During my recent weekend trip to Bentonville, Arkansas I had the pleasure of staying at a 21C Museum Hotel and I could not wait to tell you all about it! This is a bucket list-worthy hotel that serves as a destination in itself.
Note: I was brought out to Bentonville by Crystal Bridges Museum for a paid event and they paid for my hotel room during my stay. I was not asked to write this blog post and am not affiliated with 21C Museum Hotels.
21C Bentonville Review
Bentonville is a charming, small town in Northwest Arkansas – home to the Crystal Bridges Museum, Walmart Headquarters, and a thriving community of artists.
One of the most exciting parts of my weekend in Bentonville was the 21C Museum Hotel that I stayed at.
From the moment I arrived at this gorgeous boutique hotel, I felt like I was checking in to a museum. It was an immersive, fun hotel with impressive attention to detail and phenomenal customer service. I’ve since added all of the company’s locations to my travel bucket list.
21C Museum Hotels are an experiment in hospitality, combining contemporary art, luxury hotel service, and chef-driven restaurants that contribute to and respect their surrounding community.
Located in Bentonville Square, the hotel was well-situated in the town of Bentonville and is close to the city of Fayetteville, as well.
During my stay at 21C Bentonville, I spent one night in a Luxury King room and one night in the 21c Suite.
The Luxury King was roomy, bright and thoughtfully furnished. You could easily stay in one with a couple of kids and everyone would be comfortable – with a large king bed, plenty of seating area, and a table for the kids to use for breakfast or drawing.
When I first walked into the 21c Suite, I was blown away – we quickly dubbed it “the party suite” because there was so much room you could host plenty of guests!
Two bathrooms, a separate living/dining area, private bedroom, and a giant patio-style balcony – and not to mention, the ensuite bathroom had two sinks, a privacy toilet, and wet room shower/bath area.
If you needed a second bedroom, there is a second suite option that offers that.
One of my favorite things about this museum (including the rooms) was all of the artistic details throughout, and not to mention the finishes in every room were impeccable (in both of the rooms that I stayed in). We’re talking marble sinks, great lighting in every room, everything you need to make a morning latte, etc.
Let’s talk about the beds for a moment because that is possibly the most important aspect of a hotel for me. You can present a gorgeous, luxury hotel, but if the beds offer anything less than a perfect night sleep, you’re going to lose a couple stars from me! I’m a tired mom who has been cooped up in an uncomfortable airplane seat – I need a comfortable bed to crash in!!!
The beds at 21C Museum Hotel were an absolute dream. I was able to fall asleep immediately – and sleep in! My back felt great and I woke up very well rested. The comforters were also great at keeping me warm (I’m always cold) and they even had extra blankets in the nightstands.
There were so many thoughtful appointments in the hotel room, as well. Plugs in the lamps on the nightstand. Kleenex (something many hotels do not provide). PORTABLE make-up mirror. Comfortable bath robes. In-mirror TVs. Hand-held phone extensions. (These are great if you need to use Facetime or Skype while travelling – and the kids will think they are hilarious.)
The one down side of the Luxury King for me was that it didn’t have a bath, so I was really pumped about the wet room in 21C Suite.
While the 21c Suite was jaw-dropping and would be perfect when travelling with family, or if you needed to host guests at any time during your stay, I also think the Luxury King was roomy enough for a family (or you could opt for the Luxury Double Queen). Both rooms had a sense of understated luxury, but there was no detail left unattended.
The highlights of this room had to be the:
- Nespresso machines (it’s what I drink at home so I’m always excited when a hotel room has one)
- how impeccably clean they were
- all of the fun details to explore
- and that soft, comfortable bed!
One thing to note with the room is that it comes with a mini-bar, not an in-room fridge.
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21C Bentonville Amenities
The staff was incredibly attentive while we stayed at the hotel – I don’t think I waited more than 5 minutes for anything I needed and when we had a small issue, they went ABOVE and BEYOND in making our stay even more amazing.
Amenities at the hotel included:
- 24-hour fitness center
- Bicycle rentals
- Business center
- Laundry service
- Museum shop
- Valet service
- Pet-friendly rooms
- Free Wi-Fi
I did ask about the pets because as a mom to a little girl with allergies, I was really concerned about a family vacation being ruined by an allergic reaction. The hotel assesses a $75 fee when dogs stay and that goes directly to deep cleaning the room. I will say, every room that I saw was impeccably clean so I don’t doubt their ability to remove dander and pet hair efficiently.
The museum curator also does tours (sometimes involving drinks from the Hive) and that was a really cool experience to understand deeper meanings behind the artwork on display and how the 21C Museum Hotels operate.
Proximity to Bentonville Attractions
You can walk to all of downtown Bentonville easily from 21C – whether you want to do some shopping, eat at some of the city’s best restaurants, hit up the Walmart Museum (or it’s Ice Cream Parlour), or check out the small business incubator at 8th Street Market.
You are also a short Uber ride away from the city’s other attractions – the Scott Family Amazeum Children’s Museum, the Museum of Native American History, Crystal Bridges Museum, etc.
Keep in mind that, like most small towns, many places close on Sundays or have limited hours (compared to what you may be used to at home). Make sure you look up the opening and closing hours at the venues you want to check out so that you don’t miss out.
Hive Restaurant Review
I enjoyed two meals – and a cocktail hour – at the Hive Restaurant, located in the lobby of 21C Bentonville. It’s a a gorgeous restaurant led by executive chef Matthew McClure, Arkansas’ only James Beard Award Semifinalist, five years running.
The cocktails were delicious – this one featured spice hibiscus, but I had to remove the rosemary to enjoy the drink fully as the smell overpowered the drink.
The appetizers were thoughtful and well composed. It was a fun, communal experience tucking in and building our little bites of perfection – and I cannot wait to recreate that brie, toasted pecan, honey and French loaf appetizer. We ended up ordering three of them and we were still all jockeying for the last bites…
The open kitchen features a wood-burning open stove (à la Chez Panisse) which allowed for a gorgeous, barky caramelization on my medium-rare steak. This picture doesn’t do it justice (we were in a very dark nook of the restaurant) but this steak was huge and I could barely finish a third of it. The waitress wasn’t too impressed with my side dish substitutions so consider yourself warned if you try to go off-menu.
I also enjoyed breakfast at the Hive – a pecan scone, berry apple cider smoothie, a generous fruit cup, and a latte. The latte had the faintest hint of toasted pecan which I am now craving and want to be added to all future lattes, and that pecan scone was so worth being covered in crumbs for the rest of the morning.
The 21C Museum Hotel in Bentonville Arkansas is truly a destination hotel that holds it’s own to the town’s other attractions. I had a wonderful stay and cannot wait to check out the rest of the 21C Museum Hotels with my girl!
For more resources on planning your family vacation to Bentonville, Arkansas, check out our Arkansas Travel Section here.