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Exciting times are ahead for Nashville’s hotel scene. In particular, the city's boutique otel scene is really coming up. Already, there's a Virgin, Thompson and Kimpton in the works, but now we've learned there's an Ace and an Edition coming as well.
How do we know this? The Nashville Convention & Visitors Corporation has released a "cheat sheet" of new Downtown/Midtown hotels in the works, most of them opening in the city's coolest neighborhoods. But don’t pack your bags yet, as many of these hotels are years from completion, with some still under speculation. And we all know that anything can happen in hotel development, not the least of which is a flag change.
Still, it's hard for us not to want to grab a partner and do-so-do with excitement. Here's what has us skipping in our cowboy boots this morning:
It's not just high-flying Virgins that are headed to Nashville, but museum lovers too.
According to Tennessean, a landmark building in Downtown Nashville has been sold at auction to 21c Museum Hotels. It must have been meant to be, as it was reportedly the 21st bid (of $6.8 million) that won the luxury boutique hotel and restaurant group its new Nashville digs.
This will be the 5th hotel following Louisville, Cincinnati, Bentonville and Durham (due to open in early 2015.) The hotel group also plans to expand into Lexington; in an historic bank designed by McKim Mead and White; Oklahoma City, in a former Ford Model T plant, and Kansas City; in a redevelopment of the Savoy Hotel and Grill. Each of these future hotels sound so great we had to mention them.
The Nashville property, located at 222 Third Avenue North, dates to the 1890s and is a registered national landmark. It was most recently used as office space and will need some work to convert it to a luxury boutique hotel. But taking on an historic building and bringing out its character are what make the 21c Hotels so appealing. With the exception of Bentonville, which is a new build, each of the 21c hotels was uniquely developed as an adpative reuse.
Details are still very sketchy, but rumour has it that arty boutique hotel chain 21C Museum Hotels is set to add another property to its swelling portfolio; in Oklahoma!
Business First reported the other day that the company "is applying for incentives and looking at other financing options for a 21c location in Oklahoma City." and quotes president Craig Greenberg as saying: “We are still working on finalizing all our incentives".
If Akansas wasn't already on your list of places to visit in 2013 (and we hate to say it, but why would it?), here's a new reason: the art-obsessed boutique hotel chain 21c Museum has just opened a new 104-room property in downtown Bentonville, AR. And yes, those penguins have made an appearance once again. 25 of them, in fact. Only this time, they're green!
Hence, the six-foot tiger sculpture, the "hairy chandelier", and the elevator mural (pictured) that turns a normally tedious moment of waiting into an opportunity to feel cultured. Walmart must feel so proud.
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Fresh off last week's ribbon cutting, we buzzed by Cincinnati's new 21c Museum Hotel on its first Saturday in business for a quick tour. Our visit was so fresh, in fact, the paint literally hadn't even dried yet (we saw a guy running around spot-touching the walls).
When we arrived at 5 o'clock the hotel was booked solid and curious passerby were parading in, some having just caught "The Nutcracker" matinee at the performing arts theater across the street. Or checked out the latest exhibits at next door's sprawling Contemporary Arts Center (designed by Zaha Hadid). Or just pounded few brewskies at Toby Keith's bar around the corner.
In other words, the location's choice and the masses welcome! 24/7, in fact. The 10-floor, 156-room property, just like its Louisville sibling, doubles as a contemporary art gallery whose exhibition spaces are free for anyone to peruse, any day, at any time.
UPDATE: A rep for 21C Museum Hotel tells us that you don't have to know the hotel founders to book a room but you do have to book early. For example, they are already getting requests for next year and since there are only 90 rooms and a lot of repeat guests, the rooms will go fast. Hurry!
This weekend is the 2012 Kentucky Derby and if you were smart, you booked a hotel room way back in February. But sadly, the hotel that we all really want to stay at for the Derby is never going to be available during the horse race.
We're talking about the arty cool 21C Museum Hotel, a hybrid contemporary art museum/boutique hotel. The hotel is booked this year and presumably, next year and the year after that and the year after that. The reason being is not just because it's a popular spot but also because we've heard during the Derby, friends and family of the hotel's owner get first priority. Aw shucks.
For now, we'll have to live vicariously through these up close and personal snapshots from Business Insider. In the meantime, we'll be scheming of ways to get into the owner's good graces.
[Photo: Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider]
Now that Wal-Mart heiress, Alice Walton, has opened the Crystal Bridges Museum of Modern Art (it was her millions and her incredible art collection that got the museum off the ground), cultured visitors to the museum in Bentonville, Ark. are in need of an equally cultured place to stay.
The hotel will be located in the city's downtown arts corridor but Bentonville is a small town so the Crystal Bridges museum will still be walkable. The four-story contemporary style building will have 103 rooms, including suites, a fitness center and a sustainable restaurant. In fact, the whole building will be built and operated using green practices and sustainable materials. And of course, there will be art. Lots of it.
The 21C Museum Hotel in Louisville.
The good news is there's going to be yet another 21C Museum Hotel opening. That will make four 21C Museum hotels--the original in Louisville, the second in Cincinnati, a third in Austin and now, a hotel near Bentonville, Arkansas.
The odd news is that the people who are making this third hotel possible are some Wal-Mart people. The Waltons, the heirs to the megastore that famously bans music and books for being too provocative, are now supporting an art hotel. The WSJ reports:
A Walton family investment arm and partner 21c Museum Hotel of Louisville, Ky., are scheduled to disclose Tuesday that they will construct a $28 million, 130-room hotel near Bentonville's downtown square that will open by 2012.
The 21C Museum Hotel is one of the funkiest, quirkiest, art/design hotels in the world but if you can't find a way to get to Louisville, Kentucky, don't worry, there's still a way for you to bring home a piece of the hotel's sensibility--through its newly launched Online Shop.
Items from the hotel like scented candles from Malin + Goetz, jewelry from local designer Elva Fields, chocolates from TCHO and 21c-branded items like water bottles ($10), umbrellas ($30), t-shirts ($21, heh) and even mint julep cups ($48.)
And for those still lusting after hotel bathrobes, the 21c Museum Hotel robe starts at an affordable $72. However, our favorite item is the 6 1/2" tallred ceramic penguin that you also see placed at various parts of the hotel but in larger sizes. Waaay better than a t-shirt.
The 21C Museum Hotel in Louisville.
A reader in Ohio tipped us off last night about this excellent news for downtown Cincinnati--The 21C Museum Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky will open its second hotel in the old Metropole Hotel next year. And in living up to the museum part of its name, the new hotel will play a huge role in the city's burgeoning contemporary art scene.
Here are some detes from the press release:
The new 21c Museum Hotel in Cincinnati will be located adjacent to the Contemporary Arts Center and across the street from the Aronoff Center for the Arts. 21c Museum Hotels is working with the Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation on the restoration, scheduled to begin next fall. The total expected cost for the project is $45 million.
21c Museum Hotel in Cincinnati will offer 160 rooms, an 8,000 square-foot contemporary art museum open to the public free of charge, and a Proof restaurant and bar serving contemporary cuisine made with locally grown ingredients.