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  1. Sunday, July 21, 2024

  2. Monday, July 22, 2024

Issue 4

It's Issue 4 of The Penguin Post! In this issue we share some updates around our opening properties, exhibitions, and share some important travel tips as we all start to think about venturing out.

“Nobody thought that a contemporary art hotel would work, especially not in Louisville, Kentucky.”

–Steve Wilson, Co-Founder, 21c Museum Hotels

The good news….it did work!

The even better news, 21c Museum Hotels are opening back up!!  On July 1st, 21c Louisville, Bentonville, Kansas City, and Nashville welcomed their first guests.  Just a few days later on July 6th, Cincinnati and Lexington opened their doors.  Durham followed on July 10th, and then we’ll start the countdown to September when 21c Oklahoma City and 21c Chicago, our newest member of the flock, will return! We look forward to welcoming you back into our properties very soon!














In celebration for the 7 hotels opening, we’ve put together a fantastic deal for our loyal guests.  Book by July 31st, and for every one night you book, you’ll get a second night on us!  Yep, it’s a buy one, get one deal you shouldn’t pass up.  Dates are open through the end of the year for these savings so hurry and book now!  Follow this link 





21c Chicago's exhibition speaks directly to the times

On February 4, 2020 on a cold, yet typical day in the Windy City, 21c Chicago opened its doors.  Almost two months later those doors shut, in order to assist in stopping the spread of Covid-19. We are so thrilled to announce the 297 room hotel will open once again on September 1st. The hotel team looks forward to welcoming travelers and locals alike into the spaces.

The current exhibition, This We Believe, is an extremely poignant one during this time in which we find our nation and believe visitors of the museum will find it thought-provoking, engaging and timely.  Earlier this month, we were honored by the review of our current exhibition, This We Believe, by Chicago Reader.

“A stone’s throw from the kitsch and luxe of the Magnificent Mile, in a north-facing window on Ontario, the Indian god Ganesh merges with the figure of a child impaled through the frontal lobe with a martial pole. Beyond them, a tapestry hangs, where the silhouette of a lynched woman forms a dark blot against a wall of flames, rioters running beneath her feet. To the right, a shirtless boy with tattoos and scraped knees sits astride a bison with a child in his arms and a dusty American flag slung over one shoulder, while a few yards away fringed Vodou flags beaded by Haitian weavers glitter boldly on the wall. As you enter, you hear the faint strains of the national anthem and slip into a darkened chamber where a watercolor image of Colin Kaepernick takes a knee every two minutes.”  Read the entire review here


Travel Tip: Be sure to clean your luggage


As many of us begin to travel again, we know there will be precautions taken at every stop; airlines mandating masks, temperature checks at most establishments, and much more.  Don’t let the precautions stop when you arrive home as you might still be carrying germs…on your luggage!

So now that you’ve finally moved your favorite travel bag from the dusty corner of your bedroom (or was that only mine?!?) and hit the road, give it a thorough cleaning when it arrives home by following the easy steps listed in this Conde Nast Traveler guide.

A Storied History at 21c Kansas City

Like most 21c Museum Hotels, 21c Kansas City was a revitalization project; a building with perhaps more storied history than any 21c before it.  The building, built in 1888 by the Arbuckle Coffee Company, was originally Kansas City’s Hotel Savoy. In 1903 the original hotel was remodeled and the west wing was added featuring the Savoy Grill dining room. The building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places back in 1974.  Prior to its closure, due to a small fire in 2014, it was the oldest operating hotel west of the Mississippi.   21c then began the transformation you see today; a beautiful marriage of the history by restoring original columns, millwork and mosiac floors, with a contemporary art museum and modern finishes.

Fun Fact:

Did you know that what we know call Gallery One in 21c Kansas City was previously home to a barbershop in the mid-1900s?  In fact, part of our restoration included bringing back the luster to two of the original barbershop chairs to use in the hotel spaces.  If you’ve visited us before, have you found them?

A fun read for kids

About to get on a zoom call and need something to occupy your little one?  Well we’ve got a fun solution! As part of some virtual programming for our Louisville museum this summer, our museum team assembled an adorable book titled Relax Like a Penguin. Pull up the PDF and let them read while you say things like “just to clarify” and “low-hanging fruit”!

Read Relax Like a Penguin

Site specific artwork in our favorite small town

While each 21c boasts a contemporary art museum with rotating exhibitions that change regularly to provide guests a new set of works for their next trip back, each hotel also has a few site-specific, “permanent” installations.

Bentonville, Arkansas, a seemingly small – where is that again? – town in the middle of the heartland, also happens to be the home of the largest retailer – Walmart.

