It’s mid-October, the time of year when 21C Museum Hotel starts showing up on all the “Top Hotels” lists.

Sure enough, we just got the release from 21C’s Stephanie Greene: “Condé Nast Traveler Readers Vote Louisville’s 21c Museum Hotel No. 1 Hotel in the South.”

The 2012 Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards in the November issue and on CondeNastTraveler.com places 21c atop a list of 50 hotels in the South, a list that includes Blackberry Farm in Tennessee, St. Regis Atlanta and Planters Inn in Charleston.

By our count, this is at least the third year in a row the six-year-old 21C has received top marks from Condé Nast, which has a circulation approaching 1 million people.

In the survey of tens of thousand of readers, which we’d say qualifies as “scientific,” 21c also nabbed No. 22 in the world, one of only five U.S. hotels to appear in the top 25, according to 21C and Condé Nast news releases.

Not bad considering the competition includes the global Mumbai-based Taj chain and Four Seasons.

For 2012, about 46,000 readers voted, almost doubling last year’s number of 26,000, according to Condé  Nast. Readers selected a total of 1,306 winners, prompting the magazine to break the results down by region. Rankings are based on the quality of rooms, service, food and dining, location and overall design.

“We are humbled that travelers from around the world continue to embrace the experience of 21c,” stated Steve Wilson, 21C founder and CEO in the release. “We are thrilled to be included in this peer group, but I am most proud of the high standards that the team here in Louisville continues to achieve. It would have been easy to be complacent when we were chosen the number one hotel the first time, but our team continues to push themselves not only to provide the best hotel experience, but to share cutting edge contemporary art with our guests.”

The award comes as 21C under Wilson, Laura Lee Brown Brown and Craig Greenberg is scheduled to open a 21C in Cincinnati this fall, the first outside Louisville. Other 21Cs are planned for Bentonville, Ark., Lexington, Ky. and Raleigh-Durham, N.C.

About the Condé Nast Readers’ Choice Awards Methodology: The Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Survey, begun in 1988, is available through a secure Web site at condenasttraveler.com/vote. This year’s tabulations of 46,476 responses were done by Global Market Insite, Inc., of Boston. Organization: The questionnaire contains lists of candidates in various categories (Cities, Hotels, etc.). Individual candidates are judged by relevant criteria for each. Those that receive a required minimum number of responses are deemed eligible for a Readers’ Choice Award. Evaluation: Each candidate is rated, criterion by criterion, on a five-point scale: excellent, very good, good, fair, and poor. Those scores, which represent the percentage of excellent and very good ratings, are averaged to calculate the final score published here. For more information visit the website here.

About 21c Museum Hotel: 21c Museum Hotel was founded in Louisville, Kentucky in 2006 by philanthropists and contemporary art collectors Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson. Brown and Wilson had a vision of bringing art into people’s daily lives and helping to ease suburban sprawl by supporting the revitalization of downtown Louisville. Thus, 21c was born. Housed in a series of renovated 19th century tobacco and Bourbon warehouses, 21c combines a contemporary art museum, 90 room boutique hotel and award-winning restaurant Proof on Main. The main focal point of the property is the 9,000 square foot contemporary art museum.

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