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 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.
My husband and I decided to have a winter urban staycation and picked 21c for our stay.
We were greeted by the valet as soon as we arrived and quickly got the car sorted out. On to check in. We were a couple of hours early but there was a room available on the 4th floor. We were checked in quickly and on our way.
Our room was spacious with three windows overlooking The Aronof and Nada. The accommodations were comfortable and clean. It was surprisingly quiet given the location. We didn’t hear any street or guest noise the whole night.
The museum exhibits were fun and interactive. We had a good time wandering around checking it out.
We will definitely return and seek out other 21c properties for our future travels.
We are from Louisville (penguins are Red in the Ville), so we know of 21c’s origins. We haven’t stayed at any 21c till this trip to Cinci. At every turn the interaction with 21c was spot on. Making the reservation online, their confirmations, the pre-arrival check up and check-in, the on-site spa reservations, the spa reservation follow up, the help with early checkin because our spa time started before checkin, the valet, etc. They are doing something very right to have so many interactions and it all work. I wouldn’t ding them even if something had not gone wrong, bc I know they would fix it. Spa services were awesome and enjoyable so may do those again. The location is spot on with museums and food all next door. We walked the 7 blocks to our over the Rhine food/bar area, but there is good food in 21c and across the street. This trip was my wife’s Christmas present and 21c made it special and perfect.
Thanksgiving 2018 was our first visit to Cincinnati - a city obviously in the throws of brushing off its diamond-in-the-rough neighborhoods in efforts to attract new business, residents, and guests. The 21c Museum Hotel has all the architectural/ boutique-y/ location assets to be a major player in Cincy's rejuvenation. But this hotel needs to majorly step up its housekeeping services. Two days in a row my husband came back to our room late in the afternoon to find that it was still not made up. We gave a pass on the first day (and to their credit they nicely obliged with a free drink pass while we waited for our room to be cleaned). But day two we specifically mentioned to the front desk we were heading out and that our room should be cleaned. Alas, it was still not ready when we returned. The cleaning staff is also not consistent in their attention to the room regarding the replacement of towels/ bath mats, removing used items (a coffee mug) and amenities. Otherwise a great hotel with generously-sized rooms. Great location!
I have stayed at other 21C properties. The hotel price for Cincinnati was way beyond a reasonable room charge and the room was nothing to write home about (or to write a favorable review). Smallish and unimpressive. A lot of other choices. Adequate at best.