Durham, North Carolina
21c Museum Hotel Durham
What it is
A 125-room bastion of creativity in a 1937 skyscraper, with a 10,500 square foot art museum right on site.
What it isn't
Hangry. The property has a locally lauded restaurant, Counting House, helmed by chef Jef Seizer (their boozy brunch is legendary; get the sourdough waffles and Monte Cristo sandwich if you know what’s good for you).
What we think
None other than Shreve, Lamb & Harmon—better known as “the architecture firm that designed the Empire State Building”—designed Durham’s Hill Building, complete with Art Deco flourishes like fluted doors, silver-leafed ceilings, and terrazzo floors. When 21C enlisted New York design firm Deborah Berke partners to revamp the interior as a hotel, the team made sure to preserve the structure’s storied bones, while elevating each space for today. Guest rooms nod to their roots with channeled headboards and chrome fixtures, but have thoroughly modern amenities (Malin + Goetz toiletries, original art pieces and 42” HDTV tv’s). Starting rooms are 300 square feet, so we recommend upgrading to a more spacious Deluxe Suite if you’re traveling en famille; they’re 510-square-feet and have a totally separate living space, plus a bathroom with two sinks.
You're here because
Spa treatments include access to their steam room and sauna. On the menu? A hot river stone massage you’re sure will make you feel five years younger (at least for a day).
You’re nothing less than famished after wandering the on-site art exhibits, and blessedly, Counting House is there to fuel you for a night on the town. You nab a bar stool under a dangling art installation and order what certainly qualifies as edible art: a Pretty in Pink cocktail (cranberry, vodka, rosemary, cucumber and rose water).
Restaurants & Bars
Counting House - Fresh seafood
Durham’s City Center, a 15 mile drive from Raleigh-Durham International Airport and just three blocks from the Durham Bulls Athletic Park (yup, the team from Susan Sarandon’s 1988 rom-com “Bull Durham.”)