The moving penguins at 21C

How many times has a hotel made you laugh out loud?

I stayed at the 21C in Louisville, Kentucky recently, a luxury boutique hotel that doubles as a (free) modern art museum. Outside the hotel, a large gold reproduction of Michelangelo’s David greets passerby, and red plastic penguins line the roof.

Those penguins are also scattered throughout the hotel and the staff moves them around. When I woke up in the morning, two of the 3 foot tall birds had been positioned outside my door. I wondered if I had tasted too many bourbons, but decided the front desk was having fun with me.


And when you wait for the elevator, your image is projected on the wall. No tugging that thong discreetly or picking a raspberry seed from your teeth; the person coming up behind you will see.


The 21C’s dungeon-like fitness room

The Rooms

I love Malin + Goetz bath products, which are in the bathroom, and you get a robe, turndown with chocolates and an extraordinarily comfortable bed. There was also a rubber duck shower companion. What I did not get was a window; my room had a thick white brick wall hidden behind drapes. It made me slightly claustrophobic.


There is a teeny (and windowless) gym in the basement, next to the spa. You can use the steam room and sauna for free, but have to alert the staff in advance, so they can heat it up. I like that eco-conscious choice.

21C also has free bikes, but the day I asked for one, two bikes were already out and all the others had flat tires. If you still want to ride around the city, there is a bike share program, Louisville B-cycle, with a station just a couple of blocks away, along with a marked bike lane.


Artwork at 21C; wait to catch a puff of smoke


We had a dinner catered by the restaurant, and the food was quite delicious. I was a little sad at breakfast, though; the grits are made with ham broth, so there is no vegetarian (or Kosher) way to enjoy them. I try to have grits whenever I am in the south, but often encounter no veggie option. But a block away, I found Atlantic No. 5 which had house pickled vegetables and several entree salad options. Plus, another reason to smile, for Petter Rabbit lovers; a vegetarian sandwich, Mr. McGregor’s Garden.

Note: I was a guest of Lincoln on this trip and my accommodations were paid for; I did not receive compensation for this post, and opinions expressed are my own.