Our stop in Louisville, KY introduced us to the 21c Museum Hotel - a fabulous find along our coast-to-coast road trip. It's part hotel and part contemporary art museum, which gives it just the right touch of modern quirkiness and classy yet comfortable Southern decor for a unique boutique hotel experience. I've sung the praises of the 21c Hotel ever since our visit, and now recommend our friends visiting Louisville stay there.
The hotel's located a block from the Louisville Slugger Factory and Museum, and is on West Main Street within walking distance of several restaurants along Kentucky's Museum Row, allowing ample opportunity to take in some of the amazing historical architecture and local street art.
Once inside the lobby, you know that you've arrived at a special hotel. Here's a stylistic view that I shared on Instagram when we visited:
Even the lobby bathrooms are a part of the interesting ambiance, often in the running for best bathroom contests. The waiting area by the elevators offers delightful interactivity with a video screen of falling letters and shadows of people waiting. The creative art doesn't stay hidden within the hotel, but is shared on the street outside, as you can see with the installation on the corner of the hotel, The Raft.
Because of the at-times mature nature of contemporary art, the environment may not be ideal for all families visiting with younger children. We regularly visit art museums and felt comfortable with our son seeing the gallery of art. If you're concerned about your kids seeing nude statues or modern art, call first to inquire about the current art exhibits before visiting. You can avoid the gallery during your stay and enjoy the lobby bathrooms, interactive elevator display, red penguins and more that were completely in the realm of a "G" for general audiences rating.
The front desk staffers were friendly and full of suggestions for us, and the doormen were great as well. The nice thing was that we found a parking spot just outside the hotel and enjoyed free parking!
Of course, after we booked our room, a little research showed that we shouldn't have been so surprised by our experience as the hotel has been lauded by Travel & Leisure Magazine and others as one of the best hotels to visit. How fortunate were we to have stumbled upon it? The exciting news is that they're expanding and opening soon in Cincinnati, Ohio (later in 2012) and Bentonville, Arkansas (2013) and Austin, Texas. :-D