“Stay with the Iconic Green Penguins!”
Located on the northeast corner of the Bentonville town square and a short walk to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, 21c Museum Hotel Bentonville is a 104-room boutique hotel, contemporary art museum, cultural civic center, and home to The Hive restaurant. Stay with us and the iconic Green Penguins. The bold decision to open a contemporary art museum open to the public free of charge, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and to combine it with Louisville’s first boutique hotel would create both an economic driver for the community and an oasis where art challenges, amuses, stimulates conversation, and provokes new ideas. 21c’s growth and expansion presents the opportunity to share Brown and Wilson’s original goals – to collect and exhibit the work of living artists and to integrate contemporary art into daily life – with new cities. These goals, as well as a desire to bring today’s most dynamic and engaging art to the public, have been Brown and Wilson’s mission, a mission that has transformed downtown Louisville into an internationally recognized cultural center. As 21c expands, their passion for supporting and sharing contemporary art with both new and existing audiences will continue to shape 21c’s programming in each venue, creating a unique combination of local engagement with a broad, global reach.
21c brought the same awesomeness from their Louisville and Cincinnati locations to this one. I haven't been everywhere in Arkansas but I'm willing to bet this is the coolest hotel in the entire state.
1st class contemporary hotel with a restaurant that feels like they were picked up by some alien spacecraft from some trendy city and plopped down in the middle of Bentonville Arkansas. The art in and around the hotel was better than Crystal Bridges, and Crystal Bridges collection has a very good.
I booked a room at the 21c Museum Hotel in Bentonville in the Fall of 2019 for March 2020, and for the first time ever took the prepaid discount. When the pandemic closed the hotel for my stay, I assumed I was out the money but the hotel, very graciously, credited my nights for use anytime this year. When we rebooked for October 2020, they said rates were higher than for what I paid but the hotel, very graciously, honored the original rates. Thank you!
I knew that our best parking bet would be the garage behind the hotel. What I didn’t know was that there was no hotel-controlled location for guests to drop-off, or load and unload their luggage. We arrived at around 5:15PM on a Friday, and drove around the hotel and the garage four times, looking for a place to unload our week’s worth of road trip luggage. The street in front of the hotel was bumper-to-bumper parked cars: no flashers, no loading or unloading, just parked. There were no signs welcoming guests or indicating where they should unload their luggage. There was no entrance to the hotel from the garage. Finally, I stopped in the garage and called the front desk for guidance. No answer.
Fortunately, I saw a mini van in the garage with three women getting out and unloading their weekend roller luggage. I asked one about the unloading and check in situation. She said they were told to park in the garage, but NOT in the 21C valet spots even though there was no valet, and schlepp the luggage down the short flight of stairs, up the sidewalk on the side of the hotel, then around to the entrance on the front. This was not the welcome we expected.
When I got to the front door, some exiting guests were nice enough to hold the door for me. I entered and dropped my luggage to the side and was immediately welcomed by the doorman who took my temperature and started his COVID questioning. I interrupted and said, “Excuse me, I need to go get my wife because I thought I was staying at a real hotel with a loading zone and luggage carts.” I saw the luggage cart inside the doorway and grabbed it to go fetch my wife who was just rounding the corner to the front of the hotel. (BTW, we’re youngish “Senior Citizens.”)
When we went to check it, I started to mention the parking situation and the desk clerk (who, from the hotel’s Facebook page is a star employee) interrupted with his canned parking spiel, which was unhelpful since I had already parked. Rather than push it, I finished checking in and figured I’d deal with it at check out. What a welcome. I had a warmer welcome reporting to a high security Navy duty station after midnight than into this joint.
All of the handrails in both elevators are loose and appear to be falling off the the walls. Details, details. My wife charitably suggested that maybe they were meant to be that way, since they all flopped in the same way.
The room was remarkably lackluster. The chest-of-drawers was water damaged on top (from the coffee maker?) and a drawer front was cracked. Ikea would not have carried that piece because it was too cheaply constructed.
We had reservations for The Hive that night. Holy cow. Phenomenal. That restaurant, alone, is worth a trip to Bentonville.
The window treatments were very well done, letting in the morning sun, but not the heat. Unfortunately, that beautiful sun highlighted all of the stains on the upholstery. Seriously gross. Beyond a detail…
The metal light fixture hanging down rigidly over the table in the sitting area is perfectly positioned to bang my head on the first, and maybe even second time I stood up from the table, and I’m only 5’8”. There was a good dent in the fixture from another poor sap, and what may have been a spot of blood, too. Details.
The shower door opens out, dripping water on the bathroom floor after your shower. Details.
Some sort of turbo-jet bathroom fan runs nonstop. If you close the bathroom door it won’t disturb your sleep too much. Details…
When you need ice, you call to the front desk and very quickly a nice, friendly, person arrives at your door with a bag of ice. Of course, the amount of ice is about 30% more than will fit in the ice bucket, but why should we start paying attention to details now?
When we walked out of the hotel Saturday morning, I was shocked to see a fire hydrant and a no parking zone hashed-out on the street near the art car. Wow. People were allowed to park in a fire lane on Friday.
Aside from the front desk staff, the staff at the hotel are friendly and helpful. The hotel is well located for walking to Crystal Bridges and The Momentary. I already mentioned The Hive: WOW. The art exhibited in the hotel was very good and both thought and emotion provoking.
When we checked out Monday morning, I explained our check in experience to the desk clerk (not the star employee,) saying that no matter how nice our stay was, that check-in ruined this hotel. He, at least, let me speak, but kept on shaking his head and saying “No,” as in, “No, you did not experience that.” One excuse he gave was, “The police enforce that no parking zone.” A lot of hotels have designated, hotel-controlled areas for guest loading and unloading. Details…
May I suggest to management that they coach their staff to say, “That is unacceptable and we will take steps to ensure that doesn’t happen again. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.” Even if you think the guest is just an old, fat, crank, sometimes validating his experience is enough to bring the experience up to neutral, at least. Also, a sign or two would help. But, details…
It’s been over a week since we checked out, and we have not received the “We value your opinion” email survey most good-sized, responsible, responsive hotels send.
Management at 21c Bentonville should visit another art gallery hotel, The Alexander in Indianapolis, to see how nice an experience their hotel could be. Although we probably got what we paid for because of the convenient location, and the price was only about twice what a Holiday Inn Express costs, we won’t be staying in a 21c again. As it is now, any Holiday Inn Express is nicer than the 21c Bentonville. It is unfortunate, because we are art junkies who love trips to see cool art (Ai Wei Wei on Alcatraz, Marfa, The Warhol and The Mattress Factory, our many wonderful Chicago institutions, etc.) Our subsequent road trip vacation overnights were pleasant because we stayed at the outstanding Swan Song Inn, in Marshfield, Missouri, and the very, very nice Hotel Saint Louis (a Louis Sullivan building, BTW) in St. Louis. And yes, the Holiday Inn Express in Lichtfield, Illinois, on the first night of our trip, was nicer than the 21c Bentonville.
Excellent meal (dinner) with surprise after engaging surprise. I will be back.
Would have stayed but hotel was booked.
We planned on staying at this hotel but when we called to make reservations it was at capacity. We did however dine at the restaurant, the hive it was wonderful. We also toured the hotel, so unique and beautiful.
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21c Museum Hotel Bentonville
- Tue - Sat: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
- Sun: 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
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All Day Front Desk
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