21c Museum Hotel puts the art in artful hospitality

21c Museum Hotel
700 W. Main St., Louisville, Ken.
502-217-6300, 21cmuseumhotels.com/louisville/

The Pitch  Concerned by the development that was threatening rural Kentucky, preservationists and contemporary art collectors Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson built the 21c Museum Hotel as an homage to the region’s roots. The pair partnered with world-renowned architect Deborah Berke to reimagine a cluster of 19th-century tobacco and bourbon warehouses along downtown Louisville’s West Main Street into a 91-room boutique hotel and gallery. The result is Southern hospitality with a side of culture, and irreverent surprises throughout the space. Eyes in the mirror blink back at you while you wash your hands. Letters fall all over your head while waiting for the elevators. Red penguins, the hotel’s mascot, find their way into the most curious places (like your room, for example).

What We Love The rooms are spacious and sleek, with luxurious linens, touches of exposed brick and coveted Malin+Goetz toiletries. Plus, in addition to housing a world-class contemporary gallery, 21c is home to some of the best cocktails and forward-thinking food in Louisville at Proof on Main. Whether you’re winding up or  down for the night, there will be something interesting — like a performance art installation in its lobby, as when I arrived — happening at 21c.

Don’t Miss  The free-of-charge, 24-hour public contemporary art gallery that spans more than 9,000 square feet and is adjacent to the hotel. 21c collaborates with cultural institutions around the world, including the MASS Moca, The Barnes Foundation, Creative Capital Foundation and more to bring in exceptional pieces. You will stumble upon incredible exhibitions and installations, perhaps a live performance or even the chance to practice yoga in the space.

Rooms from US$369 a night

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