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
We were looking for a spot within walking distance to the AAA Durham Bulls ballpark and happened upon this downtown, museum-themed gem. Art throughout is fascinating and imaginative, The traffic pattern in this hotel is a little confusing and very non-traditional but rooms are very nicely appointed, very clean and like the entire hotel, filled with interesting art. Service was good but some aspects of this place have a slightly disorganized, extremely casual air about them. Like somebody decided to put together a really cool hotel but hadn't quite worked the details out yet. Road construction outside prevented normal entry and this didn't help. Valet parking at $25 seems pretty steep for a small city. But we absolutely loved the cool art, great room and perfect location. Counting House restaurant on first floor is great spot for breakfast.
Don’t go here!! The accommodations are attractive and the food is good but the service is non-existent! First of all, I was charged for things I did NOT authorize! I booked and paid through Hotwire but the hotel charged me anyway!!! Second, I was charged for items in the minibar and I didn’t take any items. I photographed the minibar upon arrival and upon leaving! They list an all day menu for room service with all day hours. I called at 1015am and was told they were not open! Housekeeping comes around 8am and bangs on the door even though there is a do not disturb hang tag on the door. There was really loud construction across the street. I asked to be moved to the other side of the hotel but they said no!!! There was only one other guest on my floor! The building is old but nothing was done to protect from noise. I’ve stayed in hotels in downtown NYC, Boston, Toronto and Chicago. I’ve NEVER heard all the outside and inside noise I heard here!!Decor is 4 Star, service is 1 Star plus they steal your money! I’ve tried calling 3 times just to be hung up on and sent to voicemail!!! Beware!!!!!!!!!
This place was really nice, restaurant was pretty cool and good food. Hotel room was very clean and nice looking. Loved the art that was everywhere. Only complaint is the check in desk was hard to find and the people that tend the desk were not readily available. It was hard to tell the difference between the art and the check in deck esp. when there was no one there to check in customers.
I had a rough start at this hotel but finished off with a positive stay thanks to some good service.
I walked in and the scene was fairly chaotic. It’s hard to figure which way to go and the signage is not good. People are there for conferences, to see the art galleries, and stay at the hotel. Half the people in the lobby looked like they were walking around lost, myself included.
I stood next in line at the front desk for about 10 minutes while an inattentive staff member ignored me, fiddling with her computer. Finally, another staffer actually had to tell her to check me in. She offered no greeting, no hello, and no help to get oriented at the hotel. There is a big construction project across the street so I asked her if she could give me a room as far away from it as one could get for a little peace and quiet. She promptly gave me a room on the lowest floor possible directly facing the construction. I was like, “Are these people messing with me?!”
I walked to my room and promptly heard people getting it on in the room across the hall from me at 3:00 in the afternoon. There is no carpeting in the halls, so everything echoes loudly. Apparently all the art makes people amorous, as I saw other reviews complaining about some loud lovemaking at this place. Bizarre.
Things got better the next day. I asked to be moved and got really excellent service from Kevin at the front desk, who was hospitable as they come. Not only did he move me to a quieter room, but he told me about the history of the hotel and downtown Durham itself – perfect for someone trying to get to know the area. He was great. So was Jeffrey, one of the porters who was super congenial. And Gina, the front office manager was very professional and helped me out with something. So I ended up having a good stay thanks to some great personnel in the end.
Some final thoughts: Downtown Durham is loud. There’s a lot of construction and a train goes through until 1:30 a.m. blasting its horn loud enough to wake up God and the Devil. There’s a lot of new construction going on, so be aware. None of this is 21c’s fault, of course. It ought to get better once the building across the street is done. It’s also expensive downtown – parking at this hotel was an ungodly $25 a night. Really? In Durham? This is not a major city we’re talking about.
But the hotel is cool. Art is incorporated in it throughout. So if you’re after an interesting, hip, cool, place, 21c will definitely suffice. The rooms are small, but comfortable. The bathrooms are good size with great showers, rubber ducky included. It’s funky. Fitness center is pretty good. I had room service one night and the food was good. It’s definitely an interesting vibe. Check out the bank vault exhibit. It’s definitely a unique hotel.
Hi This hotel was perfect! I can't think of anything to complain about. I read alot of other reviews of this place and i found the negative reviews to be silly. What they thought were silly i would disagree with! I found the food to be wonderful and extremely convienent. The manager at the restaurant, Derick was super cool, super helpful and super polite. Everyone in the hotel was very nice and accommodating. The hotel was so unusual with the museum and things to see and We found it very interesting. We went their for our one year wedding anniversary. It was Nice Real nice. OH AND a very important thing in warm weather i found our Air Conditioner Unit to be nice, clean and worked quickly and well. I didn't feel like there was a bunch of dust blowing around in our faces and my astmah did not act up and i did not start coughing randomly form the AC unit! Very Nice Place WILL STAY AGAIN! This is a gem Thanks so much! PS the BURBON COCKTAIL WAS AMAZING!