An artistic stay at a unique new property that's part boutique hotel, part art museumThe intriguing and even provocative artwork hanging or standing throughout the property
The brand-new hotel itself, located in a historic sksycraper by McKim, Mead & White
The location in downtown Lexington, whose cultural scene is on the rise
What To Know
Opened in February 2016
Lockbox restaurant serves up seasonal, locavore dishes
The brand-new property is still perfecting its service; there may be some staff hiccups in the meantime
A spacious room or suite at a brand-new boutique hotel with its own contemporary art museum
21c Museum Hotel Lexington has refined hospitality to an art – or rather, lots of it. A perfect addition to its city, which houses a slew of galleries and a renowned ballet company, this brand-new stay is both a boutique hotel and a contemporary gallery itself. Contemporary art appoints every room or public space; it’s as cutting-edge as what you’ll find in cities like Louisville and Cincinnati, whose 21c hotels have fast become TripAdvisor and Condé Nast Traveler favorites.
The collection is curated by a seasoned art-world pro, but it got its sharp redesign by high-profile Deborah Berke Partners. Before that, it was a bank, in a 1914 skyscraper (Lexington’s first) by McKim, Mead & White – the architects behind the Columbia University campus. Old-fashioned details still abound here, and you’ll see them as you explore. Swing by Lockbox restaurant, which retains some of its original marble and plasterwork, and realize you're not just among works of art – you're in one.
Rooms and suites
Your 21c abode is well-stocked, with a sleek Nespresso coffee machine, a 43-in. flat-screen HDTV and bath amenities by MALIN + GOETZ. But all this is secondary to the real star of the show – the original artwork sharing the space. Choose between a spacious Corner King room of 427 square feet, with lots of natural light from windows with two exposures, and a 686-square-foot, one-bedroom Deluxe suite, which also holds a living and dining area, a double vanity and a second TV.
Lockbox serves dinner and dessert under the direction of Executive Chef Jonathan Searle, drawing from the flavors and ingredients of surrounding Kentucky. Menus are seasonal, but a sample meal might feature Kentucky silver catp with toasted farro or a roasted-cauliflower soup with brown butter. Dessert options include the olive-oil cake with blood-orange curd and pistachio ice cream, with select liquors and wines available for pairings.It all happens in a space as sleek and sharp as the rest of the hotel, designed by award-winning Deborah Berke Partners, with original marble flooring and decorative plaster from its origins as Lexington’s first skyscraper. And yes, there are art exhibitions on rotation here, too.
Downtown Lexington is on the rise (not least because of this hotel), but its evolving cultural scene stands on a solid foundation. This city has offered a variety of dance-related offerings, musical acts and modern-art galleries for years, and there’s some impressive street art to see, as well. Of course, it’s horses that are Lexington’s most famous draw, so make sure to learn about them at Keeneland Race Course, depending on the season, or the popular museum dedicated to the native American Saddlebred. Other highlights include sprawling estates and historic sites in the area, such as Mary Todd Lincoln’s childhood home.