6 of the best hotels for art

There is a definitive synergy between art and travel and, increasingly, we are finding that hotels are embracing this superlative relationship to offer guests an enriching and thought-provoking experience. Challenging the norm, art is becoming the new hotel accessory, serving to accentuate the concept that people do not want culture in prescribed pockets. Whether it is offering the services of an Art Concierge, providing painting classes with an artist in residence or providing a forum for up-coming artists, these hotels are indisputably serving the creative cognoscenti.

Eden Rock, St Barths

In a breathtakingly unique location on the glamour-infused island of St Barths, sits Eden Rock, an ultra-chic boutique bolthole with a truly distinctive soul. This is underpinned by the exhibition series within its beachside art gallery; set up by one of the owners, Jane Spencer Matthews. The Eden Rock Gallery showcases established names from the world of art – such as Richard Prince and Will Cotton – in addition to providing a forum for emerging artists to show their work.

Eden Rock resort view

Highly regarded in design circles, the hotel has a genuine dedication to the arts, providing guests with a truly unique visual experience with hangings tailored to the interior design of every room. Fully immerse yourself in all things creative during your holiday and partake in painting lessons with one of the artists in residence, part of a programme created in partnership with the New York Academy of Art.

Eden Rock corridor

Icehotel, Jukkasjärvi, Sweden

Created afresh each year by international artists, entirely hewn from ice and snow, the Icehotel is as unique as it is transient. Every October, like a paradoxical phoenix from the flames, the structure of snow and ice rises again, sculpted with the frozen water from the Torne River. Hundreds of artists from all over the world apply to design a suite at the hotel, with only a select few being chosen to be part of the creation process. As the building takes shape, all 40 artists spend time in the midst of the ice structure – the atmosphere oozing with artistic creativity, all inspired by ice as a material. This is an art project that is totally unmatched. Standing 200 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle, the location of this temporary landmark of snow and ice also provides the perfect vantage point for the spectacular light show that is the Northern Lights.

Icehotel main hall

Ellerman House, Cape Town 

As if the captivating views over the Atlantic Ocean from this Cape Edwardian mansion were not awe-inspiring enough, Ellerman House’s private art collection is widely considered to be one of the finest in South Africa. Representing over 100 years of South African culture, the collection encompasses a fascinating cross-section of genres – all serving to highlight that this country has an essential nature and flavour of its own, distinguishing it from other places.

Ellerman House gallery

In December 2009, Ellerman House Contemporary opened, offering guests access to the work of current artists, such as Wayne Barker, Angus Taylor and Louis Maghubela – all key protagonists in the outspoken and eclectic world of modern art. Fine art is truly interwoven into this hotel’s soul – look out for the wine gallery – it is much more than a functional space and is a work of art in itself, created by a dynamic and diverse team of architects, designers, sculptors and blacksmiths.

Ellerman House room view

The Quin, New York

The creative class demands more from their travel experiences and The Quin is one hotel that is truly responding to this. In an attempt to rise above the luxury travel ‘noise’, the hotel has striven to bring guests a truly immersive experience. Taking inspiration from the spirited landscape of midtown Manhattan, the Quin Arts programme is a multi-media initiative presented in an ongoing series of events, exhibitions, lectures and more. In the lobby a 15 foot abstract video art wall displays films specifically created for the hotel, whilst the hotel’s art collection will continue to grow with original works commissioned through the artist-in-residence programme. D.K. Johnston, the curator of Quin Arts, describes the art scene of New York City as ‘vibrant, authentic and infectious’, a description that perfectly melds into the ethos of The Quin.

The Quin gallery

Royal Mansour Marrakech

Art imitating life or life imitating art; the distinction blurs at this illustrious, almost palatial hotel. Over 1,500 Moroccan artisans were employed to craft the monumental work of art that is the Royal Mansour, with every detail painstakingly created using authentic and traditional methods. The zelij – the geometric mosaic tiling so typical of Marrakech’s important historic sites – is exquisite, the moucharabieh cedar fretwork so detailed and sublime, whilst lacy white metal latticework create a delicate and dreamlike environment in the spa.

Royal Mansour blue patio

Marquetry, stained glass and beaten bronze details are further complemented by antiques and handcrafted furniture in the rooms. And if all of this doesn’t tantalise your aesthetic sensibilities, the hotel goes one step further and hosts regular art exhibitions by world-renowned artists; the most recent being Invisible Light – a collection of 17 calligraphy-based panels and installations that play with words and light.

Royal Mansour hall spa

Le Royal Monceau Raffles Paris

An Art Deco gem and a grand hotel since the 1920s, Le Royal Monceau Raffles has rediscovered its former élan with a Philippe Starck makeover and an infusion of contemporary art. In fact, so imbued with art is this hotel, that seemingly every opportunity to display works is taken; a monumental teapot by Joana Vasconcelos sits in the hotel’s garden, the impressive Salle des Trophées – an installation of 15 life-size wooden elk and deer – by Russian artist Nikolay Polissky, inhabit the first landing.

Royal Monceau staircase

Considered to be the artistic and cultural hub of the hotel, the Art District Gallery features exhibits from the world of contemporary art and a unique service of an Art Concierge. Guests can enlist consultant and cultural mediator Julie Eugéne to provide customised visits of the hotel’s private collection, keep them informed of must-see exhibitions and devise tailor-made plans.

Royal Monceau bathroom

Maxine Roberts is Head of Marketing at Carrier.

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Comments (1)

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  1. Candice says:

    Royal Mansour Marrakech looks beautiful. I loved the art on display in the Jumeirah Creekside hotel in Dubai when I stayed there recently. Nearly 500 original pieces by Middle Eastern artists gave the hotel a really funky, modern feel.

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