Skip to site content
Group Travel Leader Group Travel Leader Group Travel Leader

Themed Hotels: An Overnight Success

When it comes to hotels, themed properties can send a great hotel stay over the top and enhance an already memorable trip.

A hotel doesn’t simply have to be where you crash at the end of a busy day. What could be better for book lovers than being surrounded by a handpicked selection of tomes with which to curl up before bed?  Wine aficionados will love the extensive selection of wines and being immersed in the viticulture and character of Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Everyone will enjoy the fantastic experience of staying in a boutique hotel that focuses on the experiences of their guests.

Here are five themed hotels we’ve picked to please everyone in your group, from the unimpressed to the enthusiasts.

The Library Hotel

New York City

The Library Hotel in New York City is a library for book lovers. The hotel features more than 6,000 books throughout its 60 guest rooms, and if that’s not enough of a selection, the hotel is located on Library Way, only a block from the New York Public Library. The hotel has also partnered with publishers Simon & Schuster to create an e-book lending app that allows guests to check out an e-book to read on their electronic devices during their stay.

Each of the hotel’s floors is based on a different category from the Dewey Decimal System, and each room of books features a different genre. For example, the 700s are literature, so the seventh floor is the arts floor and includes rooms based on architecture and fashion design among others. Other rooms throughout the hotel include the Mythology room, the Fairy Tales room and the Astronomy room.

A popular spot with guests staying at the Library Hotel is the rooftop area, which includes the Writer’s Den and the Poetry Garden — indoor and outdoor reading and social spaces— and the Bookmarks Lounge, a literary-themed bar that serves cocktails such as the Tequila Mockingbird.

“The beauty of a themed hotel is it somehow speaks to your heart, it speaks to you,” said Adele Gutman, the senior vice president for the hotel. “It’s not necessarily meant for everyone, but for the ones who do like those things, there is nothing better.”

Accordingly, if books are not your forte, the Library Hotel Collection also includes other themed hotels like Aria for music lovers and the new Hotel X Toronto, which features numerous wellness and sports activities of all types.  It will open later this year.

21c Louisville

Louisville, Kentucky

Most of us have probably heard of this collection of “museum hotels” and the iconic colored penguins spreading across the country over the past 10 years. The Louisville hotel is the original museum hotel created by owners Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson to help revitalize the growing downtown area by infusing it with new life through their love of art.

21c stands for 21st century and the hotel incorporates contemporary art into its three components: the museum, the hotel and the restaurant. Contemporary art pieces covering a variety of mediums from sculpture to photography are featured in each area of the hotel and all guest rooms. The museum space makes up the public areas of the hotel, and each 21c location combines site-specific exhibits with its rotating collection. The Louisville location features a colorful wallpaper commission created by artist Virgil Marti and red penguins.  Each 21c has its own color. The Louisville location also includes the restaurant Proof on Main, which is a stop on the city’s Urban Bourbon Trail.

The museum hotel concept has since spread to other cities and growing downtown areas. The Louisville hotel is on Main Street and is a short walk from popular attractions like the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience and the Louisville Slugger Museum. 21c hotels are now found in six cities throughout the country: Cincinnati; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Bentonville, Arkansas; Durham, North Carolina; and Lexington, Kentucky. A seventh location is set to open this spring in the historic Gray & Dudley Building in downtown Nashville. 21c also collaborates with other museums and art institutions by loaning pieces from its private collection.