9 Must-Visit Hotels for Art Lovers

Palácio Tangará, São Paulo

Earlier this year, Palácio Tangará, the prestigious Oetker Collection’s first masterpiece hotel in South America, launched a project that transforms its public areas into an open-air art gallery. The first two exhibitions displayed works by Bia Doria, and the third saw Caciporé Torres showing some unseen pieces from his collection. The Open-Air Art Gallery project seeks to transit between classic, modern and pop art, diversifying the repertoire of artists for the shows to promote Brazilian art and design. This month, the fourth edition of the project launched and features Romero Britto in O Senhor das Cores, which presents 20 works including paintings and sculptures displayed in the hotel lobby, and the Parque Lounge & Terrace restaurant and garden. It marks the artist’s first exhibition in Brazil in five years. Robson Britto, the artist’s brother and agent in Brazil, has curated the show, which is open for free visitation until mid-November 2019 . Among the featured works are Puppy Love and Flor. Born in 1963 in Recife, Romero Britto began his career at the age of 18, a decade after recognising his interest in fine arts. Based in Miami for over 30 years, he became one of the most prestigious artists among US celebrities with over 60 public works spread across countries such as Switzerland, Germany and France, in several Brazilian airports and in New York’s two main airports. As the most successful Brazilian artist of international acclaim, he seeks to express in his vibrant, colourful and geometric-shaped works an optimistic view of the world around him. He has had shows in galleries and museums in over 100 countries and, due to his pop style, worked with major consumer brands.

HOW: Open-Air Art Gallery – Romero Britto: O Senhor das Cores will be on display until 30th November 2019. Free entry. No reservations required. For more information, please visit www.oetkercollection.com/hotels/palacio-tangara

Brenners Park-Hotel & Spa, Baden-Baden

Centrally located in the renowned German spa town of Baden-Baden, Brenners Park-Hotel & Spa – part of the prestigious Oetker Collection – will be offering its guests the opportunity to immerse themselves in the mesmerising environment of MadC, the world’s best female graffiti artist, until November 2019.  The artist will present her Dialog exhibition, showcasing sculptural paintings exclusively created for Baden-Baden, in the hotel available for guests and visitors to view during this limited period. Claudia Walde, under the alias MadC, is an author and the most famous active female graffiti artist, spraying walls from Mexico to Russia and from London to Budapest. Her works have already been exhibited in over 35 countries. MadC’s creative world is feminine and powerful with “a swing reminiscent of a wild dance”. Her style is characterised by bold, illuminous colour combinations, transparent layers and spontaneous calligraphy, allowing the viewer to experience the energy of the streets, captured and transported by herself onto her huge wall paintings. The eyes of the spectator are guided into the depths of her abstract works that represent a universe unaffected by culture, religion and language. In 2018, MadC and photographer Kiki Kausch devoted a large-format work to Brenners Park-Hotel & Spa. One year later, she is returning to Baden-Baden for a solo exhibition of her paintings. The Dialog exhibition includes a number of large-scale works created from steel, aluminium, acrylic and spray paint that will be displayed throughout the hotel’s beautiful gardens. The creation of her monumental murals in Leipzig, Copenhagen, Montreal, Chicago and London will also be documented in a series of photographs showcased in the lobby. Guests will also be able to enjoy special limited-edition dinner menus served at the hotel’s restaurants – Fritz & Felix, Wintergarten and Rive Gauche Brasserie – during the exhibition dates.

HOW: The exhibition can be viewed at Brenners Park-Hotel & Spa, Baden-Baden until 19 November 2019. For more information, please visit oetkercollection.com/hotels/brenners-park-hotel-spa 

