21c Museum Hotels Highlight Contemporary Art & Creative Programs in Cincinnati

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21c-Cocktail-Terrace21c Cocktail Terrace

The 156-room 21c Cincinnati hotel is the perfect property for creative groups visiting the Queen City. The art gallery boutique is set inside the former Metropole Hotel, which graced the Backstage District more than 100 years ago. After a $58 million renovation of the building, 21c opened in November 2012.  Located across the street from the Aronoff Center for the Arts and next to the Contemporary Arts Center of Cincinnati, the hotel features modern, pop-style art from around the world in all guestrooms and public spaces.

As you glance up the historic staircase, you’ll see a solarium of glass and brick lining the building’s 7-floor exterior. The outdoor tapestry of fiber optic threads and woven LED’s light up the building. Another eye-catching design aspect is 21c Cincinnati’s trademark yellow penguins that move from place to place.

“The hotel provides a creative atmosphere for groups,” says GM Gerry Link. “Being completely immersed and surrounded by art really inspires those who meet here. The outcome is beyond what the attendees expect because it gets them thinking in a new, creative way.”

Topping the list of creative spaces is the 90-seat Cocktail Terrace, the only rooftop lounge in the city. The group enters the space via private elevator, which will lead them out to the lounge filled with plush couches, bar stools and a hot tub overlooking downtown Cincy. The bar seems out of character for the Midwestern neighborhood, as evident in the combat-style boots, trendy black attire and artful eyeliner worn by some of the servers.

The lounge includes creative “poptail” cocktails, using fresh ingredients and innovative recipes. We love the Elixir libation mixed with Finlandia vodka and homemade Ginko energy drink with smoked herbs.

“The cocktail terrace is a social venue for groups to really interact with one another in a one-of-a-kind setting,” says Link. The rooftop venue really puts on a show all by itself.”

For groups, combine fresh drinks with a sunny spa session during the day. The onsite spa will coordinate with groups for larger events on the roof.

The 90-seat Metropole restaurant serves a modern take on a traditional cooking technique. Using a wood-burning hearth, Executive Chef Michael Paley chars almost every item that comes out of the kitchen. Whether it is some of the tender prime meats, the cocktail garnishes or the bushels of romaine lettuce for the smoky Caesar salads, you’ll see and taste the wood burns from the flame-filled hearth.

The restaurant includes a private lounge, an expansive bar with views of the open-air kitchen and a 12-person private dining room. Metropole features some of the original elements of the building; mosaic tile floors from the Turkish bath found onsite, arched windows, historic moldings and ceiling plasterwork. The contemporary dining space is painted with tones of brown and eggplant and decorated with leather banquettes and copper furnishing with glazed tiles.

21c offers private sessions with artists, who inform groups on the inspiration for their pieces and how the group can relate that to their meetings. There are also classes where the group can actually create a work of art together. The group gets to think outside their comfort zone and look at things differently. Whether they are doing a gallery tour or a scavenger hunt, they will be inspired once they learn what the art truly means.

“If a group comes in with an open mind and interacts with the art, they will leave with creativity beyond expectations,” says Link. “Not only will you discover your own personal creativity, but you’ll discover something new about your organization and colleagues.”

21c Cincinnati includes 8,000-sf of gallery space that is used for meeting/event groups. The wide range of spaces includes a ballroom with capacity for 350 guests. All meeting spaces are lined with original artwork as part of the 21c’s rotating art gallery.