I first heard about the 21C Museum Hotels chain when they opened their first property in Louisville, Kentucky. I saw pictures of their galleries and signature penguins. They soon opened additional properties in up-and-coming Southern cities, so when I visited Bentonville, Arkansas, I added a stay at the 21C property there to my itinerary.
The boutique chain started as a way to bring contemporary art into guests’ daily lives and the Bentonville location opened after the success of nearby Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.
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Rooms are large, including a seating area and breakfast nook (in luxury rooms). Beds are plush and the room is furnished with unique items. In the bathroom, you’ll find a rainforest showerhead, Malin + Goetz toiletries, bathrobes and a rubber ducky.
There are two settings on the bathroom lights for full lighting to put on makeup and dimmer lighting. The rooms are also equipped with small closets and fully stocked minibars. This includes a coffee maker and the essentials. A flat-screen television is there to keep you entertained and WiFi is free for guests. Parking is included, but valet may be subject to an additional fee.
The hotel itself has much to offer, including its namesake museum-quality gallery that showcases a changing range of work. During my stay, it was photography and video art exhibits. 21C also has a shop to purchase your own penguin (green for this property) and hip gifts you’d find at a museum store. The onsite gym has all the modern equipment to keep you in shape during your stay. The hotel is also located on a number of walking and biking paths, so you can borrow a bike to get around.
Another highlight of 21C Museum Hotel Bentonville is the buzzed-about restaurant The Hive. Open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, guests can also get the menu as room service. The chef was nominated for a James Beard award and their cocktail program has been written about in dozens of publications.
I opted for the vegetarian saffron tagliatelle, pictured below, with a cocktail not on the menu that my server recommended. I also lusted after my neighbor’s burger but was very satisfied with my own dinner. To finish it off, I was brought cotton candy for dessert.
The hotel is also located near a number of Bentonville attractions, within walking distance to The Walmart Museum. And if you’ve already dined at The Hive, check out other local eateries like Pressroom. For craft beer, check out Bike Rack Brewing Co., a local brewery and pub. It’s also the only downtown hotel, so it’s the best place to be if you want to be in the middle of it all.
If You Go
Rates start at $199 per night for deluxe king rooms and go up from there for luxury rooms and suites.
I received a discounted media rate for my stay at 21C Museum Hotel Bentonville.