The Braille Monitor April 2005
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by Kevin Pearl
From the Editor: Kevin Pearl has served on the board of the NFB of Greater Louisville and as president of the NFB of Kentucky Computer Users Division. In the following article he outlines some of the changes in the Galt House since we were last in Louisville. For a more detailed description of the Galt House, most of which is unchanged, consult the May 2003 Braille Monitor. But this is what Kevin has to say about what's new and different:
As I write this article, it is snowing here in Kentucky. So I can't help looking forward to the summer weather and another convention of the National Federation of the Blind here in Louisville. Some exciting additions have been made to downtown Louisville as well as to the Galt House. In both the East and West Towers escalators now connect the first, second, and third floors. In each lobby you need only walk through the main door and make an immediate left turn to reach the up escalator. The staircases and elevators are still where they were on the lobby level. However, in the East Tower the staircase between the second and third floors has been replaced by the new escalator.
You may remember the indoor and outdoor pedestrian walkways that connected the East and West Towers on the third-floor level. These were separated by a storage area. They have removed the storage space, opened the entire width of the walkway, and made it a beautiful, open area called the Conservatory. It's no longer just a way to connect East and West. The roof and walls are all glass. It's modeled after the Crystal Palace in London. You'll find an aviary; beautiful foliage; a raised bar area along the north wall, facing the Ohio River; and lots of seating areas for socializing. Be sure and stop by Thelma's for a quick bite. It's located at the west end of the Conservatory.
Many of you will be happy to learn about Club 360. This is the new fitness center that has just opened atop the East Tower of the Galt House on the eighteenth floor. There you will find trained professionals, top notch equipment, and a wonderful panoramic view of the Ohio River.
The newly renovated lobby of the West Tower
Another addition is the new pedestrian walkway connecting the Galt House, Kentucky Commonwealth Convention Center, Hyatt Regency, and 4th Street Live! This is not a straight shot, but if you are motivated to avoid the heat and humidity of Kentucky in July, this might be an option for walking to one of these destinations. Cross from the West Tower to the East Tower. If you are at ground level, take the East Tower elevator or escalator to the third floor. At the east entrance of the Conservatory, turn south and follow the hallway. You are now walking parallel to Fourth Avenue on its east side. At the end of the hall you will be forced to turn left. Then take the second right turn. The hallway will turn left and then right again very quickly. Go through the doors at the end of that hall, and you'll be crossing over Main and Market Streets and into the Convention Center. Once there, you'll have to take either an escalator or elevator on your right to the main floor. Continue south (you'll pass Starbucks Coffee on your right). Cross the lobby and take the elevator or escalator back to the second floor and continue south through the doorway. You are now crossing Jefferson Street and entering the Hyatt Regency. Circle left or right around the Hyatt's atrium and continue through the doors. You are now crossing Liberty Street. On the left is a seating area, and on the right is office space.
Continue to the end of the hall, go through the glass doors, and enter the food court of 4th Street Live! Personally I find the walk down Fourth a much simpler path, but this indoor route is always a possibility. Another option is the Transit Authority of River City (TARC) trolley.
Now for some general information about the Galt House Hotel and Suites. There are over 1,300 rooms from which to choose. The East Tower has six hundred suites, more than any hotel outside of Las Vegas. The East Tower has eighteen floors, and the West Tower has twenty-five. If you are using a cab, you can just tell the driver Galt House East or Galt House West. The hotel straddles Fourth Avenue. Main Street is to the south, and River Road is to the north.
Here are some tips for getting around inside the hotel. In the East Tower: The main entrance has revolving doors with adjacent standard doors on either side. As you enter these doors, you are in the lobby, facing east. Immediately to your left is an escalator leading to the second and third floors. To your right are meeting rooms and restrooms. Directly ahead is the front desk. An information desk is to the left, before you reach the main desk. To the left of the front desk is a bank of elevators. To the right are stairs leading to the second floor.
The West Tower: As you enter the automatic doors, you can turn left to find the escalator to the second and third floors. To your right is a small seating area. Directly ahead is an entrance to the parking structure. Before you reach that entrance, there are elevators on your right and an information desk on your left. On the second floor you will find new retail spaces adjacent to the escalators. The West Tower contains most of the facility's dining options. The River Grill is located on the northern end of the main hall. The prices are moderate, and it's suitable for families. On the way to the River Grill on your left is the Galt House's liquor store. The selection isn't wide and the prices are what you would expect to pay in a nice hotel.
The Flagship is an upscale revolving restaurant located on the twenty-fifth floor. Exit the elevator and follow the wall to your left. To the right are restrooms, to the left is a short ramp going up. At the end of the ramp on your left is the Flagship. The English Tavern is located on the third floor, just west of the elevators. This is a small out-of-the-way place to have a sandwich. There are no outside windows, and the lighting is dim. It has a large screen TV for sports fans and is open through the early evening.
The overflow hotel is the Hyatt at 320 W. Jefferson Street, phone number, (502) 587-3434. If you arrive by taxi at the Hyatt, you will turn into the hotel driveway from West Jefferson, which runs east/west. The entrance faces east, and you enter a short hallway going west. At the end of the hall you will enter what can best be described as a circular lobby. Make a right, continuing counterclockwise around the circle. You will find a bank of telephones on your right and the elevators on your left. They and the escalators stand in the central area of the lobby, which includes an atrium that the upper floors overlook. In the lobby the front desk is just past the phones on your right, across from the elevator doors.
If you enter the hotel through the Fourth Avenue door, you are walking east and will step immediately into the circular lobby. If you walk straight ahead from this door, you will step onto the escalator to the second floor. Just a few feet inside the door and to your left is the Trellis Café, a full service restaurant featuring American cuisine and open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Pepper's Bar is located at the Fourth Avenue end of the building on the second floor, directly above the Trellis. Turn left at the top of the escalator. When you reach the bank of elevators, turn left again, and there is Pepper's.
Returning to the first floor and continuing clockwise around the circular lobby, past the Trellis, you will reach the front desk. When you face the front desk, the elevators will be directly behind you. When standing at the front desk, you can turn right, continuing clockwise around the circle to find the hotel gift shop. It is just after the bank of phones and the hallway from the West Jefferson entrance.
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