This is one hot spot in the ‘hood.


This unique “chain” of hotel/museums has, at last count, five locations.
I was part of a private art tour and lunch at the Durham, North Carolina hotel. It’s right in the center of the revitalized downtown area with DPAC (Durham Performing Arts Center) just a few blocks away and many really fine restaurants in the area. Parking is not a problem…

It’s actually 21c Museum Hotels. Yes, it is, in a sense, a museum. Actually, it’s a private art gallery, showing only modern, 21st Century art (hence the name.) All artists whose work is exhibited must be living.
Sort of unique, isn’t it?

21c Durham lobbyIMG_9187_wm

Part of the lobby, here showing the work of Lalla Essaydi of Morocco.

“21c was founded by Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson, contemporary art collectors and preservationists who have a passionate belief in the power of innovative and thought-provoking art to transform communities. Brown and Wilson founded 21c with a mission of broadening the audience for and deepening appreciation of contemporary art.”
The collection is open to the public, free of charge, and is accessible at any time the hotel is open.

Then there is the hotel of 125 rooms and suites. We were shown, as part of our private, guided tour, the penthouse suite.

21c hotel, suite IMG_9207_wm

The terrace of the suite was , as they say, to die for. How about a soak in this tub?



The view from the bedroom, looking West, toward Chapel Hill.

And then there is the restaurant

“A showcase for high-quality seasonal ingredients, Counting House presents a global perspective on regional dishes and celebrates North Carolina’s rich heritage of fresh seafood with menus that feature rotisserie and roasting techniques. The bar and lounge is a welcoming place to taste innovative house-made cocktails, sip aperitifs, sample local craft brews, and explore broad bourbon and wine lists.”

bar at Counting House IMG_9198_wm

The bar scene.

They are  having a special Christmas Eve Menu which looks wonderful!


The penguin is the “mascot” of the hotel chain, and each museum/hotel has its own color: Durham is this magenta pink!

The entire building had, in its previous life, been a bank. On the main floor is this:


Very art deco!





This was the main bank center, with tellers lined up along the side here, between the posts. The room is now used for private parties, including weddings!


Sorry about the poor quality of these images: it was very difficult with that intense interior lighting!

Hotel C21 bank vault IMG_9193_wm

You can have cocktails down in the safe deposit vault! How cool is that?

So, if you’re in the area I highly recommend a visit to the
21cMuseum Hotel Durham

and…be sure to let us know what you think!