If you have a soft spot for life-size red penguins standing guard outside your hotel window, boy do I have the perfect getaway for you. Located in the heart of Louisville, Kentucky’s, historic downtown, 21c Museum Hotel is part boutique hotel, part contemporary art museum, and about as unique as the iconic red penguins that grace their property.
On a recent weekend getaway, I was utterly charmed by this one-of-a-kind property. Founded in 2006 by philanthropists and contemporary art collectors Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson, 21c is a testament to the value add of putting 21st Century art into every day life. The free of charge 9,000-square-foot museum offers rotating exhibits and installations from living artists, making 21c a true cultural mecca to both locals and tourists alike. I love how the art isn’t contained to a singular gallery, rather intertwined within the entire hotel, ensuring you get the full immersion experience.
The rooms are just as impressive as the museum itself. A fluffy feather duvet, work space with tons of sunlight, and plush bathrobes assured a comfortable and functional stay. On the corner of my bathroom tub smiled a little yellow rubber ducky, and placed on my pillow every night was artfully presented artesian chocolates. It’s thoughtful touches like these that make the occasional southern weekend getaway so very necessary. You just don’t get hospitality with a smile like this in NYC.
Another amazing highlight of 21c is their restaurant, Proof on Main. Through partnerships with Brown and Wilson’s farm,Woodland Farm, the menu offers heritage foods straight from farm to table. I started with the Warm Ricotta cheese sauce, combining just the right amounts of oregano, horseradish and truffle oil to make your mouth explode into a whole lotta happy. My main course was the Ricotta Gnocchi (what can I say? I LOVE cheese!), blending candy cane beets, heirloom carrots and wild mushrooms to create the perfect combination of local flavors with just the right amount of foodie flair. My compliments go to Executive Chef Levon Wallace, as I’m already anxiously anticipating my return to cheese-lover’s paradise. Actually, make that cheese, comfort, contemporary art, AND cute penguin lover’s paradise. No wonder they call Louisville “Possibility City”.
Know Before You Go
-The museum is free, and is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
-Located in such a central downtown location, most major museums and tourist attractions can be reached on foot. There’s plenty of restaurants and shopping within walking distance as well, so a car is really not necessary.
-Make sure to stop by the ground level men’s bathroom. It gives a whole new meaning to one-way-windows.
-Free wireless internet is available in your room and throughout the property.
For more information on reservations and rates, please visit 21c’s website.WHERE: 21c Hotel Museum 700 West Main Street Louisville, Kentucky Ph. 502.217.6300