Ocean House, Rhode Island 

Perched high on the bluffs of Watch Hill, Rhode Island, Ocean House is an iconic New England seaside resort. Built in 1868 just after the Civil War, the hotel overlooks a private stretch of beach and has sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean, Montauk and Block Island. Over 5,000 salvageable artefacts and furnishings were taken from the original hotel and incorporated into the new design when Ocean House reopened to great acclaim after a six-year renovation in 2010, with the style today casually elegant with furnishings that bring together British colonial, early American and seaside aesthetics in sun-drenched colours of yellow, blue, turquoise and cream. Creativity infuses the guest experience, where visitors enjoy contemporary art exhibitions from major galleries, demonstrations and talks by artists and artisans. They can choose from an exciting menu of events for all ages, including the hotel’s Artisans in Residence programme. This is a unique experience for hotel guests and the surrounding community to meet with nationally recognized artists and artisans to see how they create their work, experience hands-on art instruction and be inspired to create their own works of art. Programmes also include special lectures, workshops and gallery hours at the historic Watch Hill School House Cottage next door. Furthermore, each year Ocean House collaborates with the Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts to sponsor a celebration of regional artists painting en plein air at a number of public and private settings from Watch Hill to Weekapaug. Guests who prefer a slower pace can discover the impressive Ocean House Permanent Collection meanwhile, which comprise over 250 works from the 19th and 20th centuries. Originals include the French artist SEM, also known as Georges Goursat (1863–1934), who, in the years before World War I, created caricatures satirizing the beau monde of French high society at the beach resorts, race tracks and grand hotels of Deauville, Monte Carlo, and Paris. Among other masterworks are more than 90 pieces by renowned artist Ludwig Bemelmans, including his series Goodbye to the Ritz, which commemorated the closing of the Ritz Carlton Hotel, murals from his La Colombe restaurant in Paris, and original illustrations from his famous Madeline children’s book series. Over 17 artists and their works are permanently featured in the Ocean House Collection. Additionally, the hotel hosts exhibitions by leading contemporary artists from major galleries in the region including the Lily Pad Gallery, the Maritime Gallery at Mystic Seaport, and the J. Russell Jinishian collection of marine art. Paintings in the gallery shows are available for purchase at the hotel.

HOW: Rates at Ocean House start from $415 (currently approx. £333) per room per night, room only. Rate includes complimentary mini-bar with non-alcoholic beverages and gourmet snacks; complimentary daily resort activities; and complimentary morning coffee and afternoon refreshments in the lobby.  www.oceanhouseri.com


Hotel Esencia, Mexico

Art meets the beach at this chic, aristocratic bolthole, located just 50 minutes from Cancun and 30 from Tulum, full of character, charm and heritage.  Set along the ivory sands of the Riviera Maya, Hotel Esencia was originally built as the private hideaway home of an Italian duchess on what is considered the most beautiful beach on Mexico’s Caribbean coast.  The much-loved boutique retreat is located on a private 50-acre estate surrounded by lush Mayan jungle.  Famous Xpu-Ha beach (pronounced ‘shpooo-ha’ by those in the know) is hailed as being the finest stretch in the region, and is one of the most protected and untouched white sand beaches in Mexico where sea turtles make their nests each year.  Under the ownership of American entrepreneur, Kevin Wendle, and still fresh from a major refurbishment, Hotel Esencia is the perfect blend of European and local influences.  Since taking over, Wendle’s aim has been to reimagine the hotel, accentuate its natural beauty, and add a truly one-off collection of art and antiques including traditional mid-century furnishings and authentic 1950s works of art by celebrated Spanish, Latin American and Mexican artists – including Pablo Picasso, Fernando Botero and Eduardo Santiere.  There are Pierre Jeanneret chairs, lamps by Serge Mouille and Pierre Guariche, and a table by world-renowned architect and designer Charlotte Perriand.  Combining the modern and traditional, the original design template was done by C.S. Valentin, who spent a year with Kevin Wendle when he first bought the hotel.  Valentin designed an entire collection of original furniture and rugs exclusively for the hotel and, had them crafted by a local artisan – hand-woven rugs, bed throws and table tops truly pay homage to mid-century Mexican and European art and design.  Hotel Esencia has Valentin to thank for its strong original graphics and much of the furniture designed by him to complement Kevin Wendle’s own collection of handpicked collectables found in the Main House – the centre of the hotel, from which footpaths lead to the hotel’s individually-designed, whitewashed suites.  Public spaces are subtly filled throughout with a music playlist conceived by Paris-based DJ Michel Gaubert, and even the hotel’s website is illustrated by stylish Pierre La Tan animations.

