This week found me in Louisville on a last-minute assignment for my very favorite magazine. How is it that I grew up just three-and-a-half hours south of the vibrant Kentucky city and am only now visiting three days shy of my 30th birthday? Blasphemy. Moving back to the South a year ago has introduced me to so many cool destinations not far from home.
I promise to share a full-on city summary when the magazine issue comes out this summer, but for now, I’d love to tell you about Louisville’s most stylish lodging experience: 21c Museum Hotel.
I’m not sure where I’ve been—clearly not reading Conde Nast Traveler, I suppose—as this hotel opened in 2006 and is on the Gold List, plus CNT’s rankings of 10 tops hotels in the world for three years running. And I only heard about it as my good friend who works at Jack Daniels went there for work last week.
I checked rates, and it was far higher than I could justify trying to expense to the magazine (in the high $200 range), but my friend was able to get me a killer corporate rate, and so I checked into 21c for the evening.
First off, I couldn’t get over how nice everyone was. Sometimes on assignment, the hotel staff knows you’re coming and so you wonder if they’re only be accommodating because they know you’re a journalist.
This was not the case at 21c, as I’m not writing about the hotel for my magazine assignment (though now I’d love to write about them elsewhere), nor did they know what I do for a living. They were just friendly and adorable, from the valet guys to the check-in staff to the bartender, a refreshing change from my experience at the Grand Bohemian Asheville earlier in the week.
The hotel says right on its website that it’s all about “redefining the art of modern Southern hospitality,” which is more or less my motto in life (“be kind to everyone) and that’s why we got along like a house on fire.
I arrived in my room on the fourth floor to find it very minimal. At first, this surprised me. But then I appreciated the fact that the hotel didn’t feel it needed to be overly flashy in order to impress.
I loved all the small details, like a mint julep kit in the room, these fantastic bath products (with cilantro, rum, peppermint and other odd scents) and a rubber ducky in the tub (taking me back to my childhood obsession with Ernie!).
21c Hotels just opened a new property in Bentonville—I know…what? why there?—and while Arkansas has never ranked high on my to-travel list, I would totally plan a weekend there just to see the new digs.
All shots taken with my new GoPro HD Hero 2 (I upgraded! finally!), which has proven awesome for shooting hotel interiors and scouting for magazine editors without others knowing what I’m doing!