In a world of boring black suitcases, the Vera Bradley brand of luggage stands out. To say that this American travel company is anything but cookie-cutter would be an understatement. Famed for its French Provençal-inspired prints, Vera Bradley’s quilted backpacks, totes, duffles, handbags, and accessories feature paisley and floral fabrics in an eye-popping array of colors. Their cheerful designs are practically guaranteed to put a spring in your step (and save your sanity at the airport luggage belt). And now, there’s a new hotel that’s a must-see for Vera Bradley fans – and they’re going to love it.
What exactly makes the Vera Bradley brand so beloved by travelers? I, for one, love its captivating, cheerful, colorful designs. But it’s more than that. Having one of their products is like having a bit of sunshine on your side even on the dreariest travel days. And I’m not the only one who appreciates the brand’s coziness. Travel writer and photographer Robin Tierney sums up a lot of people’s feelings when she says:
“As a highly energetic spirit who travels frequently for my writing and photography gigs, I have found Vera Bradley designs to be pleasantly therapeutic. I can visually trace her graphics while telling myself to breathe and relax. Looking at the intricate graphics on my VB duffel bag has even helped calm me when confronting plane/train delays and cancellations.”
The Bradley is Fort Wayne’s first boutique hotel and is a collaboration between Vera Bradley co-founder Barbara Bradley Baekgaard and Provenance Hotels. Located in Fort Wayne’s The Landing neighborhood, the property is very much at home among the cute cafes, funky shops, and outdoor activities offered at the nearby waterfront. Plus, Vera Bradley headquarters is also in the city, making Fort Wayne the perfect location to launch this hotel.
Here’s what fans of the brand can expect when they visit.
You Can Go All-In When It Comes To Design
If you’re a Vera Bradley mega fan or someone who loves unique hotel rooms, you’ll be interested in booking in one of the property’s nine specialty suites.
Seven of the specialty suites have been curated by Barbara Bradley Baekgaard and are designed to feel like they’re a room within her own home. Guests can expect colors like red, indigo, canary yellow, and green, plus lots of patterned fabric in the upholstery. The other two suites were curated by Provenance CEO Katherine Durant and reflect her Oregan roots and love of equestrian sports. You can expect some toned-down color, leather accents, and rich wood. No matter what you choose, these rooms are anything but standard issue (just like their luggage!).
You Can Also Expect Some Subdued Sights
Aside from the suites, there is a mix of more than 100 king and double queen rooms. While much more colorful than your usual hotel (think blue walls and bright yellow accent chairs), these standard rooms are on the subdued side. Bradley fans will still get a kick out of the floral upholstered headboards and funky wallpaper features, while those who are new to the brand will appreciate the plush touches of staying in a boutique property (like gorgeous rainfall style showers).
It’s All About The Art
The Vera Bradley team aren’t the only ones experimenting with color, shape, and materials. The hotel turned to local artist Julie Wall of HEDGE studios to create custom letterpress prints of indigenous botanicals. Her work has been installed in all the standard guest rooms to add a touch of artistic flair. In describing her work for the hotel, Hall says:
“The botanical bouquets are comprised of locally found plants. They can be commonly seen throughout our area and some are typically overlooked but always stand out to me with their unique patterns and leaf forms. I wanted to create dynamic pieces while using one color to help keep them clean and classic while still playing off the Vera Bradley patterns known to so many hotel visitors.”
Meanwhile, work from artist Theoplis Smith III (also known as Phresh Laundry) and the Purdue University Fort Wayne Department of Art and Design can be found in the building’s public spaces.
Local Drinks Shine
Fort Wayne’s own indie coffee roaster, Utopian Coffee, features heavily at The Bradley’s in-house restaurant, Arbor. Meanwhile, another local fav, The Landing Beer Co, is stocked in the guest room mini-bars. The brewery created the Bradley Brew just for the hotel. Meanwhile, canned cocktails from the Blommington-based Cardinal Spirits, round out the local offerings. While there, be sure to visit the rooftop Birdie’s Rooftop Bar. The Three Rivers cocktail (made with St. Germain, fresh mint, and Cremant de Limoux) is a tribute to the three rivers which meet in the city (the St. Joseph River, St. Mary’s River, and Maumee River).
Guests Enjoy Unique Amenities
Pets are welcomed at this hotel (with a $25 fee) with their own bed, bowls, a toy, a treat, and a list of local pet resources (for the pet parents, of course). Plus, The Bradley offers a feature you may not have heard of before: a spiritual room service menu. They have a diverse library of spiritual texts from different faiths that you can have delivered directly to your room.
Check out the wallpaper in the women’s restroom. It features the state flower (a peony), the state bird (a cardinal), and the Fort Wayne skyline. Best of all, the pattern has been turned into a Vera Bradley bag – one that will only be sold at the hotel.