Some travel for food, some travel for wine, and some travel for adventure. But in recent years, there’s been a growing tide of folks who’ll book a plane ticket to see some art. Whether that’s to visit famous museums, pay homage to the Meccas of street art, or see and be seen at glitzy art-world events like Miami’s Art Basel or The Venice Biennial, the art-loving traveler can now also find plenty of artwork in the hotels they stay at.
And while there are plenty of boutiques and independently-owned properties spotlighting the private collections of their owners, big hotels and chains are getting in on the action as well. From lobbies bedecked in Hirst sculptures to underwater installations and suites showcasing emerging local talents, here are ten reasons why it’s never been more exciting for contemporary art lovers to book a hotel.
London, United Kingdom: The Connaught
Known for its pitch-perfect blend of old-world British luxury and modern comfort, The Connaught has created a truly unique experience through its private, three-story residence, The Mews. Situated in a townhouse in a charming corner of Mayfair, the open-format space offers high ceilings, wide-planked hardwood floors, two fireplaces, and a grand piano. There is also, of course, a stunning amount of artwork that currently includes Richard Gorman’s Skew 2017, Louise Bourgeois’ Couples, and Annie Morris’ Ultramarine Blue.
The Connaught’s sister property, The Berkeley, offers a likewise arts-centric experience in its premium Gallery suite, which, as the name implies, resembles a contemporary gallery space complete with a regularly rotating selection of art.
Dallas, Texas: The Adolphus
Built in 1912 by German-born beer tycoon Adolphus Busch, the Adolphus was known for its beaux-arts influences and German-castle exterior. With the completion of a 2-year renovation at the end of last year, the hotel has added plenty of modern Texas sensibility to its decor, including in a salon area outside of its French Room restaurant. Here, guests can enjoy a collection of works by contemporary Texas artists curated by Lucia Simek of Dallas’ acclaimed Nasher Sculpture Center. In addition to showcasing local talent like Travis LaMothe and Francisco Moreno, the space has become a gathering place for art event series and salon-style talks on topics ranging from architecture to automobiles.
Cape Town, South Africa: The Silo
The Silo sits atop the newly-opened Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA), which made headlines as the first major museum in Africa dedicated to contemporary art. Set in a refurbished grain silo, the hotel is home to an extensive assortment of exclusively South African art curated by The Royal Portfolio owner Liz Biden, an avid art enthusiast. Featured artists include some of the country’s most exciting names like Cyrus Kabiru, Mahau Modisakeng, and Nandipha Mntambo.
Beyond showcasing its own collection, the hotel offers private tours of the museum via a secret entrance on the fourth floor. And The Vault, located in the basement of the hotel, serves as a private gallery adorned with rotating works from upcoming African artists.
Puerto Rico: Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlon Reserve
Dorado Beach was founded on a former plantation and originally developed by Laurance S. Rockefeller. Now one of Puerto Rico’s most exclusive and luxurious resorts, the hotel has done an excellent job of spotlighting world-class art that speaks to the area and region around it. Take, for example, the untitled sculpture (pictured above) by Carlos Mercado, which reimagines the ceremonial centers of indigenous, pre-Columbian cultures found near the hotel.
Even the hotel’s sprawling golf courses have been fitted with imaginative art, including graffiti-adorned golf carts by muralist Sofia Maldonado and fluttering Bhutanese prayer flags installed by artist Zaida Goveo at the edge of the nearby Pterocarpus Forest.
Colorado Rockies: Dunton Hot Springs
Aside from offering one of the most stunningly beautiful landscapes in the US, this mountain resort, set in a former 19th century ghost mining town, also boasts a world-class art collection. That’s thanks to husband-wife owners Christoph Henkel and Katrin Bellinger, who is an art dealer, expert in Old Master drawings, and National Gallery trustee. Naturally, Bellinger’s well-appointed collection includes original photographs by David LaChapelle, William Eggleston, and Terry Evans alongside crafts and artifacts sourced from around the globe including a Japanese kimono and Rajasthan wedding bed.
Setouchi Region, Japan: Setouchi Aonagi
Beyond Tokyo and Kyoto, Japan’s Setouchi region—made up of some 350 islands—is becoming a fast-growing Japanese destination for its fresh seafood, incredible scenery, and world-class art. Take, for example, the Setouchi Triennale which takes place across 12 islands, and Naoshima, which is called Japan’s “art island.” Designed with natural landscapes in mind, the luxury Setouchi Aonagi is home to a fantastic collection of art. Throughout the property, find pieces from Frank Stella, Yutaka Ono, Rieko Kawabe, and more.
Maldives: Joali Maldives
Touting the title of “first immersive art hotel” in the Maldives, this 24-acre, 73-villa luxury resort focuses on pieces inspired by and incorporating elements of nature. Chosen by Istanbul-based art and design firm No LaB, works can be found both in private rooms and in common areas. Standouts include Misha Kahn’s Under-Water Corals, which can only be seen underwater, and Pork Hefer’s Manta Ray Tree House, which houses the property’s experiential dining concept.
Hong Kong, China: Rosewood Hong Kong
Opened in March of this year, the Rosewood Hong Kong brings the design-focused luxury that the Asia-based brand has become known for to the picturesque Kowloon water front. Nodding to its location within the Victoria Dockside arts and design district, the property spotlights works by Henry Moore, Damien Hirst, and Bharti Kher—including Kher’s life-sized sculpture of an Indian elephant, purchased from Sotheby’s—alongside those of homegrown artists like China’s Wang Keping and Hong Kong’s Wilson Shieh.
Wellington, New Zealand: QT Museum Wellington
Owning the largest privately owned art collection in the whole of New Zealand, the QT Wellington showcases its works throughout public spaces and rooms alike. In the lobby, find the Qtique gallery shop, offering independent works from upcoming local artists. Meanwhile, the first four floors of the building are trimmed with LED light rails by Auckland light artist Angus Muir. In 2018, QT challenged local artist to submit pieces that would take over 25 rooms on the hotel’s fourth floor—those selected included Maori visual artist Ngarongo Phillips and Wellington architectural artist Miz Müller.
Miami, Florida: Delano South Beach
No, you don’t need to wait for Basel to find fantastic art in the 305. Beyond Miami’s fantastic museums, the Philippe Starck-designed Delano South Beach has been one of the most imitated spaces for contemporary design since it opened in 1995—and that extends to the iconic art-as-furniture found within its walls. Notable pieces range from a Philippe Starck couch to Salvador Dalí’s Leda throne and the Crystal Piano gifted to the hotel by rock frontman Lenny Kravitz.