic setting and atmosphere.

A bar and lounge on the first floor of the hotel hosts live jazz musicians on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights to be enjoyed by the public as well as hotel guests.

Location is a key to success

Washington Park with Cincinnati Music Hall in the background

The Cincinnati streetcar system, now known as the Cincinnati Bell Connector, opened for passengers in September of 2016. Stop #8 at 14th and Elm is only a half a block from Symphony Hotel, effectively connecting its guests to the attractions from sports stadiums and parks on the Ohio River to Findlay Market for only a couple of dollars. Imagine not having to fight the crowds or search for a parking place to a Reds baseball game or a Bengals football game. Washington Park is beside the Connector stop and is a beautifully-landscaped spot for walking or for people-watching. Findlay Market houses more than forty indoor merchants selling foods of every description from meats to produce and cheese. On weekends from April to November, a farmers’ market is in full swing, in addition to many other outdoor vendors and street performers. It attracts more than a million visitors a year.

Vine Street is two blocks away from the hotel and is home to many restaurants and shops. A particularly unique one is The Eagle, located in a historic post office. Plan to sample the fried chicken and the spoonbread (a cross between cornbread and cake). Both are exceptionally good.

Across the street is Cincinnati Music Hall and within just a few more blocks, more cultural entertainment opportunities can be found. The Symphony Hotel has the good fortune to be in the middle of all the Cincinnati action.

An interesting, comfortable, convenient hotel loaded with personality

Symphony Hotel is a perfect reflection of the present vibe in the city of Cincinnati. It is brimming with history and charisma. The rooms are visually interesting and physically comfortable. And, the location can’t be beat.

Charles Dickens once described Cincinnati as “a beautiful city; cheerful, thriving, and animated.” I believe those are still accurate words to describe it, and the Symphony Hotel will give visitors a great launching place for discovering what Cincinnati has to offer.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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