21c Museum Hotel, Bentonville
In 2011, the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art put sleepy Bentonville, Arkansas, on the world art map. And the opening of the 21c, part of a growing brand of hotels known for their contemporary art collections in second-tier cities (Louisville; Cincinnati), is reinforcing that position. A two-story-tall metal tree with basketball hoops for branches stands in the lobby courtyard; in the gym, a Batman sculpture hovers over the treadmills. The 104 light-filled rooms have their own cheeky touches—pillows silkscreened with animal portraits; a rubber duck in the bath—all courtesy of avant-garde designer Deborah Berke. And if the stylish guests mingling with locals in the lobby gallery and Hive restaurant are any indication, the allure of Bentonville as a hip weekend getaway is spreading quickly.