Monica Mahoney’s Making Change greets travelers as they approach 21c Bentonville.  Other than the green penguins, it is our most iconic and most photographed staple.  Covered in dimes, nickels and pennies, this fully operational 1962 Fleetwood Cadillac limousine, sits just steps away from Walmart’s first Five and Dime, located on the town’s square.


Outside of its intriguing imagery, Mahoney’s design was intentional.  The nearly 30,000 coins add up to roughly $952, which is the amount Walmart says they save all US families each year, due to their influence on national pricing.  Additionally, the hood coins were fashioned into a barcode pattern of Walmart’s most sold item.  Any guesses?  Bananas.


Try your hand at Metropole's famous Burnt Carrot Salad

When Chef Michael Paley set about to create this salad for the very first Metropole dinner menu, he wanted to stay away from the tradition of using lettuce as a base for salad. Instead, he decided to make this salad more vegetable-focused, with carrots featured front and center.  The carrots are carefully charred in the fireplace, but without the smoky taste one might expect from this cooking method. Instead, the flames add an unexpected element caramelized texture to the dish that has lent itself to being one of the only dishes that has stayed on the menu since our opening. This fan favorite not only shows off the versatility of the fireplace, but it also proves to be a simple dish to replicate in your own kitchen. Below we’ve included the complete recipe for this famous appetizer: bon appetit!


Burnt Carrot Salad

with avocado, pickled onion, cilantro, feta & toasted pumpkin seeds

serves 4


*Chef’s Tip: Use a cast iron pan- it’s a great way to simulate the char effect without having a planch over the fireplace.


2 each, large carrots, peeled and ends trimmed off

2 each, firm avocados, halved and thickly sliced

1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled

1/4 cup pickled red onion, julienne

1/4 cup picked cilantro leaves

2 tablespoons flatleaf parsley, chopped

3 tablespoons pumpkin seeds, toasted and salted

1 tablespoon lemon juice

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil + 1 tablespoon for searing carrots

Kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste


1. Cut the carrots in half lengthwise and then cut them into 3.5 inch segments.  In simmering salted water, slowly poach the carrots until they are easily pierced with a paring knife.

2. To ‘burn’ the carrots, bring a cast iron pan to medium high heat and coat it with the one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil.  Once the oil starts to smoke, season the carrots with salt and pepper and lay in the pan with the flat cut side down.

3. Turn the heat down to medium and let the carrots start to slowly develop a nice, even, dark char.  If the pan is too hot, it will burn the carrots.

4. Once the carrots are charred, pull out of the pain and set aside to bring to room temperature.

5. To make the salad, in a large mixing bowl combine the carrots, avocado, feta, pickled onion, cilantro and parsley. Season with salt and pepper and dress with the lemon juice and olive oil.

6.  Divide the salad evenly among the four plates and garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds.

At 21c, Details Matter

At 21c, “Details Matter” is one of our core values.  That means, we find little ways to create big impact on our teammates and our guests.

Recently in Nashville, our team was presented with an opportunity to make an impact on a special couple.  The couple, just married, had originally planned to take a 10 day trip to Europe to celebrate their nuptials, but due to Covid-19, those plans had to change.  Then came the plans for a Hawaiian honeymoon, but with the 14-day quarantine within the state being extended, those plans had to change too.  So, our friends at The TravelStore planned a Nashville retreat for these country music lovers, which is where 21c came in.

With an alert from our partners at The TravelStore we were able to surprise the couple with an upgrade to a corner suite, balloons, champagne and a special gift from their registry that our team noticed was not received.  It’s the little things that go a long way.

Want to Learn More About Our Properties?



Located directly off the town square, this 104 room boutique hotel houses 10,500 sq feet of exhibition space, and The Hive restaurant

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In the heart of River North, this 297 room hotel features 106 suites, and over 10,000 sq feet of exhibition and meeting space

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This 156 room boutique hotel, contemporary art museum, and the home of Metropole restaurant resides in the center of the Queen City

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North Carolina

10,500 sq feet of contemporary art museum immerses you in this boutique hotel, and home to Counting House restaurant, located on the square in downtown

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Kansas City,

120 rooms, 7400 sq feet of exhibition space and The Savoy restaurant are housed in the Financial District, in the historic Savoy Hotel and Grill building

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88 room boutique hotel, Lockbox restaurant, and a contemporary art museum sit proudly in the middle of downtown Lexington

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The original. 91 boutique hotel rooms, 9,000 sq feet of exhibition space and Proof on Main restaurant sit on the corner of Museum Row

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A welcomed respite from the bustle of Broadway, you’ll find 120 rooms, 9,000 sq feet of meeting and exhibition space, and the delicious Gray & Dudley restaurant

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Housed in an old Model T plant, you’ll find 14,000 sq feet of meeting and exhibition space, Mary Eddy’s Kitchen x Lounge, and 135 residential designed hotel rooms.

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