© Tony Soluri, 21c Museum Hotel
Hotels have been beefing up their fine-art programs for a few years now, but the 21c Museum Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky, was unique from the moment it opened in 2006. There is a savvily curated, legitimate on-site museum that is open 24-7, making art more available there than anywhere else in town. The property has garnered heaps of acclaim, and so the eccentric Kentucky-based art-collecting couple behind it—Steve Wilson and Laura Lee Brown—have now expanded the concept to Cincinnati.
The big difference at the 21c Museum Hotel Cincinnati, which opened on November 26, is that the owners have renovated a 100-year-old landmark instead of building a new structure, as they did in Kentucky. The former Metropole Hotel, a beauty clad in red brick and tile, has been respectfully updated to include a state-of-the-art spa while retaining original elements like mosaic floors.
The art program is just as ambitious as in Louisville: 8,000 feet of exhibition space, open all the time. The first show features works by an international cast, including acclaimed British filmmaker-photographer Sam Taylor-Wood and the American artist Kara Walker, a staple of major collections.
For those who prefer their artistry on the plate, the hotel’s German-inflected restaurant, Metropole, is run by chef Michael Paley, who made Proof on Main in the 21c Louisville a destination for lovers of pork, seasonal ingredients and fine bourbon. Rooms, from $199 (weekends), $259 (weekdays); 609 Walnut St.; 513-578-6600; 21cmuseumhotels.com/cincinnati.