HOW: Rates at Hotel Esencia start from $700++ (currently approx. £562++) per night, subject to 19% tax and 10% service.  This rate is based on two people sharing an entry-level Jungle Room Suite on a room-only basis. www.hotelesencia.com

Image by Tanveer Badal


Kristiania, Lech

Lech, located in the Arlberg region of Austria, is one of the most beautiful resorts in the Alps and home to the iconic Kristiania.  This mountain gem houses a spectacularly curated contemporary art collection that rivals any world class museum. Whilst the Kristiania looks like a traditional ski chalet on the exterior, the interior reveals truly unique design that is totally intertwined with the art. Owned and run by the Schneider family since 1968 the Kristiania has always felt more like a private residence than a hotel.  The hotel was founded by Othmar Schneider, born in Lech in 1928 and a former Olympic Gold medal winning skier who competed in the 1952 games in Oslo and took gold in the slalom and silver in the downhill.  The love of art came in the family from his wife Irmgard, who has in turn passed this onto their two daughters – one of whom is Gertrud Schneider, now Managing Director of the hotel.  Today, the collection consists of more than 200 contemporary paintings, sculptures, original prints and tapestries by both emerging and established artists such as Max Cole, Roy Lichtenstein, Max Bill and Sam Francis.  The works illuminate some of the most significant movements in contemporary art including Conceptual, Pop Art, Concrete Art and Abstract Expressionism to name a few. The owners have transformed the main dining room into a gallery that rivals those of the major metropolitan cities. In the Rote Bar – a scene of much après ski revelry – amongst the crimson colour walls and custom designed silk draperies hangs a painting by Sam Francis based on the key principles of abstract expressionism.  His works can be seen hanging in MOMA in New York and the Tate in London.  Every two years the hotel sponsors an art installation commissioned by an internationally recognised contemporary artist including a Russell Maltz sculpture out of cinder blocks and Aleksander Konstantinov’s Glacier sculpture.  Such is the extent of the art collection that a television channel in the rooms has even been created dedicated to art – the Kristiania Lech Art Channel. Art lovers can book into one of the hotels 29 unique guestrooms and suites all decorated with individual artistic elements based around a particular piece of art.

HOW: Double rooms start from €400 (currently approx. £355) per room night on a half board basis.  This includes a bottle of champagne in room on arrival, complimentary mini-bar, wifi and use of the Kristiania snow shuttle van to transport you to and from the slopes. www.kristiania.at

Terminal Neige Totem, France

Terminal Neige Totem was the first hotel to open in a series of more accessible, design-led alpine hotels that focuses on the needs of the modern-day skier, under a new brand called Terminal Neige. The Totem building is located in the Flaine Forum in front of the Totem designed by Picasso. The hotel creativity stands out as it embodies the architectural style in which the resort was built in the 1960s, with style driven by Marcel Breuer and two other architects. Located in the centre of the Flaine Forum with ski in/ski out access, the hotel features a buzzing bar, and restaurant, in-house ski shop and signature Pure Altitude Spa. With three treatment rooms, a fitness centre, relaxation area including an outdoor jacuzzi, the spa is the go-to place for relaxation and rejuvenation after a day on the slopes. Terminal Neige Totem celebrates Flaine’s history as an artistic hub for some of the most famous names associated with the avant-garde movement. Artists were attracted to Flaine’s ethos of making modern art available to all, contributing a number of inspiring outdoor works to the resort. The hotel continues this artistic theme and is named after Picasso’s iconic Totem sculpture, which is outside the entrance.  The hotel’s Navajo-inspired interiors reference the 70s and incorporate vintage furniture interspersed with more contemporary urban touches. Built in the late 1960s, by the visionary architect Marcel Breuer from the Bauhaus, Flaine is an intimate and family-friendly resort that does not allow cars in its centre. Under the patronage of the resort’s creators, Eric and Sylvie Boissonnas, Flaine attracted some of France’s leading artists and is home to large outdoor sculptures from Picasso, Dubuffet, Vasarely and Pol Bury. Now classified as a heritage site by the French Ministry of Culture; art and culture remain at the core of Flaine’s identity. The busy cultural centre and auditorium are open throughout the season with a full schedule of concerts and exhibitions by local and international artists.

