21c Museum Hotel and The Hive

Andrea Adams with 21c Museum Hotel GM.

Northwest Arkansas. An unexpected surprise of incredible art and refined country cooking.

In my humble opinion, not very many people know Bentonville other than as Wal-Mart town. This is the birthplace of Sam Walton’s billion-dollar empire; a small town of 35,000 people where skyscrapers and traffic jams do not exist and downtown is a sprawling 1.5 square miles. Flying into the region’s airport puts you in the middle of green pastures.

So imagine my surprise when I discovered in my preliminary trip research that this small town boasts a new world-class museum and an art hotel to boot. I booked a flight and set out to explore.

Bentonville Square Fountain

Bentonville Square Fountain

The charming thing about the region of Northwest Arkansas is that is made up of many small towns, all within driving distance of one another: Bentonville, Rogers, Fayetteville, Springdale, Siloam Springs, Huntsville and Eureka Springs. A little short on time, I decided to concentrate most of my trip in Bentonville, and then spend the day in Fayetteville with a quick drive to Rogers.

In Bentonville, my point of contact was Blair Cromwell, VP Communications at Bentonville Convention & Visitors Bureau. She and I met for dinner at Table Mesa Bistro in downtown Bentonville, and it felt like I had known her for a long time. Blair gave me the low down of her city, and sprinkled me with ideas on what to see in neighboring towns. Armed with my welcome kit, maps, guides, and a full stomach of Mexican food with a modern twist, I walked cross the square to 21c Museum Hotel for a good night’s sleep.

21c museum hotel lobby

21c Museum Hotel Lobby adorned with art

 

21c Museum Hotel Room

Stylish 21c Museum Hotel Room

21c Museum Hotel is unlike ANY other hotel I’ve ever stayed. And I’ve stayed in quite a few – super ritzy, boutique, resorts, 5-star, budget, chain hotels, motels, you name it. 21c sets the bar on uniqueness. Labeling itself as an art gallery with rooms, it is easy to see why this hotel has been named the #1 Hotel New Hotel in the US by TripAdvisor. During my visit this fall, the there was a Cuban art installation, and it started from outside the hotel, in the courtyard, leading to the lobby, the gallery space, and throughout every floor.  Walking alongside the hotel’s general manger, Emmanuel Gardinier, he pointed out the hotel ‘mascot’, the Green Penguins. You will find them in the most unusual places: on the rooftop, in the restaurant, behind the lobby sofa. Actually, I’m not sure that we can label 21c’s lobby as a lobby. You see, there is no front desk, no designated check-in area, and no real lobby. It’s all part of their ‘we are an art gallery’ philosophy.

21c Museum Hotel The Hive

The Hive

21c Museum Hotel GM Emmanuel Gardinier and Andrea Adams

21c Museum Hotel GM Emmanuel Gardinier and Andrea Adams

Stay tuned for part 2 of my travels to Northwest Arkansas as I explore more art!

The rooms are well-appointed, with luxurious bedding, high-end furniture, and sophisticated art. The Malin + Goetz toiletries are just delightful, richly moisturizing and fragrant. Most of the items that you find in your room are also for sale in their eclectic bookshop. All in all, the art comes in a close second to the most popular area of the hotel: The Hive Bar/Restaurant. Headed up by executive chef and Arkansas native Matthew McClure, the restaurant is stylish and the food is amazing and all locally sourced. Mr. McClure likes to call it refined country cooking, and the evidence of his roots are clearly conceptualized on the menu.

Country Cooking at The Hive

Country Cooking at The Hive

The Hive Chef Matthew McClure and Andrea Adams

The Hive Chef Matthew McClure and Andrea Adams

With a made to order breakfast of scrambled eggs, local corn grits and organic sausage, I took the very scenic and tranquil walk from 21c to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

Breakfast at The Hive

Breakfast at The Hive

Trail to Crystal Bridges Museum of Art

Trail to Crystal Bridges Museum of Art

Stay tuned for part 2 of my travels to Northwest Arkansas as I explore more art!

 

My Address Diary:

Table Mesa Bistro, Bentonville, AR

The Hive, Bentonville, AR

21c Museum Hotel Bentonville, AR

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art Members get 10% off of 21c’s best available room rate

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR

Crystal Bridges’ Instagram page

Eleven, Bentonville, AR

Integrated Massage Spa (I.M. Spa), Fayetteville, AR

Pinnacle Hills Promenade, Rogers, AR

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