The modern traveler – influenced by the rise of boutique hotels – knows nothing quite fashions a hotel like its decor, craving the unique, personal, 'cool' and trendy. And nothing embraces 'trendy' more than art.
In 2006, the 21c Museum Hotels brand launched, revolutionizing the hotel-museum hybrid with eight hotels showcasing contemporary artworks at both a global and local scale.
Though they lead as one of the prominent names in the world of art hospitality, there are a number of boutique properties with distinct art collections, galleries and museums of their own. And they still exist as hidden gems for the art aficionado from Thailand to Australia, France to South Korea.
Even if you aren’t particularly enthused by art, these 10 hotels create a definitive experience through their displays, as they seamlessly infuse hospitality with local culture via art.
The Siam | Bangkok, Thailand
The Vinyl Room at The Siam Hotel — Photo courtesy of The Siam Hotel
Idyllically situated along the shores of Bangkok’s Chao Phraya River, the art-deco style of The Siam is somewhat of a design marvel in itself. Built to reflect Thai royalty, the property plays with space, ensuring guests’ privacy on the shores of a hectic city.
The 39 rooms and villas range from 860 to 1400 square feet, and the property’s common areas, as well as its open corridors, act as galleries for guests to peruse at their leisure.
"Art is core to the experience of The Siam," says Nick Downing, the hotel’s general manager. "Guests often refer to The Siam as a 'living museum.' Our owner endlessly curates the collection throughout the hotel; often seen walking through the corridors and spaces of the hotel with a new piece he has found in his favorite antique store or at a hidden auction in some corner of the world."
Whether passing original travel posters and vintage cameras on the way to the guestrooms, offering private collections of their own, or unwinding in the Vinyl Room (a collection of 500 vinyl records curated by The Siam’s owner Krissada Sukosol Clapp), the hotel houses 5,000 items, enviable to any collector and intriguing to any guest.
- The Siam
Art Paradiso Hotel | Incheon, South Korea
A range of mediums and international artworks on display at Art Paradiso Hotel — Photo courtesy of Small Luxury Hotels of the World
Opened in September 2018, the 58-room boutique hotel at the center of Paradise City combines Korean and international art to create an eclectic gallery for visitors.
Designed to showcase the sculptures and various works in traditional gallery lighting, the hotel was finished with marble floors and mirrored ceilings which reflect the statement lighting ideal for viewing Art Paradiso’s collection.
The lobby welcomes guests with a statement piece created by Nam June Paik, inspired by Alfred Hitchcock’s film, "The Birds." The elevators were designed by Korean graffiti artist, Xeva, and the suites display a range of international artwork, from the U.S. to Australia.
If you love music, these hotels were made for you
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The Chen | Melbourne, Australia
One of the guestrooms showcasing Zhong Chen's colorful work — Photo courtesy of The Chen, An Art Series Hotel
Dedicated to Chinese-Australian artist Zhong Chen, this 100-room hotel exudes Chen’s playful, yet sophisticated style with pastel paintings in watercolor, oil and acrylic depicting designs inspired by Chen’s Chinese heritage.
"My paintings reflect my fluid, hybrid identity through calligraphic brushstrokes," Chen says. "The peacefulness in the work is about seeking and enjoying the many elements within one’s cultural identity."
"Zhong’s series of works are brought to life through the creation of the hotel brand essence, 'The Art of Joyful Journeys.' This describes the colorful life that Zhong draws inspiration from – the journeys that led him from China to Australia to Europe and beyond," says Ryan Tuckerman, Regional Director of Art Series Hotels.
Chen’s transcultural displays reflect not only the artist’s identity, but also the hotel’s location in the ethnically diverse hub of Melbourne’s Box Hill neighborhood.
- Art Series - The Chen
Majestic Hotel & Spa Barcelona | Barcelona, Spain
One of the pieces from Spanish artist Antonio Saura on display at the Majestic Hotel & Spa Barcelona — Photo courtesy of Majestic Hotel & Spa Barcelona
Featuring artists such as Antoni Tápies, Eduardo Chillida and Gerardo Rueda, the hotel is a thriving gallery with more than 1,000 pieces ranging from paintings and sculptures to graphic works throughout the hotel.
Though the property was designed for guests to absorb the art for the duration of their stay, for the art enthusiast, private tours are available to further study the artworks and to better understand Spain’s history through art.
- Majestic Hotel & Spa Barcelona
Le Royal Monceau – Raffles Paris | Paris, France
The Art Gallery District within Le Royal Monceau — Photo courtesy of Le Royal Monceau, Raffles Paris
It’s no secret that with every turn in Paris follows style, poise and art. At Philippe Starck’s Le Royal Monceau, it’s no different. With an art gallery commissioned by French curator Hervé Mikaeloff and an Art Concierge, Julie Eugène, art is celebrated both throughout the property and throughout Paris.
