21c Museum Hotel Durham
What We Love
- Located in the landmark Hill Building, a 1930s Art Deco icon in downtown Durham
- Chef Josh Munchel’s Counting House restaurant serves a regionally inspired seasonal menu of North Carolina classics
- 21c’s signature art focus, with 10,500 square feet of gallery space and rotating exhibitions by famous artists
What To Know
- The property, the fourth outpost of the 21c chain, opened on March 16, 2015
- 21c Museum Hotels are designed to cater to the local community as well as to guests, so there’s a buzzy atmosphere in the lobby, gallery and Counting House restaurant
- Mod cons such as flat-screen TVs, Nespresso coffeemakers and Malin + Goetz bath amenities
- Free WiFi
- Free WiFi
- Handicap Accessible
- Parking On Site
- Room Service
The fourth property in the trailblazing, art-focused 21c Museum Hotels group, this brand new 125-room boutique sleep occupies the landmark Hill Building in the heart of downtown Durham. Designed in the 1930s by the architects behind the Empire State Building, the building mixes thoughtfully restored Art Deco details with a sleek modern style by Deborah Berke Partners. Expect original terrazzo floors in the lobby, arched windows in the regionally inspired Counting House restaurant, and hints of green marble and silver leaf on the walls and ceilings in the public spaces. The guestrooms range from a cozy 300 square feet to apartment-size spaces all done up in a modern white-on-gray palette with pops of color in the original artworks and 21c’s signature fuchsia penguin mascots. All rooms are kitted out with flat-screen TVs, Nespresso coffeemakers and Malin + Goetz amenities in the bathrooms. There’s a fitness center for a workout fix, a small spa for a dose of pampering, and the must-visit 10,000-square-foot gallery space, which features rotating exhibitions by local and international artists.
In the Area
Downtown Durham is having a quiet renaissance, with a crop of new restaurants, bars and cultural centers. Beyond 21c’s Counting House restaurant, have a meal at tapas-style Mateo and ramen go-to Dashi, and save an evening for beers at indoor/outdoor Fullsteam Brewery and cocktails at upscale Alley Twenty Six. For a culture fix, hit the family-run Museum of Life and Science and the Nasher Museum of Art, and take a tour of Duke University. Good to know: 21c’s well-curated neighborhood guide includes a raft of options for eating, drinking and sightseeing in Bull City.
How to Get There
Outstanding in every way. Centrally located and within strolling distance of DPAC. The staff found out it was our wedding anniversary and gave us a glass of prosecco each with our brunch. The servers and bartender were just lovely. Professional, approachable, and friendly. We WILL be back soon.
Yes, this is an "art hotel," but I'm not sure it's worth its expensive rates.
First, don’t be confused by the entrance: The restaurant is on the ground floor. Take the elevator to the second floor to go to the reception desk. Valet parking is $25/night
This hotel is brand new to the Accor Hotel chain, so hotel personnel must still be getting used to that. For example, though the reception desk clerk was pleasant, he would have been more helpful if he had mentioned about the features of the hotel (like the gym or spa location, is the sauna free, when is the art tour, etc). We had a Bed & Breakfast package, but he didn’t give us the vouchers (that we didn’t know we needed) for breakfast. Because of that, the waitress was confused about how to handle our check, and upon checkout, we still had to get the breakfast charge removed from the bill.
Features of the Deluxe King Room:
Toiletries are: Bar soap, body wash, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, cotton balls/tips, shower cap
Robe, but no slippers
Good counter space. Hairdryer is (blessedly) not attached to the wall
The bathroom light is rather dim -- an annoying trend in high-quality hotels that needs to stop – and the makeup mirror isn’t lighted.
Room itself has:
Decent amount of closet space but not enough hangars
Laptop-size safe in bedside table
Ice bucket, corkscrew, and glasses, but the minibar is jammed full with no room for your own items.
Nespresso machine, but not enough set up (coffee, sweetener, etc) for two people to have both a morning and afternoon cup of regular coffee. Oddly, real coffee cups didn’t show up till our second day.
Plenty of outlets and USB ports and the Wifi worked well
Truly comfortable bed and great A/C
About the room decor: Yes, this an “art hotel,” but really, the picture -- of a sad-looking African child in the desert -- hanging next to the bed was rather unsettling.
Despite the mix-up about the breakfast vouchers, the breakfast itself (order off the menu) was good. We especially enjoyed the bar. It’s bourbon-centric, and the bartender makes interesting cocktails.
One last tip (given to us by the bartender): Be sure to check out the second-floor bathrooms – each bathroom IS the art. You simply must see it to understand.
Based on our stay I would be inclined rate this hotel a "4," but based on the price, I have to give a "3". Though there were a few hiccups with service, we would still stay in this hotel again – if we could book it at a good price.
I went to 21c expecting an amazing experience, after visiting their art museum several times in the past, but was sadly disappointed. I have stayed in a lot of hotels in the past, boutique and luxury alike, and this was definitely my least favorite. The best thing about this hotel, is the location, which also explains the pricing. It is in the middle of downtown Durham, NC with easy access to many amenities. The other great factor, was the staff, the staff was very polite and professional. The spa experience, however; left much to be desired. The only thing I enjoyed about it was my massage therapist Antoinette. She was so amazing that I wish I could have just bought her service instead of the stay at the hotel.
The spa is locked and they call therapist in to complete services as they are scheduled. You will get a better experience at your local Day Spa. The rooms were just okay, I see them as a sad attempt to be like the W Hotel, but definitely falls short on the luxury and comfort. The logistics also need a lot of work, I got stuck on the elevator twice, because there was no sign indicating that it was inoperable. Both times the front desk blamed it on my room key, until I later found out the elevator was malfunctioning.
If your staying in Durham, I would recommend the art museum in this hotel and to Air B N B the rest, you will save money and have a better experience.
The room and location were great, but there were three issues: 1) we arrived at 4, but our room wasn’t ready until 5:30. 2) we put the room service order card out at 8 pm, and were sad to see the next morning that it had never been picked up. 3) when I then ordered room service by phone, our straightforward order took an hour to arrive, and the coffee and side of potatoes were left off the cart. This was all very demoralizing because the space itself is so nice.
I purchased thru Expedia. I felt like treating myself and my friend on Mother's Day, and assumed the high price equalled high quality and an outstanding experience and value, and it was an awful value when considering it included breakfast, but it was the worst breakfast experience I've ever had in a high end hotel, plus the coffee maker in the room came with no instructions, so we could not make it work in the morning, and also because when we arrived, we found the ice bucket, but couldn't find a location for ice, so we called and was told there was no self-help ice, that butler service brings ice, and that's fine but we were not prepared with cash for gratuities as we didn't expect to need any room/butler services,so that was awkward, and paying $25 to valet the car overnight was steep/outrageous ... in my opinion. The whole experience smacked of pretentiousness, catering to the very wealthy, I guess the wealthy who frequent there come equipped to pay/tip for ice, or to call someone to the room to show them how to use the coffee maker (that seems intentionally impossible to get working without help), and never experience the dining room lackluster service and sub-par food because they order room service, and perhaps a restaurant nearby does the room service cooking??? I can't imagine how this hotel surveys based on my experience.