What do art installations, European-inspired cuisine and rooftop bars have in common?
They are amenities in new boutique hotels coming to downtown Cincinnati.
Boutique hotels – which tend to be smaller, offer unique rooms and specialized services - have long been a European mainstay and have increased in popularity in large metropolitan cities like New York, Chicago and Boston.
In Cincinnati, three historic buildings have been or will be renovated into boutique hotels to provide more rooms, more retail space and more culinary choices for both out-of-town travelers and local residents who choose to stay closer to home and “staycation,” officials say.
Last week, the City of Cincinnati approved a deal that would convert the former Cincinnati Enquirer building
at 617 Vine St. into a $27 million hotel. SREE Hotels
LLC of North Carolina said it plans to open the 238-room hotel and 12,000 feet of retail space on the street level by the end of 2014. Full details of hotel amenities have not been disclosed. The company operates 30 hotels in four states and is franchised with Marriott International, Hilton Hotels, Intercontinental Hotels and Starwood Hotels.
The hotel would add 35 full-time and 20 part-time employees.
“It is always great when we can preserve and restore one of our historic, old buildings in Cincinnati,” Mayor Mark Mallory says. “The deal also illustrates the increasing demand for more hotel rooms in Cincinnati. We have been focused on creating providing a great visitor experience for all of our guests, and that is paying off with increased tourism and convention business.”
The 21c Museum Hotel
, on schedule to open by the end of this year, will add 156 hotel rooms and suites to the former Hotel Metropole
as well as an 8,000-square-foot contemporary art museum.
The hotel will also feature a rooftop bar and spa. The restaurant and bar, which will be named Metropole, will emphasize Cincinnati’s Germanic beginning and will use local ingredients. ?
The Neoclassical-styled Metropole, which first opened in 1912, was added to the National Register of Historic Place in June 2009.
The hotel recently began accepting reservations online at www.21cmuseumHotels.com
beginning in January 2013 and beyond, says Molly Swyers, spokeswoman for Louisville-based 21 C Museum Hotels.
“In our minds, there isn't a more ideal location for 21c than in the heart of a city's cultural district, and so we are thrilled to have the Contemporary Art Center next door, the Aronoff Center across the street, Fountain Square just a block away, and many other cultural institutions nearby,’’ Swyers says. “We are very excited to do our part to contribute to the growing vibrancy of downtown Cincinnati.”
She says the company anticipates hosting job fairs in September.
The Eagle Realty Group renovated the historic Phelps Apartment building, across from Lytle Park on East Fourth Street, into a 134-room Residence Inn
, which opened in March 2011. The Phelps runs at about more than 80 percent occupancy and is among the top-ranked Residence Inn extended stay hotels in their system, Eagle Realty officials say. The Phelps bar
offers craft cocktails and small bites. It was the first new hotel in downtown Cincinnati in 30 years.
Across downtown and tucked away is the Symphony Hotel Bed and Breakfast
, which is likely more known locally for its nightly five-course dinners
. The hotel, across the street from Music Hall, is a restored mansion that offers just four rooms, all of which are named after composers. Rooms are decorated with antiques and have a European flair.
While each hotel will have unique offerings, they all will showcase a slice of Cincinnati’s rich history, architecture and influence – which just may be the true definition of boutique.
By Chris Graves
Chris Graves, is the assistant vice president of digital and social media at the Powers Agency, and would love to know of other Boutique hotels in the city. (Follow her on Twitter)