The Bradley: Comfort & Elegance in Fort Wayne Indiana

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On my last trip to Fort Wayne, not only did I get to stay overnight at The Bradley, but I also had the opportunity to enjoy drinks and appetizers with one of the founders of Vera Bradley, Barbara Bradley Baekgaard. I couldn’t have been more lucky to enjoy an amazing stay as well as learn more about the history of Vera Bradley and the Bradley Hotel.

The Bradley perfectly exemplifies much of what makes Vera Bradley such a successful brand. The hotel exudes beauty and warmth, just like the products made by the company. And for the many Vera Bradley fans in the city (along with the thousands that visit each year for the annual sale), the hotel has created an ideal base for enjoying all that Fort Wayne Indiana has to offer.

The outside of The Bradley

Thanks to Visit Fort Wayne for hosting a wonderful stay in the city, including a night at the gorgeous Bradley. All thoughts and opinions are 100% mine.

History of The Bradley in Fort Wayne Indiana

The Bradley Hotel, located in the heart of downtown Fort Wayne, Indiana, is a relatively new addition to the city’s hotel scene, having opened its doors in July 2021. The hotel is a result of a collaboration between Provenance Hotels and Barbara Bradley Baekgaard, co-founder of the iconic lifestyle brand Vera Bradley. The hotel is named after Baekgaard’s mother, Alberta Bradley.

Barbara Bradley Baekgaard played a pivotal role in the hotel’s design, ensuring that it reflects her personal style and the excitement of Fort Wayne. During my conversation with her, when I asked her why she created the Bradley, she stated that she was simply filling a need – there wasn’t a place in Fort Wayne with the beauty and casual elegance that the Bradley eventually brought to the city.

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Where is The Bradley Located?

The Bradley has a fantastic location in downtown Fort Wayne. For fabulous dining, The Landing is only a few blocks away, or you can stay closer to the hotel and indulge in one of the city’s iconic spots such as Coney Island.

It’s a short walk to the Fort Wayne Museum of Art as well as the Auer Center for Arts & Culture. Or, head a couple blocks south and you’ll arrive at the Embassy Theater or the Botanical Gardens. We found on our last stay that for much of the trip, we could just leave the car with the valet and hit most of the Fort Wayne attractions on food. So it is super conveniently located!

Lobby of the Bradley hotel in Fort Wayne, Indiana

First Impressions of The Bradley

As soon as you pull up to the Bradley, it’s apparent that this is a special hotel. Every detail is well thought out – from the bicycles and umbrellas available to use in the entryway to the sumptuous seating area in front of registration.

As expected, the service is professional, friendly, and efficient. When we arrived, we were quickly checked in and our rooms were ready. The elevator is conveniently located on one side of the lobby and the beautiful Arbor restaurant is on the other.

I especially loved the beautiful bar area in the Arbor. The side facing the lobby served upscale coffee and simple baked treats while the back side of the bar area is a gorgeous bar with ample seating for cocktails and appetizers.

Seating in the Arbor

The Bradley Hotel Review: Food Options

Even though Fort Wayne has plenty of amazing restaurants, The Bradley boasts two of the best, so if the weather is iffy there is no need to leave the hotel – you’ll have a wonderful experience onsite.


As soon as you enter The Bradley you’ll see the Arbor. This lovely restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It has indoor and outdoor seating and several nights a week live music!

The food is Italian-inspired with a Midwestern flair. And the drinks are fun & innovative. Although I didn’t enjoy a full meal on my last visit, I did spend a delightful hour at the bar partaking in drinks and appetizers.

Prices range from $18ish for pasta to $41 for steak. So not bad for an upscale hotel restaurant experience.

drinks at Birdie's in the Bradley


I absolutely loved Birdie’s. As a huge fan of rooftop bars, this was one of my favorite stops on my last Fort Wayne visit. In fact, I enjoyed it so much I visited twice! Birdie’s has a gorgeous view of downtown Fort Wayne and plenty of indoor and outdoor seating.

The drinks are so much fun too! I indulged in the Drink Flamingo which was served in a fun cup with a jello shot on top. We sat outside in the fresh air until it started to rain and then moved just inside so we were out of the rain but still able to enjoy the view.

The food at Birdie’s leans more towards small plates and appetizers plus they have frequent specials. Although the restaurant feels fancy, it’s still much more casual than the Arbor with laid-back seating and even firepits.

Insider tip: Birdie’s is only open in the evening most nights (although it does open at 3 on Sundays), so don’t plan on visiting for lunch!

room at The Bradley in Fort Wayne Indiana

What Makes The Bradley Special

I’ve stayed in many hotels through the years and can truthfully say that the Bradley is quite special. The impeccable taste and attention to detail are apparent in the furnishings, dining, and friendliness of the staff. The Bradley Hotel stands out in Fort Wayne’s hospitality scene due to its unique blend of personal touches, modern luxury, and local charm.

The Bradley Hotel also has a distinct design influence that sets it apart from typical chain hotels. Each room and common area is thoughtfully curated, featuring a mix of contemporary and classic elements that reflect Baekgaard’s personal style. This attention to detail ensures that guests feel both pampered and at home, experiencing a touch of Fort Wayne’s vibrant spirit in every corner of the hotel.

Moreover, The Bradley excels in offering a personalized guest experience. I found that the staff’s hospitality and attention to detail ensures that every guest’s stay is memorable. Whether it’s through personalized recommendations for exploring Fort Wayne or accommodating special requests with a smile, the team at The Bradley goes above and beyond to make visitors feel welcome.

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Barbara Bradley Baekgaard and Pam Howard at Arbor in The Bradley

Conclusion: The Bradley Hotel in Fort Wayne Indiana

My recent stay at The Bradley Hotel in Fort Wayne was nothing short of exceptional. Not only did I enjoy the comfort and elegance of the hotel, but I also had the unique opportunity to chat with Barbara Bradley Baekgaard, one of the founders of Vera Bradley. This experience deepened my appreciation for the hotel’s design and the personal touches that make it special.

The Bradley exemplifies what makes Vera Bradley such a beloved brand – beauty, warmth, and a welcoming atmosphere. For the many Vera Bradley fans who visit Fort Wayne, particularly during the annual sale, The Bradley offers an ideal base to explore the city. Its prime location in downtown Fort Wayne allows easy access to local attractions, dining, and entertainment, making it perfect for your next weekend getaway.


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