Mike Smith Galt House Hotel Derby

From sport royalty to reality show recognition - Louisville is a playground for celebrity VIPs the first weekend in May.

By Kayla Harper, CHSP, CTA

From sport royalty to reality show recognition – Louisville is a playground for celebrity VIPs the first weekend in May. But most VIP faces are not known to anyone except the staff. Here is what happens when you are marked as a VIP at the Galt House.

DO NOT Make an Entrance

It may seem ironic that an individual would work so hard to be recognized then do their best to sneak into a hotel. But that is exactly what happens. Many VIPs arrive at odd times to avoid crowds and often have an assistant check them in while they rush to their room accompanied by security. While many celebrities do not mind signing an autograph or taking a selfie in the Galt House lobby, they prefer to do this when they are ready for the public, not after a long flight. As a frequent traveler, this is something I can certainly appreciate.

In-Room Amenities 

While celebrities get the red carpet treatment at the galas and events, it is the less well-known decision makers that often get the special in-room amenities. An extra amenities, such as a handwritten thank you or gift, are simple ways to let VIPs know that we appreciate their business. Rooms are also double, sometimes triple, inspected by housekeeping and sales staff to make sure everything detail is exactly as it should be.


“Shuttle” is a dirty word when you’re a VIP. Most non-celebrity VIPs ride in style in private cars that line up at the lobby entrance while recognizable celebrities receive special parking permits and often have assistance from local police when making their way in and out of a separate parking entrance. Transportation to and from the hotel is a major job for transport company logistics and our team does its best to make sure things move smoothly.

Photos with the Public vs. Avoiding the Lobby

Many recognizable VIPs are open to snapping pics with fans in the lobby on their way to and from the Derby. Others prefer to keep to themselves. The Galt House has a strict policy that staff play it cool – in other words no loitering in the lobby to wait for a pic or approaching any VIP for a picture or an autograph.

In hospitality we like to say “every guest is a VIP” while that’s true, there are those who expect more from their travel experience. It’s my team’s job to provide that something special. The Derby weekend is a whole lot of special and with so much new at our hotel, 2020 is bound to be more exciting than ever.

Derby 2020 packages are now available at the Galt. Click here for more info.