Ho­tels with Mu­seum wor­thy art col­lec­tions


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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.


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.


“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 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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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

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