Hotels with Museum worthy art collections
LOSE YOURSELF WITH NATALIE COMPAGNO AND GREG FREITAS IN THESE HOTEL MUSEUMS
The writer Thomas Merton noted, “Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” Isn’t that also what a great hotel provides? The best luxury hotel experiences embrace art--surrounding busy guests in culture and beauty. Upon arrival, inspiring art greet guests in the lobby. Some of these master works would thrive at the Met or the Louvre—but they are on display, hanging in the Four Seasons Seattle instead. The Silo impresses with its creative use of space, the structure itself is a work of art. Sculpture seems to rise from the earth in the South of France, and glass from the sea transforms into glistening, larger-than-life urns in Maldives. Check into these hotels and take a world tour of mesmerizing art.
BAHA MAR, THE BAHAMAS
In the Bahamas, a trio of hotels quench a variety of artistic thirsts. Art is the soul of the Baha Mar family, comprised of Grand Hyatt, Rosewood, and SLS. With over 2,500 pieces from local artists, the hotels proudly share their Bahamian heritage with their guests. John Cox, renowned mixed-media artist
and former chief curator of the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas, shapes the collection. Colors shift, media mix, and the traditional and contemporary share a home in a joyful display. Highlights include From the Sea by Dominic Cant, which melds photography and sculpture to create an underwater sensation, and the Fairwind exhibit, which offers an exploration of over 100 years of Bahamian art.
THE SILO, CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA
“Art is an expression of culture and life, tying the viewer to a specific sense of time and place,” says Liz Biden, owner and designer of The Silo, Cape Town, South Africa. “Our contemporary African art collection really brings The Silo hotel to life for guests, affording them unique insight into our African heritage through modern artistic interpretations.”
Even as a blank canvas The Silo is a work of architectural art, before the rooms are adorned in fabrics, chandeliers, and paintings. The hotel is set in a historic restored granary-with multi-faceted windows, majestic views, and a perfectly designed rooftop patio. Add some of Africa’s most talented, emerging, contemporary artists-along with eclectic design and décor--and The Silo becomes a complete masterpiece. The hotel sits atop the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA), the first major museum in Africa dedicated to contemporary art. The Silo maintains its own collection of South African art, along with The Vault, a private gallery displaying rotating African artists. Request the Royal Suite--once inside guests become a part of the tableau.
SONEVA FUSHI, THE MALDIVES
Soneva Fushi in the Maldives is a luxury resort in the Baa Atoll, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve coral reef. Resorts in this fragile country face difficulties with waste disposal – many glass bottles are recycled but some are dumped into the ocean. Soneva Fushi found a solution. By taking on the process of recycling themselves, beer and wine bottles becomes luxury glass items and fine art sculptures. The resort houses its own state-of-the-art glass blowing studio and guests watch worldrenowned glass artists create magical shapes. The studio is run by Fulbright scholar Kevin Christison; he brings in artists from around the world for a unique creative opportunity. Collectors rejoice - there is a retail boutique as well as an art gallery.
HOTEL LUNGARNO, FLORENCE, ITALY
Synonymous with stylish footwear, fashion and art intertwine at the Ferragamo family owned Hotel Lungarno, just steps from the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, Italy. Home to one of the largest collections of privately owned 20th century art, it contains over 450 pieces including Picasso, Cocteau, and many important Italian artists. The art is grouped into narrative itineraries--a tour through the stories of the artists. The first features Pablo Picasso and his colleague Jean Cocteau, and a slew of Italian contemporaries. Antonio Bueno’s story is enhanced by an interview with his daughter, while Venturino Venturi’s tortured history is explored through his tableaus. The Pop
Art grand finale highlights graphic art from innovators and futurists, from Jules Cheret to Lucio Venna. Art fanatics will get so caught up in the tours they shouldn’t neglect the Uffizi--just a few steps away across the river.
LE ROYAL MONCEAU RAFFLES, PARIS, FRANCE
Generous hotels use their art as a calling card for art lovers. At Le Royal Monceau Raffles Paris, Art District Gallery is more than a social hub displaying contemporary art, it is a working gallery where collectors enjoy and purchase unique works. The space is dedicated to premiere exhibitions in Paris: retrospectives, commissions for Le Royal Monceau, and the presentation of previously unseen collections. Guests have the added benefit of an art concierge, Julie Eugène, who curates their experience with insider art tips and local art happenings. An art bookstore and 99-seat cinema theatre seal the art deal.
HOTEL DU CAP-EDEN-ROC AND CHATEAU SAINT-MARTIN & SPA, SOUTH OF FRANCE
Art can be fleeting, a reminder of how beauty possesses an ephemeral quality-even something seemingly permanent and powerful. Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc and Chateau Saint-Martin & Spa in the South of France have partnered withLondon’s Blain Southern gallery to present a series of art exhibitions across Oetker Collection’s hotels. Renowned French sculptor Bernar Venet’s rusted corten steel creations accent the Provençal landscape--while boldly changing with the environment. Circles left open beckon as the emotional sparks from curved towers reach toward the sky. Venet is local to the region and developed his artistic calling card using math and science to impact contemporary art in the sixties. For an added experience “magnifique” the Venet Foundation’s collection, with works from Frank Stella, Dan Flavin, and others--is
open to the public summers in Le Muy, just an hour’s drive from both Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc and Château Saint-Martin.
21C MUSEUM HOTEL, LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY
A giant gold replica of Michelangelo’s David greets hotel arrivals outside at twice the original’s size. Flowers climb the wall while a canvas proclaims “I
LIKE BUYING ART FROM ARTISTS WHO ARE STILL ALIVE.” Some rooms cover guests in a glass quilt – an astounding three-dimensional window and ceiling decoration that creates comfort through kaleidoscopic patterns. 21C Museum Hotel Louisville debuted in 2006, the inspiration of local entrepreneurs Laura Lee Brown and her husband
Steve Wilson. They redesigned historic tobacco warehouses into a boutique hotel where 9,000 square feet were saved for exhibition space. Avid contemporary art collectors, it’s as if the couple created their perfect home, bursting with eclectic art from all over. Sculpture, glass, statues, 3D and mixed media presentations, oil, photography-even a Bison head. Guests wander for hours as if in a museum. Non-guests benefit as well – the galleries are open to the public 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and are free to visit. No excuses art fans! 21C has expanded the concept to its other boutique hotels, from Ohio to Oklahoma.
FOUR SEASONS, SEATTLE, WASHINGTON
The Seattle location of the luxury hospitality group proudly bills itself as an informal extension of the Seattle Art Museum. The hotel boasts the largest collection of World War II-era Pacific Northwest artists outside a museum, and draws its inspiration from the surroundings. With a vision influenced more by Asia than Europe, these artists were dubbed the “Mystical Painters of the Northwest”–Mark Tobey, Morris Graves, and others. The Four Seasons showcases these works throughout the lobby and on each floor. Grab a brochure at the front desk then push each button on the elevator for the complete tour. When the doors open--a different masterwork awaits.
To enhance your Four Seasons art adventure, enjoy the Chihuly Up Close Experience. Guests can tour the legendary glass artist and Tacoma native Dale Chihuly’s private Boathouse Studio, followed by a visit to Chihuly Garden and Glass to commune with some of the most beautiful art in the world. There’s no better finale to this world art tour than visiting the studio of a famous artist who is still productive and very much alive.
The resort “houses” of Soneva Fushi in the Maldives
The Royal Suite at The Silo in Cape Town, South Africa.
Top two images are of Hotel du Cap Eden Roc.
Bottom image is the Art Gallery of Le Monceau in Paris