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