Historic Lexington hotel to host ribbon-cutting ceremony

Ben Johnson

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Lexington’s 21c Museum Hotel — a combination boutique hotel, contemporary art museum and locally sourced restaurant — will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony and party on Monday to celebrate its grand opening. 

The hotel, located downtown in the 100-year-old Fayette National Bank Building at 117 Main St. will feature 88 rooms including five unique suites with costs starting at $199 per night.

Jennifer Davis, 21c Lexington’s director of sales and marketing, said the 7,000 square feet of exhibition space and the chef-driven restaurant make 21c Lexington more than a place to just spend the night.

“21c is a union of hospitality, design and culinary creativity — all anchored by a multi-venue contemporary art museum with exhibitions, interactive site-specific art installations and a full roster of cultural programming,” Davis said.

The museum, open 365 days a year to the public and free of charge, will exhibit contemporary art organized primarily from the 21c collection of over 2,000 works, which includes paintings, sculptures, photography, performances and other digital art.

The curated exhibitions, which rotate every six-to-nine months, will be woven through the entirety of the building giving guests and visitors the opportunity to discover art at every turn; in the lobby, the restaurant and bar, the elevators, the hallways and even on the sidewalk.

21c Lexington will also work with the local art community to offer free events open to the public including artist lectures, poetry readings, live performances and film screenings. For $5 per session, 21c will offer Yoga with Art in its galleries.

Lockbox, 21c Lexington’s restaurant, is headed by executive chef Jonathan Searle, and will focus on local, high-quality ingredients from around the Bluegrass with the price of entrees varying from $15-32.

Searle began his culinary career in Lexington at Bourbon n’ Toulouse and Bellini’s before moving to 21c Louisville’s Proof on Main, which Bon Appetit’s chose as one of the “10 Best Hotels for Food Lovers.”

“His menu at Lockbox will highlight simple ingredients with a nod to Kentucky’s rich Southern heritage and Lexington’s own cultural and agricultural identities,” Davis said.

Davis said the building’s design is also reason enough for visiting.

The 15-story building, Lexington’s first skyscraper, was originally designed by New York-based architects McKim, Mead, and White, famous for the Brooklyn Museum and Pennsylvania Station.

When New York-based architects Deborah Berke Partners began construction on 21c Lexington in June 2014 they embraced the building’s original features to create a sense of contrast.

“The modern design is combined with the restoration of the building’s Ionic Order exterior columns, marbled walls, Tennessee Pink marble flooring and vaulted ceilings with ornamental plaster patterns,” Davis said. “With our first property just up the road in Louisville, we’ve had eyes on Lexington for a while. With active arts, culture and educational communities, a burgeoning culinary scene and proximity to horse farms and The Kentucky Bourbon Trail, Lexington is a natural fit for the brand.”

The 21c Lexington ribbon-cutting and open house will begin at 3 p.m. on Monday followed by a museum tour at 4 p.m. and a party at 8 p.m.