If you find yourself visiting Purdue University and looking for a boutique hotel in Lafayette, owned and operated by two Purdue alums, you’ll want to check out The Whittaker Inn.
Or if you’re in Chicago or Indianapolis and want to get away for a relaxing weekend, head to West Lafayette, Indiana and check out The Whittaker Inn.
Or, if you want to find inspiration for your next travel adventure, yes, you need to check out The Whittaker Inn.
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The Whittaker Inn, a Boutique Hotel in Lafayette, Ind.
As we were getting out of the car, Elizabeth Whittaker stepped out to greet us. Elizabeth is a homegrown Indiana girl who went to Purdue and met the love of her life.
It might have been his tall, lanky frame, or his skill as a talented chef. But I’m sure Andrew’s British accent sealed the deal for Elizabeth. Yes, girls, Andrew is from the U.K. Who among us doesn’t love a British accent?!
So Andrew and Elizabeth graduated from Purdue’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, then set off to New York to master their craft.
And slowly the vision of The Whittaker Inn began to develop.
Opening a Contemporary, Boutique Hotel in Indiana
Each of the 15 guest rooms at this boutique hotel in Lafayette has a distinct design and decor, all reflecting the Whittakers’ passion for travel and a quality hotel experience.
We stayed in the Indiana Suite, which celebrates Elizabeth’s passion for her home state and all things family. A honey-combed shape table is a nod to her grandfather’s work with honeybees. A handmade quilt features her grandmother’s favorite pattern.
And then there’s a bag of Indiana popcorn and Lafayette’s home brew — Triple XXX Root Beer — for guests to enjoy.
Now I would never encourage anyone to steal from their hotel room, but it took serious restraint not to stuff the fuzzy, fluffy bathrobes in our luggage as we left.
The Whittakers devoted another room to New York, because that’s where they lived for nearly 20 years.
Another room is the French Room, because they spent one anniversary in Paris.
The Australia room is dedicated to one of their dream destinations.
There’s a room devoted to Brazil and the Amazon Rain Forest, but Elizabeth warns that you should be a fan of green to spend much time there. Andrew’s heritage is reflected in the British suite. Another room is devoted to China, another to Greece, and really anywhere in the world you want to go.
Indiana Artists and Crafts People at The Whittaker Inn
During the permit and construction phase, Elizabeth and her mother kept busy searching for just the right fabric for headboards, the ideal rugs, accent pieces and artwork on the walls. Much of the artwork comes from local artists. Family and friends created other pieces.
They drove more than 35,000 miles throughout Indiana and the Midwest seeking local artisans and boutiques for quality pieces that would distinguish The Whittaker Inn from any other hotel in the country
Fortunately, it was mid-week when we arrived and Elizabeth wasn’t too busy. She took us on a tour, pointing out little details here and there that reinforces the passion she has for this business. I hope that when you visit, she’ll be able to show you around as well.
Would you look at this Indiana-shaped table? It’s cut from one big slab of white birch, created by a local craft person. Guests can play games, work on their laptops or just gather for conversation in this little room.
Another room includes Elizabeth’s father’s billiards table.
One thing you’ll find in every room is the book “Keep Curious and Carry a Banana.” Apparently Andrew has a collection of monkeys – like 3,000 or so. He wanted to put a monkey in every room. Elizabeth was having none of it, but she’s a fan of the Curious George series. So the compromise is this delightful book and the wisdom it offers guests.
Dining at The Whittaker Inn in Lafayette, Indiana
The Whittaker Inn serves a fabulous breakfast. Guests may choose from a buffet or order from a menu where eggs and other goodies are cooked to order. Did I mention the guest kitchen located on each floor? It’s filled with cookies, fruit, juices, soft drinks and other goodies for a midnight snack. And, Pam places freshly baked cookies in your room with turn down service.
With Andrew serving as a chef, The Whittaker provides dinner by appointment only. But we had heard about a couple of fun local restaurants, so we drove about 10 minutes to downtown Lafayette.
Where to Eat in Lafayette, Indiana
Bruno’s Swiss Inn is a fun pizza place owned by a local family that immigrated from Switzerland. One room is filled with sports memorabilia from Purdue and local sports teams, but the other room is authentically Swiss. Cow bells, cuckoo clocks and leiderhosen fill these walls.
In addition to pizza, salads and sandwiches, the menu includes wienerschitzel, knackwurst and bratwurst.
It’s an odd combination, but the international flair was fabulous. And the third generation of Bruno’s family was working the night we visited. We loved it.
Then, we wanted to check out a pub next door called Nine Irish Brothers. If I have the story correct, the owner’s father was one of nine boys in a family that immigrated from County Cork in the 1890s. The family, being good Irish Catholics, included five girls, so the bar is dedicated to them.
While I sipped on an Irish coffee and Bruce enjoyed a pint of Guinness, we watched a clock count down the days, minutes and seconds until St. Patrick’s Day. We also tried to eavesdrop on a conversation at the table next to us. The accent was most definitely Irish. And the bangers and mash coming from the kitchen were as authentic as that we’ve had in Ireland.
So, as I said at the beginning, when you need some inspiration for your next getaway, make that getaway to Lafayette Indiana, home of Purdue.