HOW: Double rooms at Terminal Neige: Le Totem are available on a B&B basis from €190 per night, based on two people sharing. For more information, please visit www.terminal-neige.com

Domaine des Etangs, France

Domaine des Etangs offers a truly unique experience in the heart of one of the most beautiful areas of rural France. Set over 1,000 hectares of protected nature-filled countryside comprising forest, grassland and lakes, Domaine des Etangs is a haven for art-lovers as well as budding artists looking to develop their artistic skills. At the heart of the property lies a fully renovated 11th century château, interior designed by Isabelle Stanislas – designer to the French president Emmanuel Macron, and numerous pieces of contemporary art are interspersed throughout the property from Matisse to Picasso. Guests can embark on a curated art history tour of the chateau, discovering the depths of the exquisite collection. The chateau is surrounded by landscaped gardens and lakes, enough to provoke artistic inspiration in anyone, as well as being filled with art installations and sculptures including those by Richard Long and Irina Rasquinet. Once guests have explored the expansive art collection both inside and outside the chateau, guests can visit La Laiterie, the beautiful on-site exhibition space, dedicated to encounters between art and nature. Launched 24 May and running until 15 December 2019, Domaine des Etangs is hosting an exclusive art exhibition in La Laitiere: La Lumière des Mondes (The Light of the World). Hervé Mikaeloff, advisor and curator for Louis Vuitton, and Ingrid Pux curated the exhibition alongside owner of the Domaine Garance Primat, celebrating “the connection between nature and people and how light helps to reveal it”. Through a varied selection of 30 pieces by 25 international artists from across the creative spectrum, the exhibition includes sculptures and drawings by the likes of Louise Bourgeois, best known for her large-scale sculptures, and Annette Messager, renowned for her work on the French Pavillion, while German painter and sculptor Anselm Kiefer’s book takes visitors on a journey through the representation of universal and ancestral knowledge. Additionally, works by Turner Prize Winner Anish Kapoor, Angel of the North sculptor Antony Gormley and contemporary American artist Sam Falls explore alchemy, humans and the earth and celebrates the plant and mineral world. Guests at the Domaine can also take part in art classes including painting, drawing and calligraphy classes to suit art enthusiasts of every age. The estate itself serves as a source of inspiration for budding artists as the area is famous as a lake region with rich flora and fauna and nature is at the very core of Domaine des Etangs. The goal throughout the experience at the Domaine, is to draw on and rediscover the innate richness of this surrounding region; land, nature, produce, craftsmanship and history, and to express it in all its forms. This is easily possible with the accessibility to art and its extraordinary history that is on offer at the Domaine.

HOW: Guests can fly to Limoges International Airport (54km) and Bordeaux International Airport (170km) or take a private jet to Angouleme (43km). Rates at Domaine des Etangs start from €400 per night on a B&B basis. Art classes available on request. www.domainedesetangs.com

