Landing her dream job as director of sales and marketing at 21c Museum Hotel Lexington in Kentucky has been four years in the making for Jennifer Davis. Born and raised in Lexington, she headed to New York and New Jersey after graduating with a hospitality degree from the University of Kentucky. When the 21c project was announced back in 2012, “home called,” as Davis puts it, so she applied for the role. Four years later, in late February, the property officially opened in the former First National Bank building, with Davis holding the reins. Davis talked with Connect about the effect she hopes 21c will have on her hometown.
What excites you about this project?
It’s an experience, not a hotel. I worked for Hilton for eight years, and their brand is strong and great, but this is something different. Guests come in and see an art museum and eat wonderful food, and the rooms are so unique. It’s really supporting Kentucky’s brand because [the company] was started in Louisville.
What is the significance of the opening to the city?
Anywhere 21c goes, it’s a catalyst for economic and cultural development. It gets people wanting to be downtown again; that’s the core of 21C’s mission. People are commenting to us, “Oh my gosh, we’re so happy you’re here. Lexington needed you so bad.”
Can you speak to the juxtaposition of a contemporary hotel housed in a 100-year-old building?
It’s kind of cool because when you’re in a guest room, you see contemporary furniture and lines; then you look out the window and you realize [the window is] from 1912. It’s perfectly imperfect. It all reminds people of where they are and what the building once was. We don’t want to take away from that—just enhance it.
What makes your meeting space special?
All the meeting space doubles as an art gallery. We also have the most high-end AV out there: drop-down projectors that come down on an elevator, facial recognition conferencing technologies and things as simple as a lot of outlets where people can plug in their phones.