Arrival/Check-In: Walking into the stark-white lobby of the 21c Museum Hotel Nashville, I was immediately reminded of the hotel’s namesake — yes, it looked like a museum; no, I was not quite ready for the bright lights at the hour of my late check-in. As the young staff member at the front desk kindly chatted while checking me in, I noticed a few interesting statues behind him, one of a woman seemingly floating while holding the leash of an animal-skin rug. Again, an odd sight at the hour of my late check-in, but I made a mental note to tour the hotel in the morning and get a second look.
Within a few minutes I was headed to the elevator to venture up to my luxury king room. A few scans of the key in the elevator, one replacement keycard later when I realized it simply didn’t work, and up I went — along for the ride was a video on the elevator wall that looked like a kaleidoscope of snakes twisting in a terrarium. The darkness of the elevator made the snakes pop and illuminate the small space. Art really is subjective.
Guest Quarters: Wandering through the dark hallways of the sixth floor to my room, narrowly avoiding three penguin statues positioned together as if in conversation in the hallway, I was that person using my phone as a flashlight to find my room. Once inside, the bright-white bathroom drew my attention, featuring (MALIN+GOETZ) soaps and enough sink surface to double as a vanity, with neatly stacked towels topped with a rubber ducky.
Walking further into the room, I was drawn to the king-sized bed like a moth to a flame but distracted by the mid-century furniture and wide-open windows — two design themes I’m a sucker for. The fold-top desk held a generously sized television; inside the desk were a minibar, Nespresso maker, water bottles and some stylish glassware. I placed my bag on the seat by the window, pulled the black-out curtains closed and slept like a rock.
In the morning I pulled back the floor-to-ceiling curtains to a sunshine-filled view of the Cumberland River. The wide window ledge could serve as that reading corner we’ve all always wanted, but the call of downtown Nashville was too strong.
Services/Amenities: The hotel had more amenities than I had time for, including a spa, 24-hour fitness center equipped with Peloton bikes, 24-hour business center and full museum of contemporary art. In the morning, several visitors were touring the exhibits in the lobby and making their way to the restaurant and museum on their own accord.
The museum in Gray & Dudley (the on-site restaurant and quirky stunner on its own) is free to the public, open daily and boasts more than 10,500 square feet of exhibit space. Between the art displayed around the museum and on guestroom floors, the hotel offers one of the largest collections of contemporary art in the country. I took a self-guided tour, but 21c actually offers expert guides twice a week, with fun events mixed in, including specialty themed tours.
◆ I found a hardcover copy of Art Is the Highest Form of Hope & Other Quotes by Artists on the bedside table — I picked it up in the morning and couldn’t put it down.
◆ The hotel’s exhibits rotate, so if you’re in a 21c Museum Hotel city, check out what’s showing online and pop in for free.
◆ Only guests can see the art collection spread across guestroom floors, as you need a room key to ride the elevator.
◆ See something you like? Take it home! Like all self-respecting museums, there’s an online gift shop.
21C MUSEUM HOTEL NASHVILLE
221 Second Ave. N.
Nashville, TN 37201
tel 615 610 6400
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