French hotel operator Accor Hotels has suspended operations at its 21c Museum Hotel properties in the U.S. because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
21c has nine locations, including downtown Bentonville.
The temporary closures started at noon Saturday (March 28).
“This is a day none of us could have imagined a month ago, and although it is heartbreaking in many ways, we know this is the best decision for the health and welfare of our guests, our teams and our communities,” founder Steve Wilson wrote on the company’s website Saturday. “Temporarily closing our properties is the most important thing we can do to help slow the spread of COVID-19.”
Wilson and Laura Lee Brown co-founded 21c Museum Hotels in 2006. In July 2018, they sold 85% of the Louisville, Ky.-based company to Accor, while retaining 15% ownership.
Bentonville’s 21c Museum Hotel – a combined art museum, hotel and restaurant – opened in February 2013 and includes 100 guest rooms and four suites. It has been managed from inception by Emmanuel Gardinier, whose diverse background in hospitality spans more than 30 years and includes world-class European hotels and Caribbean island resorts.
A statement on the hotel’s website reads:
“We currently live in a world that is changing rapidly – by the day and by the hour. As we navigate through these times of change and uncertainty, we do so with the safety of both our loyal and valued guests and employees as our highest priority. We must support our local authorities as they work to halt the spread of COVID-19. This certainly isn’t goodbye, it’s farewell for now.”
Bentonville’s 21c Museum Hotel is home to The Hive restaurant. It suspended dine-in service March 20 following a statewide directive from Gov. Asa Hutchinson to do so.
A number of hotels in Northwest Arkansas have also closed, most notably three of the five largest in the region.