There's a reason tourists flock to museums while on vacation: Time goes by way too fast in the real world for individuals to set hours to wander an art gallery. And even if vacay is prime time to explore various museums wherever you may be, the galleries often come with long lines and pushy crowds. Thankfully, hotels are responding to the masses’ hunt for artistic expression. From intimate collections to large-scale galleries, many hotels play host to some excellent exhibitions with works by legends like Andy Warhol, Alison Shotz, and Henri Matisse, as well as up-and-coming local artists. Get your sketchpads out — it's time for a little artistic inspiration.
The Patron: The James Chicago
The Art: One of Chicago’s top luxury hotels, The James’ sometimes quirky aesthetic is modern, minimalist, and clever. Its appreciation of art and design is present throughout the lobby, which hosts small exhibitions such as Dan Gunn’s pieces, seen above, and in its two art galleries. Both local and international, renowned and up-and-coming artists can find their way into the James, whose dedication to creative expression stems from the artsy River North area it calls home.
The Patron: The St. Regis San Francisco
The Art: Just steps from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Museum of the African Diaspora (which also as an entrance in the hotel lobby), the St. Regis extends the vibe of its artsy neighbors to its premises. Its private art collection, which is displayed throughout the hallways, lobby, bar, and restaurant, truly turns the hotel into a mini-museum in its own right. Featuring the works of contemporary artists such as Alison Rossiter, Hans Shule, Mari-Ruth Oda, and Chip Cooper, the hotel exudes a clean, 21st century aesthetic without being cold. The works are interesting, chosen carefully for each setting, and successful at raising the bar when it comes to hotel art.
The Patron: The Egerton House Hotel — London
The Art: This exquisite historical townhouse in the upscale London neighborhood of Knightsbridge boasts an opulent and elegant design aesthetic, as well as luxury features such as champagne on arrival and candles at turndown. And its art isn't too shabby either. Egerton House's notable collection, known as Art at the Edge, includes original works by Picasso, Chagall, and Matisse. Displayed throughout the hotel, the collection also includes original lithographs from Henry de Toulouse-Lautrec and turn-of-the-century prints from the Illustrated London News, which ran from 1842 to 1971. This historical and artistic treasure trove is the perfect place to soak in some culture over a cup of tea on your way to Harrod’s or a pint after a long business trip.
The Patron: The Bellagio — Las Vegas
The Art: The gallery at the Bellagio routinely features works by some of the world's best known artists. When Oyster visited, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, and Frank Stella called the gallery home, while today Monet fills its lofty halls. But the Bellagio doesn’t stop there. Known for its impeccable service and luxury amenities on The Strip, the Bellagio also offers an opportunity for late-night viewing made complete with an art and wine pairing event. The hotel’s director of wine and master sommelier joins forces with the gallery’s curator to present the art — and the booze — in their greatest light.
The Patron: The Anse Chastanet Resort — St. Lucia
The Art: This locally-focused gallery at the Anse Chastanet Resort houses paintings, sculptures, and other handmade pieces by St. Lucian artists. Visiting international artists who are inspired by the island’s lush natural surroundings also contribute to the small collection, sometimes staying for weeks at a time to complete a piece. The resulting collection is full of vibrant paintings that speak to St. Lucian tradition and its beautiful vistas, as well as several lovely wooden carvings by local artist Lawrence Deligny. The works highlight the eco-luxury resort’s commitment to preserving the island’s culture and shunning invasive technology.
The Patron: Chambers — New York City
The Art: Functioning practically as a gallery itself, Chambers boasts over 500 works of contemporary art covering every inch of the property. The lobby, hallways, and guestrooms all play host to eclectic works by both well-known artists and up-and-comers. Sculptural installations and murals are perhaps the most playful and unique additions, such as that by Alison Shotz (whose work has been shown at the Whitney Museum of Art) which was on display when Oyster originally visited.
The Patron: Encantado, an Auberge Resort — Santa Fe
The Art: This satellite of LewAllen Galleries, one of Santa Fe’s oldest and largest art galleries, housed at the center of the Encantado resort is a tiny jewel of contemporary architecture on its own. The works within the walls are broad in media and style; though expect to see Modernist and 20th century pieces predominantly on display. There are also abundant works from LewAllen on display throughout the property, particularly sculptural works in the lobby and hallways.
The Patron: Park Hotel — Amsterdam
The Art: This stylish property in the Museum Quarter has a lot to offer the artistically-inclined: a cozy library, contemporary design, and its very own art gallery and lounge — the Gallery Zone. Housed in the Park Hotel’s “Living Room,” the gallery shows a new exhibition from local artists every two months. Guests can munch on cheese platters, truffles, macaroons, and lollypops (yes, lollypops) and sip on cocktails or coffee while discussing the varied art. If they fall in love with a piece, they can also purchase it directly from the hotel.
The Patron: Hotel Palomar — San Francisco
The Art: Part of a mini-chain in the Kimpton family that has an “Art in Motion” theme, the Palomar San Francisco routinely loans paintings from local museums to put on display throughout the hotel. Recently, the Palomar featured works by modernist master Marc Chagall, many of which were on loan from the nearby Jewish Contemporary Museum. An extension of its surroundings, the Palomar is designed to be an artistic haven, and it succeeds in both its own sleek, sexy aesthetic and its ability to feature star artists on a regular basis.
The Patron: Hotel Zaza — Dallas
The Art: This glamorous, ultra-hip hangout is a cool alternative to the luxurious but often stuffy hotels in Uptown Dallas. With a gourmet restaurant, popular poolside bar, and the Stay Zaza Art House and Social Gallery on-site, Zaza is the chic hotel choice for visitors to Dallas. Stay Zaza hosts everything from fashion installations and runway shows, to photography, painting, sculpture, and mixed-media exhibitions. This one-of-a-kind hotel is sure to show only the most unique works that speak to the property’s eclectic, odd-in-a-good-way style.