Sant Francesc Hotel, Mallorca

Sant Francesc Hotel Singular is situated in the heart of the historic centre of Palma, Mallorca. Not only is it the perfect base for a city-break or romantic weekend away, the hotel is home to an exceptional collection of contemporary art, elegantly displayed throughout the hotel. The five-star, boutique hotel is set within a former Mallorcan mansion, built in 1860, which was lovingly restored in 2015 with meticulous attention to detail, respecting and exposing many of its original features, such as beams, stone floors, wooden coffered ceilings, frescoes and murals. The Neoclassical gem dates back to 1860 and boasts features characteristic of the magnificent mansions of Mallorca; large entrance doors, arches, a grand staircase, a paved inner courtyard, a well, stables and a watchtower with its dovecote. The design strikes the perfect balance between old and new whilst showcasing local and international artists throughout the hotel. Following the renovation work, the well was converted into a gym, the tower into a very special guest suite and the stables into the Quadrat Restaurant. The art journey begins at check-in with a masterpiece displayed at the reception desk – a painting created exclusively for the hotel by Spanish artist Josep Maria Riera i Aragó. Josep’s work can be seen in renowned museums around the world such as the Vicent Van Gogh foundations, the Museum of Modern Art in Luxembourg and many more. As visitors make their way through the hotel and into the lobby they will encounter the work of Spanish painter and sculptor Guillem Nadal. Born in Mallorca himself, Nadal’s work appears in exhibitions and galleries around the world, including the Museums of Modern Art in both Nice and Barcelona. As guests stroll to their room, the collection continues – they will discover inspiring creations including work by Catalonian artist Jordi Alcaraz found on the first floor and other artists such as, Dominica Sánchez, Jordi Alcaráz, Bruno Olle, Miguel Macaya, M.A. Campano, J.M. Broto, A. Alzamora and E. Arbós. Throughout the hotels 42 elegant rooms and suites, and the public spaces, drawings, paintings, photography and sculpture bring this breathtaking 19th Century former Mallorcan mansion to life. The hotel’s stunning roof terrace with an enticing pool is the perfect sunbathing spot, and during the evenings guests can enjoy sundowners at the rooftop bar with panoramic views across the city. The Wellbeing Sanctuary, which acts as an oasis in the heart of the Old Town, featuring an extensive treatment menu designed to counteract the effects of urban life, uses the finest products from Anne Semonin. By night, foodies will delight with a meal at relaxed, fine-dining restaurant Quadrat Restaurant & Garden, serving the finest Mediterranean specialities with a modern twist, with the option to dine al fresco in Sant Francesc’s lush garden in warmer months.

HOW: Rates at Sant Francesc start from €285 per night. For more please visit: www.hotelsantfrancesc.com

The Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai

Dating back to 1903, The Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai, enjoys one of the grandest histories of any building in South Asia. The iconic heritage building has seen individual styles of three architects come together and it boasts of influences of the Moorish, Oriental and Florentine styles. Nonetheless showcasing contemporary Indian influences along with beautiful vaulted alabaster ceilings, onyx columns, graceful archways, hand-woven silk carpets, crystal chandeliers, a magnificent art collection, an eclectic collection of furniture, and a dramatic stairway. The art at the Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai has always been a defining feature of the hotel. Adorning corridors, public spaces and the grand suites, the art collection traces the history of Indian modern and contemporary art since the mid-20th century. Over the last 100 years, The Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai has quietly and assiduously acquired a treasure trove of paintings, furniture and artefacts. The hotel has frequently supported local artists and now is the proud owner of a rare art collection by key artists of contemporary India. Specifically, works of significant artists were acquired from 1968 to the 70s and these represent a grouping of some of the most key Indian artists working in India in the Post-Independence era. These include M.F. Husain, Sayed Haider Raza, Jamini Roy, Tyeb Mehta, Jehangir Sabavala, B. Vithal, B. Prabha, Baiju Paithan and Krishen Khanna, among many others. These great works of art in the hotel’s repository stand as testament to the changing patterns of history. At the heart of all art related activities is the Taj Art Gallery. The reopening of the Taj Art Gallery in 2016, with its strategic location, coincides with a moment of great artistic activity in the country, especially from a young generation of artists working with painting, sculpture and a range of experimental media. The Taj Art Gallery is a beautifully appointed space in the historical Heritage Wing and is available for artists and commercial galleries around the country to exhibit. Through bold statements, the Taj Art Gallery seeks to broaden perspectives and encourage dialogue, at once relevant and significant.

HOWRates at Taj  Mahal Palace, Mumbai start at £235 per person per night. www.tajhotels.co.uk/our-properties/palaces/taj-mahal-palace-hotel

Caoilfhionn Rose

Caoilfhionn is a freelance travel writer who enjoys slow travel and avoiding landmarks in favour of diving into a destination's culture. Instagram: @CaoilfhionnRose

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