In recent years, art hotels have become important players in the international art scene and real attractions for their cities, offering travelers the opportunity to visit their galleries even if they are not hotel guests. Carefully designed and professionally organized, these hotel galleries can often be found alongside major art museums.
In the wake of a global pandemic that first closed and then limited the capacity of these hotels, in-house art collections have become a more important element in enticing the public to visit restaurants, bars and other amenities. . Even though a hotel can only operate at a percentage of occupancy, the artwork serves to keep locals and tourists alike crossing the threshold.
The Fairmont Hamilton Princess Hotel and Beach Club in Bermuda is one of the most important places in this kingdom of art hotels. Bathed in sunshine and open to the warm Bermuda breeze in its lobby, shops and restaurants, the Princess has been a long-standing element of classic Caribbean luxury. The resources of the Fairmont Hotels group have filled its gleaming white hallways with one of the most impressive collections of modern, postmodern and contemporary art in the world.
Public spaces are dotted with stars with works by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Andy Warhol, RenÃ© Magritte, Robert Rauschenberg, Kaws, Tom Sachs and Jeff Koons. One of the most recent additions is also the hotel’s most iconic: Balloon girl by Banksy in the hotel lobby.
According to hotel spokesperson Alyssa Almeida, the Bermuda collection is selected by hotel owners Alexander and Andrew Green.
âGuests can enjoy a private tour by one of the property’s guides,â says Almeida. âIt takes guests throughout the hotel where art is featured in almost every hallway, public space, and individual room. Non-guests can book a private tour of the hotel’s art collection, or they can call and make a reservation to view it independently. “
Slowly emerging from London’s lengthy foreclosure trials, the Ham Yard is a sleek, upscale boutique hotel showcasing artwork curated by co-owner and creative director Kit Kemp. A bronze spiral sculpture by Tony Cragg (Group) welcomes visitors to the courtyard and major contemporary works by Howard Hodgkin, Jo Tilson, Eileen Cooper, Sandra Blow and Alexander Calder await in hallways lined with obscure books and newspaper clippings.
The incredible clock in the hotel lobby is reason enough to visit. A million times by the Stockholm design team of Humans Since 1982 has 135 synchronized analog clocks to display everything from real time to geometric designs to hidden messages. You can watch it for hours without worrying about the time.
Across the world, sitting on a sunny, windswept stretch of beach in JosÃ© Ignacio, Uruguay, Bahia Vik is part of the largest collection of Vik properties from the Canary Islands to Spain to the Dominican Republic. The quiet retreat is hosted by billionaire owner Alexander Vik and his hotel wife, Carrie. Dedicated patrons and curators of South American New World art, the Viks select every piece found at their properties, rotating their collection to regularly feature new exhibits.
Vik and his wife work collaboratively with hundreds of artists during the design and development stages to transform spaces into inspiring destinations.
âFor us, creative expression is an essential part of the customer experience,â he says. âThe artwork is an integral part of the properties and the client experience. It invites participation, nurtures a sense of well-being and opens the minds of clients to new aesthetic, emotional and intellectual possibilities.
Public art spaces
Part of the thriving arts district of downtown Denver, The ART is steps from the Denver Art Museum and the Clyfford Still Museum. Curated by Dianne Vanderlip, the hotel’s extensive modern and contemporary collection spans from the lobby on each floor to restaurants, meeting spaces and suites.
His major works include Industrial strength sleep by Los Angeles artist Ed Rushca; otter by Deborah Butterfield; I can feel your smile by Tracy Emin; Guyotat cross by Sam Francis; and Large sweep by Coosje Van Bruggen and Claes Oldenburg.
During Covid-19 residency rules, public art spaces remained open. Now that Denver officials have gradually loosened the grip of pandemic restrictions, more rooms are welcoming art-loving guests.
Milwaukee continues to evolve from its old identity as the blue-collar beer capital of the world to a younger, artistically conscious city. The youngest property to join the global art hotel club is MKE’s all-new Saint Kate.
The spacious and welcoming lobby leads directly to free gallery spaces originally organized by Maureen Ragalie. Focused on contemporary pieces, Saint Kate’s exhibits include the bright and energetic paintings by Lon Michels and sculpture by Lisa Beck from Brooklyn. The establishment also has a gallery dedicated to performances by local artists.
âI really tried to make Saint Kate more than a hotel,â says Ragalie. âI wanted the Saint Kate to serve as a hub for the Milwaukee art scene. Only a limited number of artists can leave Manhattan, London or Paris, established places. I think it’s important to look elsewhere for these emerging talents.
Ragalie adds that the goal of hotel owners Greg and Linda Marcus was to provide an environment to showcase established and emerging Milwaukee talent.
âDuring the short time I spent there, it was easily one of the most enjoyable parts of my job – getting to know these artists,â she says. The owners “love the arts and have contributed to everything we do about it.”