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
- 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
Something out of the ordinary beyond your run of mill hotel accommodation. Boutique style hotel that's convenient to downtown and has some interesting aspects to entertain you after a busy day. Rooms and spacious and comfortable, valet parking so no need to worry about that in the downtown area.
The hotel is literally a museum. The exhibition was breathtaking and well curated. I recommend staying here, eating here, absorbing the cultural offerings through art, and using their funky (in the best sense of the word) bathrooms. When you lock the see through glass door, it becomes opaque.
I stayed here in January, when dropping my child of at Duke. It is in a great location and my husband saw the great reviews. When I arrived, they had issues finding my reservation as they stated "third party bookings are a hassle." The "manager", who had to come to help said he was upgrading me to a suite. I went up unclean elevators to this room. It was one of the tiniest rooms I have ever stayed in. It looked clean but old. I later found that it was not clean at all.
The views were good, of downtown Durham. I had a headache so I picked up the filthy room phone to call the front desk. The person asked me if they should send someone to the Marriott to get me Advil.
There was lots of nude pictures around the hotel. The staff was not rude yet not friendly - just there. You have to figure you way around since there are no signs. All in all - I have no idea why this hotel is ranked so high. It is not the rooms, not the service, not the ambiance. At best this is an average if not below average hotel. Especially if you take price into consideration.
You will not regret staying at this incredible museum hotel. The staff are very accommodating, polite and knowledgeable. The rooms are impeccably designed and super clean. Overall the hotel is a treat to visit and stay - and a wonderful couples getaway.
I will definitely recommend and go again. Only downside is the check in at 4pm and check out at 11am. I’m used to a 3pm check in and a noon check especially when it’s a bit of a pricy hotel. Other than that gorgeous decor, and well planned art gallery.