Readers of Condé Nast’s Traveler magazine have again voted Louisville’s boutique 21c Museum Hotel as the top hotel in the U.S. in 2010 and sixth best worldwide. The awards come after nearly 26,000 individuals assessed more than 10,000 hotels and destinations worldwide. The magazine deemed 21c to be the only U.S. hotel to be ranked as one of the world’s top ten in 2010.
21c beat Chicago’s The Peninsula hotel, which fell to number two after holding the top spot for several years, and The Mandarin Oriental in Boston, which came in third in the magazine’s poll.
The hotel’s unique atmosphere comes from installations of contemporary art by living artists in almost every public area – including the elevators and lobby area restrooms. The hotel also offers 9,000 square feet of exhibit space showing rotating – and curated – art installations. The 21c (for “21st century art”) Museum is open 24 hours a day seven days a week.
21c also has developed a reputation for attentive service to its guests. The Courier-Journal quoted one frequent guest who said the staff always remembers his birthday with a cake. From the beginning the hotel also offered guests iPods loaded with their favorite music.
In addition to 90 rooms, 21c also offers a high-end restaurant, Proof on Main, and a bar featuring more than 50 of Kentucky’s finest bourbons as well as seasonal specialty cocktails.
While hotel owners Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson originally envisioned operating only this single hotel when they opened it in 2006, the couple said they have received requests to open 21c hotels in other cities. They have agreed to do so in three additional cities to date – Austin, Cincinnati, and Bentonville, Ark.
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