Why settle for simply visiting a gallery when you can actually sleep amongst extraordinary works of art? From Banksy’s hotel in Bethlehem, which boasts the ‘worst view in the world’ to a stay in Provence where you can breakfast with a Picasso and sunbathe under a Calder (and, dare we say it, enjoy a much better view), there’s something for everyone. Here, we round up our five favourite art-inspired hotels around the world
OK students, listen up. The official definition of a hotel is ‘an establishment providing accommodation, meals and other services for travellers and tourists.’ Sounds nice, but a basic hotel experience is just so two thousand and late, isn’t it? We’re an avid, globetrotting audience today, constantly seeking new thrills and experiences, and the pressure is on for the hospitality industry to keep up with the seemingly insatiable appetite of this new generation of travellers. Five star? Been there. Room service? Done that. Spas, hiking, beautiful views? What else is new?
The result is a plethora of unique hotel experiences that seek to offer something a little more out of the box than your usual overnight stay. Enter the art hotel: from hotels created by artists themselves to those featuring some of the best art collections in the world, there is so much to see in the world of art hotels. Some seek to introduce guests to the talent of local artists, while others display their (quite frankly) impressive collections of international talent. If you love art, there is something for every taste, as these five (our personal favourites) reveal:
What: The Walled Off
Where: Bethlehem, Palestine
Famous For: Thought-provoking and quirky experience inside the mind of Banksy
Situated in the West Bank in Bethlehem, famous graffiti artist and disruptor Banksy’s The Walled Off hotel is so much more than, well, a hotel. Proudly boasting the ‘worst view in the world,’ the hotel’s 10 rooms look out onto the controversial barrier wall that separates Israel from Palestinian territories. In an effort to not only make a statement but also to educate, the hotel is home to a museum containing audio visual presentations exploring the history of the situation and a bookshop stocked with every book about the wall ever published. Of course, the rooms are adorned with Banksy’s original artworks, including one depicting an Israeli soldier and a Palestinian protestor having a (perhaps more meaningful than most) pillow fight. Banksy, an advocate for change, states that all profits from The Walled Off are put back into local projects.
What: Hotel du Petit Moulin
Where: Paris, France
Famous For: Lacroix darling, Lacroix!
This boutique hotel, created by French designer Christian Lacroix, sits in the heart of Paris’s fashionable Marais district. If you want the ultimate French fashion experience, then you are in for some chic magique, because Hotel du Petit Moulin is about as authentic as it gets. Housed in what was originally Paris’s first bakery, the building used to welcome customers including none other than Victor Hugo on a daily basis. This is no Les Miserables experience, however, as Lacroix’s designs are used to tell a different story and experience of Marais to the typical tourist view. Every room, no two are the same. Reflecting styles ranging from bright and daring to rustic and quaint, it is a classic Parisian style at its best.
What: Miura Hotel
Where: Čeladná, Czech Republic
Famous For: Here be giants…
Surrounded by the Beskydy Mountains (trying saying that fast), Miura Hotel’s architectural style is… dramatic. What do we mean? Well, for starters, the first thing you see as you approach is what appears to be a huge giant leaning against the wall, as if propping the whole structure up. The brainchild of father-son duo Richard Kučik and his son – also named Richard Kučik (we know, we know) – they have combined one’s experience in the hotel business with the other’s passion for art. The result? The stunning Miura Hotel. The walls are decorated with works by the likes of Damien Hirst, Andy Warhol and Henry Moore. But that’s not all – sculptures by David Černy also inhabit the building. Literally. They climb up walls, perch on the roof and lounge on the grass, as if taking in the rays. If the stunning landscapes don’t make you feel teeny tiny in the grand scheme of things, the giant sculptures will!
What: Casa Malca
Where: Tulum, Mexico
Famous For: Contemporary art in a Mexican dream getaway
An Instagrammer’s dream, the five-star hotel Casa Malca sits on one of the most quiet oceanfront stretches in Tulum, Mexico. Its 36 rooms and suites were designed by owner Lio Malca (hence the name), a New York gallerist, and feature works from his own private collection of sculpture, photography and contemporary paintings. However, the hotel also carries an authentic feel with the addition of items crafted by local artisans to the rooms and the use of natural materials such as wood planks. The hotel is a true getaway, through its rare combination of unmatched luxury and ultimate privacy, and it ticks all the right boxes: crystal waters, lush green vegetation, clear starlit skies, and a bit of culture thrown in to boot.
What: La Colombe D’or
Where: Provence, France
Famous For: French heavyweights in an idyllic setting
Warning: ultimate summer dream getaway ahead. Set at the threshold of the village of Saint-Paul de Vence in the South of France, the Columbe d’Or is a delight for any art lover (or Francophile, or gastronome, or… you get the picture). As if the Provencal light and classic décor wasn’t enough, this hotel offers a rich history of creative guests and post-war parties. The guest book boasts legendary names such as Miro, Braque, Chagall and Calder. Talk about FOMO. Luckily, however, these famous guests of parties past have left something behind. Legend has it that they would pay for their stay and meals with their paintings. Whether it’s true or not, the hotel is full to the rafters with paintings and sculptures by some of the world’s greatest artists. The most recent addition to the hotel is a large ceramic mural by Sean Scully which is situated near the palatial swimming pool (where it goes swimmingly, even if we say so ourselves).