"Art is a dialogue. Depending on the viewer, it will be perceived differently, but it is always a matter of emotion. So when you enter Le Royal Monceau, you can really feel the emotion," says Le Royal Monceau’s Art team.
Mikaeloff has ensured guests are inspired with displays throughout the property, from Le Bar Long's use of designer cups, to the suites, each individually decorated with contemporary pieces.
Le Royal Monceau's art is also interactive, with art history classes taught at the Art Bookstore and the option for Eugène to arrange private (sometimes after-hours) tours of galleries off-property, including exclusive access to the Louvre. The Art team says, "Philippe Starck wanted this art palace to be a place where your imagination is inspired, in a palace that is alive."
- Le Royal Monceau - Raffles Paris
250 Main Hotel | Rockland, Maine
250 Main incorporates pops of color to accent the contemporary artwork on display — Photo courtesy of Allison Langley
At the heart of Maine’s arts capital, 250 Main brings Rockland its newest boutique hotel. The five story, 26-room hotel showcases a variety of contemporary local artists, such as Eric Hopkins and Janice Kasper.
The modern structure, designed by local architect Scott Tease, is fitted with oversized windows and high ceilings that allow natural light to illuminate the galleries on each floor of the hotel. As if there isn’t enough art at your fingertips, the hotel is only a short walk from the Center for Maine Contemporary Art, so you can further immerse yourself in Rockland’s popular arts scene.
- 250 Main Hotel
Tambo del Inka, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa | Sacred Valley, Peru
The Paucartambo masks used in Andean veneration dances — Photo courtesy of Tambo del Inka, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa
Nestled in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, Tambo del Inka embraces Andean culture by infusing it into the hotel’s design. Local art such as quipus (colored, camelid fiber cord wall hangings) and Paucartambo masks (used in Andean veneration dances) are on display from the moment you step into the lobby, to the time you shut off your lights in your suite.
"We want to ensure that guests feel as connected to the region as we do while ensuring a luxurious stay on property," says Bruno Giordano, the hotel’s general manager.
Quipu and Paucartambo are two of the most prominent expressions of Andean art dating back to the Incan period, but what’s even more significant is that they aren’t just traditional forms of art, they have practical uses in Andean culture and celebrations.
- Tambo del Inka, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa
Hotel Lungarno | Florence, Italy
The collections at Ristorante Borgo San Jacopo — Photo courtesy of Lungarno Collection
Curated around five different narratives for guests to follow during their stay, Hotel Lungarno’s art collection emphasizes the 20th century art movement in Italy.
Owned by the Ferragamo family, the interiors are a chic showcase for one of the largest private art collections from this time period, with more than 450 pieces from renowned artists, including Pablo Picasso and Jean Cocteau.
From the Picteau Cocktail Bar to the luxury suites designed and named after individual artists, like Venna or Francesconi, guests are never far from some of the most popular household names in Italy’s art history.
- Hotel Lungarno
Solaz Signature Suites | Los Cabos, Mexico
The Saguaros sculptures throughout Solaz are a tribute to the Cardon and Saguaro cacti found amidst the Baja landscape — Photo courtesy of Solaz Signature Suites
From its beginnings, Solaz Resort was always meant to exist as an architectural sculpture with an interior flaunting fine art. So the Sordo Madaleno architectural firm carved 128 guest rooms into the desert landscape overlooking the Sea of Cortez. And Mexican artist César López-Negrete created original works in the form of sculptures, craft furniture and wall art to transform the guest experience.
Negrete used the likes of driftwood and brass to create pieces, some as grand as 11.5-feet structures, like his "Geography of Hope." There is also a gallery onsite – El Gabinete Del Barco – dedicated to the Indigenous and regional artifacts from Baja culture for guests to deepen their connection to this history during their stay at Solaz.
- Solaz Signature Suites
Château le Cagnard | Cagnes-sur-Mer, France
A luxury suite decorated by one of the property's historical artist guests — Photo courtesy of Small Luxury Hotels of the World
Rising above the Côte d’Azur, the medieval village of Haut-de-Cagnes has long attracted artists, dating back to the Impressionist and Cubist periods. As homage to its artistic past, the 28 rooms at Château le Cagnard are completely decorated with period furniture, boasting historic paintings from one of the artists who has previously passed through the village.
Artists like Amedeo Modigliani and Pierre Auguste Renoir drew inspiration from Haut-de Cagnes, with Renoir’s former residence, now the Renoir Museum, not a far jaunt from the hotel.
- Chateau Le Cagnard