21c Museum Hotel
At a Glance
- unique design
- free art exhibits
- noted restaurant
- free Wi-Fi
- may be too "techy" for some
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21c Museum Hotel Review
A historic downtown landmark apartment building returned to its roots with the late-2012 opening of this, the country's second 21c Museum Hotel, a hotel dedicated to engaging the public with contemporary art and cultural programs. Built in 1912 and designed by the noted firm Joseph G. Steinkamp & Brother, whose other Cincinnati works included the Art Deco American Building, the former luxurious Metropole Hotel was a city mainstay famous for its two-story curved staircase and ornate ballroom. In 1971, however, the structure was converted into low-income residential units, then proceeded to languish unattended—until earning a spot on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009. Following years of renovations, the place has reemerged as the 21c. Now, along with revitalized original elements like the mosaic tiled elevator floors and that signature staircase, you'll find 8,000 square-feet of gallery and installation space showcasing the work of living artists (the rotating exhibits are open to the public for free, 24-hours a day; calendars are available online). Rooms all feature modern design, original artwork, and amenities like Nespresso machines, iPod docks, Malin + Goetz products, and free Wi-Fi. The three-room, on-site spa offers signature ReVive facials and a whirlpool in the couple's suite, while Chef Michael Paley's Metropole restaurant—a local favorite—takes things back to the hearth with a focus on local and sustainable ingredients cooked in a custom-built, wood-burning fireplace. Craft beers, bourbon, and more are served there and on the seasonal Cocktail Terrace, backed by panoramic views of the surrounding Backstage District.
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