This post is sponsored by 21c Museum Hotel Bentonville and all opinions are my own.
Hello, lovelies! I’m SO excited to tell you all about our wonderful time in Bentonville, Arkansas last weekend. I attended the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville and had only been to Bentonville for a short amount of time. I was thrilled to have the chance to explore for a weekend! Well, it was one of my favorite weekends this year by far! Bentonville is a quaint little town with tons of personality and only a three and a half hour road trip from where I currently live in Little Rock, Arkansas! In the past few years that I’ve lived in Little Rock, I’ve heard about up-and-coming Bentonville more and more and knew it was a necessary weekend getaway.
For this weekend adventure, we stayed at a beautiful boutique hotel called 21c Museum Hotel right on the Bentonville Square, where restaurants, shops and gorgeous sights are only a few steps away. I had heard of this hotel before and was so excited to finally get to experience it! Northwest Arkansas is a gorgeous area with tons of southern hospitality, which you know, is my cup of tea!
The 21c Museum Hotel, short for 21st century, opened its first location in Louisville, Kentucky in 2006 by art enthusiasts and husband and wife team, Steve Wilson and Laura Lee Brown. Their intent of sharing contemporary art with the local community led to the expansion of the 21c Museum Hotel. Today, the hotel locations include Cincinnati, Ohio, Bentonville, Arkansas, Durham, North Carolina, Lexington, Kentucky, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Nashville, Tennessee and Kansas City, Missouri.
At first arrival, a staff member greeted us at our car with a cart to help load our belongings. The hotel has FREE WiFi and also offers valet parking, which is a huge plus and major brownie points from me! Upon entering the lobby, I immediately noticed the outpouring of natural light and the impeccable uniqueness of this museum hotel. The front lobby’s current exhibit, “The Future is Female” showcases hand-selected pieces from the owners’ collection.
When you finish taking in the art, you can proceed to cleanse your palette at the ever-unique and artful restaurant, The Hive. Guests can enjoy fine spirits and delicious eats amongst the one-of-kind art pieces, all are made from recycled and refurbished materials. Our first evening, we enjoyed an exquisite five-course meal, each with a beverage pairing, a fun atmosphere and belly laughs. The wait staff was phenomenal and prompt. The executive chef, Chef Matthew McClure, is a six-time James Beard Award Semifinalist. He made his way to our table to say hello, which was an absolute treat!
Our room was exceptionally clean and adorable! Again, the abundance of natural light from the giant windows instantly created a warm and inviting space for us. The room decor was intentional and thoughtful, a perfect accommodation to the rest of the museum hotel. Our beds were comfortable and pristine white. The bathroom even had gold accents, a purple glow light and a rubber ducky in the shower! All fun and unique aspects specifically tailored to 21c. Each morning, we enjoyed Espresso from a Nespresso machine in our room, courtesy of the 21c!
Only a hop, skip and a jump from the 21c Museum Hotel is the downtown Bentonville Square. I’ve seen a few downtown squares in my life and I have to say that Bentonville’s is my favorite! The square has character unlike any that I’ve ever seen. Plus, there are more than enough top-rated restaurants to choose from only within walking distance from the hotel! Flowers and greenery add personality and charm to this local-loving space. Some of our favorite spaces included Preacher’s Son, Onyx Coffee Lab, Tavola Trattoria and The Walmart Museum.
On Saturday morning, we strolled through the square and enjoyed the Bentonville Farmer’s Market. I have also been to many Farmer’s Markets and will admit this one is a top-favorite, as well! There was live music, fresh flowers, vegetables, artisan crafts and so many happy, smiling faces. It was pure joy to walk around and see the town of Bentonville come together for this Saturday morning local summer hangout spot.
A trip to Bentonville, Arkansas, isn’t complete without experiencing the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. This museum is unlike anything I’ve seen in my entire life. Your self-guided tour begins in Crystal Bridges‘ permanent collection, featuring paintings and sculptures from centuries ago. As you weave through the labyrinth of priceless artwork, you’ll find there’s something for everyone. Personally, I enjoy seeing French and Landscape paintings, particularly those that reflect the 18th and 19th centuries.
It was easy to spend hours upon hours wandering through this magical place, filled to the brim with creativity and awe. I had many double-take moments when just looking at a piece once wasn’t enough to fully appreciate it. In my opinion, there is so much history in the museum, that one simply cannot breeze through in a short amount of time. We made sure to slow down, enjoy the pieces as we came across them and soaked in all of the beauty. We took a quick break at the museum’s restaurant, Eleven, for iced tea and cheeseburgers, which were fantastic!
The seasonal exhibits at the museum were Nature’s Nation and Color Field. Both showcased unique pieces tailored to each theme. While Nature’s Nation exhibit was thoughtfully and intentionally featured inside of the museum under dim light, Color Field was a particularly whimsical exhibit located on the museum grounds, including one of my personal favorite artists, Dale Chihuly. His works include colorful glass sculptures.
Saturday evening, we made our way to the North Forest on Crystal Bridges’ grounds for the summer concert series, featuring live music, food trucks, activities and popsicles. The atmosphere was laid back and exciting with the locals of Bentonville. We spent nearly the entire day at Crystal Bridges and loved every second of it. Not only is the museum a must-see, but also the grounds and trails surrounding it. The entire property is a masterpiece and so neatly kept.
Sunday morning, we ventured out to The Buttered Biscuit for breakfast and it was delightful. We returned to 21c to checkout and, as always, the staff was beyond kind and courteous. They retrieved our vehicle and helped load our luggage back into the car. I really can’t rave enough about the hospitality at 21c. They were incredible and guest-focused. We can’t wait to be back for another visit!
After we checked out of 21c, we made our way back to Crystal Bridges to walk the trails and toured the Frank Lloyd Wright Bachman-Wilson House. This house was originally built in New Jersey, but when it was threatened with flood water, the house was moved and put back together piece-by-piece at Crystal Bridges in 2013. The architecture is truly amazing! We learned of the history and big move from New Jersey to Bentonville on an audio tour. Read more about the Frank Lloyd Wright House here.
If you haven’t visited Bentonville, Arkansas, go ahead and put it on your list of must-see places! We had the best time adventuring around the beautiful town while experiencing its local cuisine and activities. I hope y’all get the chance to visit this boutique hotel and if you do, let me know so I can hear all about your Bentonville activities! Also, let me know if you have any questions and I would be happy to answer them!