Written by Arkansas Real Estate
TripAdvisor®, the world’s largest travel site*, announced this week the top 10 quirky accommodations in the U.S., as chosen by TripAdvisor editors. Travelers seeking a unique lodging experience can hunker down in one of these far-out accommodations, which include a larger-than-life beagle, a historic ferry and a subterranean B&B.
“For travelers who want a truly unique experience on vacation and stories to tell for a lifetime, these funky properties will surely fit the bill,” said Brooke Ferencsik, director of communications at TripAdvisor.
Northwest Arkansas Newspapers reported the following:
The 21c’s contemporary art was the reason it was named Thursday as one of the 10 quirkiest accommodations in the nation by the website. Others on the list include New Mexico’s Caving Inn that houses guests 70 feet below ground and the Dog Bark Inn in Idaho, a bed-and-breakfast shaped like a giant beagle.
The designation should be good for business, said Susan West, an assistant professor of hospitality administration at Arkansas Tech University in Russellville.
“Unique experiences draw visitors. It draws tourists in,” she said.
The $30 million, four-story 21c opened in Bentonville in February and features 12,000 square feet of art exhibition and event space. It’s owned by 21c Museum Hotels, founded by Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson, philanthropists and art patrons from Kentucky; a Walton family partnership; and the nonprofit Bentonville Revitalization Inc., which promotes community development in downtown Bentonville.
The Bentonville operation is the third for 21c Museum Hotels. Its flagship property in Louisville, Ky., opened in 2006, and the company opened a 156-room museum hotel in Cincinnati in November. It plans to develop a total of 15 properties over the next five years and has a hotel under construction in Durham, N.C.
The 21c in Bentonville is strategically placed in the city’s downtown area, a short walk from Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, which opened in November 2011 and has had more than 960,000 visitors since then, according to a museum spokesman.
Julie Cassetina, a spokesman for TripAdvisor, said the 10 hotels selected were not ranked and were chosen byTripAdvisor editors for their uniqueness. She noted each of the hotels were well-rated by TripAdvisor users. The travel website also issued the quirky lists in 2006, 2010 and 2012.
Godwin-Charles Ogbeide, associate professor of hospitality management at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, said the TripAdvisor designation will give the 21c hotel further clout and help it draw more visitors, not only nationally but internationally. He said more and more hotel users are turning to online sources to help them make their decisions on where to stay and TripAdvisor is highly influential.
“It’s a big win for 21c. It’s a big win for Bentonville. It’s a big win for Northwest Arkansas,” he said.
Emmanuel Gardinier, general manager for the 21c in Bentonville, said he was thrilled that TripAdvisor chose to highlight the hotel’s unique niche as a contemporary art museum. In September, a new collection will rotate through. Anyone can walk in and view the art at the hotel; it’s not limited to guests and available for viewing 24 hours a day.
“Our concept is obviously a little different,” he said. “I think the designation will help put us on the map.”
He added it was great to be included in such an eclectic list of lodging establishments, including one in a lighthouse and another in a ferry boat.
“Nowadays people want something different,” he said.