Strictly speaking, pink penguins aren’t native to Durham, but they’ve found a home here, and their presence is making the local environment even more hospitable for art enthusiasts.
No, Durham doesn’t have a new exotic zoo. We’re talking about the pink penguins that are the symbol of the 21c Museum Hotel. (Though a real life pink penguin would be pretty great. And, to be precise, the 21c’s penguins are actually fuchsia.)
The 21c is a boutique hotel that is also home to a free, 24-hour art museum open to the public. Featuring both a permanent collection and revolving exhibits, the 21c brings yet another venue for contemporary art into the middle of Downtown Durham. The works come from exciting artists from around the globe, and many are commissioned specially for the 21c. Tours are offered most Wednesdays and Fridays at 5 p.m.
Visitors can also find artworks decorating the dining room of the 21c’s restaurant and bar, The Counting House. The restaurant celebrates North Carolina seafood, with fresh catches from the coast prepared by rotisserie and roasting techniques. There is also an emphasis on fresh, seasonal ingredients, and an innovative cocktail menu that can add a special touch to a meal or become the centerpiece of a night on the town.
Guests staying at the 21c will also find artworks throughout the hotel, including in the spa and lounge located in the basement, which used to be the vault of the bank that was originally housed in the building. The rooms are decorated in an art deco style, ensuring that all aspects of the stay are imbued with an artistic twist.
The 21c is just one of the memorable places you can stay in Durham, and new ones are added all the time. Check out places like The Durham, a boutique hotel with a restaurant and rooftop bar from James Beard Award-winning chef Nadrew Reusing; the Jack Tar, a modern 75-room boutique hotel; a new Residence Inn built in the imprint a former hospital; and two Home2 Suites. Visit the hotels section of this website to explore all of Durham’s lodging options, and see the full list of hotels under development at the new developments page.