21c Museum Hotel Cincinnati
What We Love
- Chef Michael Paley’s seasonal, wood-fired menu at the house restaurant, Metropole
- The free contemporary art gallery, open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
- A nine-story airshaft repurposed as an iridescent fiber optic exhibit by Danish artist Astrid Krogh
What To Know
- The gym is open 24 hours and there is a full-service spa on the 11th floor
- Some contemporary art exhibits aren’t for the tenderhearted
- Overnight valet parking (with in-and-out privileges) is available for $28 per night
- Free WiFi
- Eco friendly
- Free WiFi
- Parking On Site
The 21c is an artful blend of turn-of-the-last-century architecture and a contemporary disposition. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and owners Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson — who kicked off the concept with their flagship Louisville location — worked with architect Deborah Berke to preserve its vintage appeal while integrating a contemporary interior overhaul. It’s hard to miss the elaborate mosaic tile floor and terra-cotta and plaster molding details. Browse the striking mixed media exhibits in the 8,000-square-foot gallery space, and then enjoy more original art in each guestroom. No generic sofa paintings here.
Bed and Bath
Guestrooms are a balance of chic and cozy, pairing modish furnishings with supersoft linens, plus handy amenities like iPod docks and Nespresso coffeemakers. Suites sport two flat-screen televisions and an impressive walk-in wet room with steam shower and tub (rubber duck included), elegant black-and-white decor and lovely Malin + Goetz bath products (you’ll want to pinch the cilantro hair conditioner).
Nearly every dish on chef Michael Paley’s inventive menu takes a spin in Metropole’s custom-built wood-burning oven, and he changes up the offerings regularly — though the string-roasted chicken is (so far) a reliable local favorite. Stop in for a light breakfast of wheatberry granola, or lunch on the charred spicy mortadella sandwich. After hours the bar turns out a mean Old Fashioned (dubbed the Don and Dirty in an homage to Mad Men’s rye-swilling Don Draper). But don’t miss the menu of shrubs, tasty colonial-era cocktails laced with flavored vinegar and such seasonal ingredients as Concord grape with juniper, or carrot with basil and achiote.
In the Area
The 21c is located smack in the middle of this compact city. See more art next door at the Contemporary Arts Center, and walk two blocks northwest to Jean-Robert de Cavel’s French Crust Café for an almond croissant or dejeuner of beef short rib with red potatoes and mushrooms. Don’t miss wandering over to Over-the-Rhine, a revitalized Italianate neighborhood just blocks from downtown, where you can try Senate’s gourmet hot dog, Abigail Street’s creamy bouillabaisse, or Bakersfield’s street cart–style tacos. And a must-see spot is Findlay Market, Ohio’s oldest continuously operated public market and home to dozens of year-round grocery, craft and carry-out food vendors.
How to Get There
We have been here several times before, and have always enjoyed our experience. This visit started the same, with a smooth check-in process, where we were even given nice comps for the gift shop and restaurant. The museum is always fun to explore and is a special treat in this unique boutique hotel chain. However, after a walk down a long, boring (what happened to the “coolness” of the lobby?), and drafty hall, we arrived in room 620, and that’s where the excitement about this place abruptly ended. The room was functional, but lacked any special elements. In fact, the mattress was uncomfortable, the sheets were scratchy, the pillows were hard, and the towels were thin. The bathroom itself was awful, with a small vanity offering no storage; even the hairdryer placed was on the small countertop. And what the heck was that one the ceiling in the shower?
When we escaped the room, we discovered only one open bar (the other is outdoors and opened seasonally) that offered countertop barstools reminiscent of Shoney’s or something. Plus, the whole place smelled like a fryer. For all our former good stays here, I’m not sure I’ll risk it again with another disappointment like this one.
this was my 2nd stay at this awesome hotel for a work trip in Cincinnati. This time i was able to experience the spa (Massage and facial) and it was amazing and made my stay even more special. the rooms are immaculate (Great housekeeping) and the staff are superstars from a customer service perspective.
Easy and very friendly checkin! Great artwork and great food at the restaurant! The noise wasn’t too bad for an old building. The staff was very knowledgeable of all the 21c hotels. We will be back soon!
The 21c is a fantastic hotel in a good part of downtown Cincinnati. The staff at the hotel were terrific. When we had to extend our stay because we couldn't get out of town due to the roads being iced over, they let us stay two additional nights and even lowered our rate as a courtesy. We ate at the hotel bar and got room service (both were not typical for us), and the food was terrific. Really terrific. My wife is already working to recreate their grilled carrot salad. The room was spacious and clean and modern and nice. The bathroom was all those things, too. The location is great, too, for anywhere in the downtown area you want to walk. Plus, the place is filled with modern (and vintage) art, so it's a treat to walk around the building.
We stayed here overnight in a king suite while visiting family. The front desk service was spot-on, helping us navigate the street car system and where to safely walk in the evening in the OTR/downtown area. We were delighted by the art-centric decor in the reception, elevator area, and our room! The water pressure in our shower was impressive, our table/desk had plenty of outlets, and the sectional was perfect for relaxing. Our only quibble was with the bed- the mattress had a topper on it that bunched up and felt lumpy in the night, and the mattress was a little bit on the squishy side. Other than the mattress shortcomings, we had a stellar stay.