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
- Free WiFi
- Handicap Accessible
- 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 spent 6 nights in the Millenium Hotel. I chose it because of location and price. While some reviews were iffy, others looked good. After making the prepaid reservation, my wife found some really terrible reviews that had us worried. However, those worries were all for naught. We were on the 26th floor of the north tower. The room was clean, bright and good in all ways (well, except the windows were pretty dirty and the pillows did not work for me). Beyond that, no complaints. The room was cleaned every day. I would certainly stay there again. Great location with some really good restaurants nearby and all very walkable.
Museum 21C in no way met my expectations for a nice hotel during my recent stay there for a long weekend. The hotel didn’t seem super busy, but nonetheless the service was abysmal.
Over the course of a single day:
1. The valet clearly had scrapped my car against something causing a blue paint mark (on a white car) on the rear. When I noticed it, the manager told me that they would need to investigate what happened. I told the they could probably buff it out which they did but they replaced the blue paint with blood stains that I once again had to point out when I picked up my car. AND they still charged me the full valet rate and I have yet to hear about any results of the investigation. Definitely fully inspect your car each and every time you pick it up from the valet. I literally have never had such poor valet service at any hotel at which I have stayed.
2. I rented two rooms - neither of which had been cleaned when we returned at 7pm in the evening. When I called the front desk, the response was completely unacceptable - no apology, just full on attitude. The manager did ultimately call me to apologize given in the space of about 15 minutes I had issues with the valet and now with the rooms.
3. The room service trays were left outside of the room for hours despite calling to have them picked up.
4. I requested a late checkout for 2pm and was told that I needed to pay 1/2 day rate. That may be the policy but really excessive for a 2pm checkout after I had just been told that the room was not booked for the nest day.
For me, the biggest problem was not necessarily the issues themselves, but the response to them. Aside from the manager, all I received was bad attitude, no apologies, etc. I definitely can not recommend this hotel - the value for the price is just not there.
I had a nice stay, would've like me to have spent more time checking out the amenities. 38 dollars for valet and 20 bucks for a cheeseburger is a little much but everything else about the stay was nice.