BENTONVILLE (KFSM) - The 21C hotel in Bentonville was evacuated early Thursday (Nov. 20) afternoon because of a fire in the kitchen at The Hive restaurant, which is located in the hotel, according to a 21C spokeswoman.
The fire started after 12:00 p.m. in the hood system above the grill and was contained to the duct, according to Director of Public Relations Stephanie Greene.
The Hive will not be open tonight, but the hotel will be open to guests, Greene said.
"We don't know the cause of the fire," said Bentonville Fire Department Chief Clark Wilkerson. "We don't know that for a while."
Those who had been inside stood on the nearby sidewalks while fire crews investigated. No fire was visible from the outside, but heavy smoke billowed from the hotel.
Anastasia Walker, who came to Bentonville from New York City on business, said she was taking a nap when she heard the hotel alarms.
"I was like 'Is this really happening?'" she said. "I probably shouldn't have waited, but I waited maybe two minutes to see if maybe it was going to stop or was maybe an accident, but it wasn't."
Some guests, like David Oman, say the hotel handled the situation well.
"Look, accidents happen from time to time, and people deal with them. This team was very professional and very sensitive. And, they explained what was going on transparently, and got the hotel opened as quickly as they could," Oman said. "I think that adds credibility, so we will recognize that. We will be glad to come back some time."
Walker said she still plans to stay at 21C again in February.
According to Wilkerson, while all of Bentonville's fire squads were responding to the fire at the hotel, the Rogers Fire Department covered the rest of the city in case of emergency.
The 104-room luxury hotel is one of three 21C Museum Hotels in the country. The other two are in Louisville, Kentucky and Cincinnati, Ohio.
According to the company's found, the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art inspired him to build a hotel in Bentonville.
The hotel, which opened nearly two years ago, has multiple art galleries, which rotate different contemporary collections throughout the year.