ART AT­TACK

Bright and at­trac­tive en­vi­ron­ments are vi­tal to at­tract­ing guests and re­tain­ing them, re­ports Va­le­rian Ho

Business Traveller (Middle East) - - Contents -

The days of hang­ing a non­de­script land­scape print in each gue­stroom are over. Many lux­ury ho­tels now pay se­ri­ous at­ten­tion to art, both as a way to en­hance the guest ex­pe­ri­ence and in or­der to cre­ate their own per­sonal iden­tity – a means of stand­ing out from the crowd. From mas­sive col­lec­tions of fine art to artist-in-res­i­dence pro­grammes, spend­ing time in one of the fol­low­ing prop­er­ties is sure to stim­u­late your creativ­ity.

TREA­SURE HOUSES

These days it’s not un­usual for lux­ury ho­tels to boast art col­lec­tions that would have a gallery di­rec­tor hiss­ing with envy. In such prop­er­ties, cu­rated col­lec­tions of unique works adorn the walls from lobby to cor­ri­dor to room. Palace Ho­tel Tokyo’s owner sank a seven-fig­ure sum in US dol­lars into its 1,000plus art pieces.“For some years now, it’s been ev­i­dent that so­phis­ti­cated travellers not only seek en­coun­ters with art dur­ing their ho­tel stays, but ex­pect it. So our in­vest­ment in putting to­gether a well-cu­rated, mil­lion-dol­lar col­lec­tion was an in­stinc­tive one, as part of the evo­lu­tion of our brand,” says Masaru Watan­abe, the ho­tel’s ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor and gen­eral man­ager.“We set out to cater to the mod­ern lux­ury trav­eller. In­vest­ing in qual­ity art seemed like a nat­u­ral part of the process.”

In other cases, the drive for art col­lec­tions comes from pas­sion­ate own­ers. Ge­orge Wong, owner of Ho­tel Éclat Bei­jing (part of the Small Lux­ury Ho­tels of the World group) is one such ex­am­ple. His de­sire to share his love of art with guests has led to a col­lec­tion of orig­i­nal sculp­tures and paint­ings by Sal­vador Dali, Andy Warhol and Pierre Mat­ter, as well as Chi­nese mas­ters Gao Xiao Wu and Zou Liang. Wong in­tends to con­tinue grow­ing the col­lec­tion, with a par­tic­u­lar em­pha­sis on sup­port­ing up-and-com­ing Chi­nese artists.

For Wyn­d­ham’s TRYP For­ti­tude Val­ley Ho­tel in Bris­bane, Wyn­d­ham’s pres­i­dent and man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Barry Robin­son, and ex-owner Jay McPhee, wanted to ref­er­ence the lo­cal dis­trict through artis­tic el­e­ments. They de­cided on a “street art” con­cept, in part as a tes­ta­ment to the build­ing’s his­tory as an un­der­ground street art site, but also to cre­ate an en­vi­ron­ment that feels like the city it­self. The ho­tel now fea­tures mu­rals and art­works by worl­drenowned street artists in­clud­ing Rone, Beast­man, Fin­tan Magee and Num­skull.

A golden hippo perched on top of the

‘Our in­vest­ment in putting to­gether a well-cu­rated, mil­lion-dol­lar col­lec­tion was an in­stinc­tive one’

QT Mu­seum Wellington (for­merly the Mu­seum Art Ho­tel) sig­nals the artis­tic en­deav­ours of this New Zealand prop­erty. In fact, the ho­tel boasts New Zealand’s largest pri­vately owned art col­lec­tion. Many of the works are from lo­cal artists, with a few se­lect pieces from far­ther afield. The re­sult is an ex­plo­sion of colour and tex­ture, fea­tur­ing a mix of high- and low­brow works that of­fers some­thing for ev­ery­one.

SIN­GU­LAR AT­TRAC­TIONS

Other prop­er­ties fo­cus less on large col­lec­tions, pre­fer­ring to put the spot­light on a few stun­ning show­pieces. Viet­nam’s The Reverie Saigon, for ex­am­ple, show­cases a few eclec­tic works: in the lobby stands a cus­tom-made, emer­ald-green Baldi Mon­u­men­tal clock that’s three me­tres high and weighs nearly 1,000kg; while out­side La Scala ball­room is a 19th-cen­tury Bech­stein grand pi­ano, beau­ti­fully re­fin­ished with a mo­saic ve­neer of mala­chite stone and chis­elled bronze dec­o­ra­tion. “The ho­tel own­er­ship chose these art pieces with the clear in­ten­tion of stim­u­lat­ing our visi­tors’ senses,” says gen­eral man­ager Kai Speth.“They are mas­ter­pieces spe­cially de­vel­oped for the ho­tel by these iconic de­sign brands. They draw at­ten­tion.”

When it comes to at­ten­tion-grab­bing art, some­times big­ger is bet­ter. If you check in to

The drive for art col­lec­tions can also come from pas­sion­ate ho­tel own­ers like Ge­orge Wong

The Gar­den Ho­tel Guangzhou, you’ll be faced with an awe-in­spir­ing golden fresco. More than 30 artists took seven months to cre­ate the 24x6me­tre mu­ral in gold foil and hand­crafted mar­ble, which de­picts scenes from the clas­sic Chi­nese novel Dream of the Red Cham­ber. Mean­while, at

Is­land Shangri-La, Hong Kong the atrium boasts a mas­sive 16-storey Chi­nese land­scape paint­ing: The Great Mother­land of China. The 51-me­tre master­piece com­prises 250 pan­els of Chi­nese silk and was cre­ated by 40 artists from the Bei­jing Arts and Crafts Re­search In­sti­tute. The iconic piece sweeps across the coun­try from Ti­bet to the Yel­low Sea, de­pict­ing renowned land­marks in­clude the Great Wall, Huang­gu­oshu Wa­ter­falls, and the moun­tain path­ways that weave their way through the cliffs of Sichuan and Tais­han.

Above: The Reverie Saigon Be­low: The Vagabond Club Sin­ga­pore

Clock­wise from left: Park Ho­tel Tokyo; TRYP For­ti­tude Val­ley Ho­tel

Clock­wise from left: Is­land Shangri-La, Hong Kong; Hul­let House; Park Ho­tel Tokyo

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