11 Hotels With the Most Amazing Art Collection
The famously elusive British street artist Banksy achieved an auction record earlier this month when his satirical painting depicting England's House of Commons being run by chimps sold at Sotheby's London for $12 million. A similar sum (or much greater) would be required should you want your own Banksy, or maybe a Picasso to hang in your bedroom, or a Kusama to plant in the backyard. But for a much friendlier price tag, it is possible to live with multimillion-dollar artwork, if only for a few days. A select group of hotels around the world, from Cape Town to Colorado, happen to possess some truly magnificent collections in their arsenal. You can dine among Warhol portraits in Bermuda, for instance, or take your nightcap beneath a Mel Bochner painting in Santa Barbara. Here are 11 of our favorite hotels with serious art cachet.
The Fife Arms, Scotland
When you get two art world honchos to take over a historic hotel and redesign it, how can the art not take center stage? In 2014, Iwan and Manuela Wirth, the married duo behind Hauser and Wirth, bought the Fife Arms, a majestic but dated hotel in the Scottish Highlands. After a five-year refurbishment, the new and improved hotel was unveiled earlier this year with a ribbon-cutting ceremony with Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla.
Among the decadent furnishings are 14,000 works of art, from a late Picasso painting, a Mark Bradford-designed piano, to a giant Louise Bourgeois spider that looms in the courtyard. Even Queen Victoria (the Fife Arms was built during her reign in the 19th century, right around the time she purchased Balmoral Castle nearby and turned Braemar into a popular destination) has contributed to the hotel's art collection—a watercolor of a stag shot at Balmoral by John Brown, her favorite personal attendant.
The Silo, Cape Town
Art is literally in the foundation of the Silo in Cape Town. The hotel is built in a former 1920s grain silo building and its bottom floors are home to the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, the largest collection of contemporary African art in the world. Hotel owner Liz Biden has also focused on championing artists from the continent to complement its downstairs neighbor, adorning rooms and public spaces with works by both young talent and established ones like Cyrus Kabiru and Mahau Modisakeng. The Silo has also recently appointed an in-house art concierge who will arrange guided visits of the Zeitz MOCAA, take guests through the hotel's own 300-piece private collection, and arrange tours to local galleries and artist studios.
The Hamilton Princess, Bermuda
The Hamilton Princess, Bermuda's oldest hotel, has been around since 1885, but when the Green family purchased it in 2012, they brought in 300 works of modern and contemporary art. There are 40 pieces by Warhol, including a Mick Jagger series that hangs in the private dining room of Marcus Samuelsson's eponymous restaurant. Other highly Instagrammable artists and works include a giant KAWS Mickey Mouse sculpture in the courtyard, an edition of Banksy's Girl with Balloon in the lobby (a version of this is the one that shredded itself after being sold for more than $1 million at Sotheby's last year), and many others by Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst, David Hockney, Ai Wei Wei, and Yayoi Kusama. Even the gym's walls aren't bare.
Belmond La Residencia, Mallorca
Deià is one of the more artsy towns on the island of Mallorca and its resident hotel is tapping into that spirit by paying homage to Spanish painter Joan Miró, whose wife and mother were from the island, and who settled in the capital, Palma, in 1956.
Until September 2020, Belmond La Residencia will be home to the largest hotel exhibit of the artist's works in the world. Thirty-three of them will be displayed throughout Cafe Miró, the hotel's Spanish restaurant. Can't resist sitting outside on the picturesque terrace with its panoramic views? A Miró will be out there, too—a bronze sculpture entitled Tete, 1975.
The Merrion, Dublin
One of the most significant private collections of 19th- and 20th-century Irish art can be found in this hotel. Guests can dine and sleep among works by William Leech, Paul Henry, Martin Mooney, Mainie Jellett, and, Ireland's greatest painter, Jack B. Yeats, whose brother was the poet W.B. Yeats and father was the portraitist John Butler Yeats. Even the afternoon tea service is artistically inclined, with desserts and treats that have been designed to mimic the masterpieces on display.
Rosewood Miramar Beach, Montecito
Santa Barbara County's latest luxury hotel opened earlier this year, and owner/developer Rick Caruso has overseen an art collection to rival that of Montecito's most well-heeled residents (Oprah, Netflix's Ted Sarandos and his ambassador wife Nicole Avant, and talent manager Scooter Braun among them).
The lineup includes works by Frank Stella, Fernando Botero, Georges Braque, Hunt Slonem, Marc Chagall, Mel Bochner, Norman Rockwell, and Helen Frankenthaler. Of the 600 pieces that make up the hotel's entire collection, half were commissioned specifically for the Rosewood Miramar Beach.
Hotel Lungarno, Florence
The Ferragamo family owns Florence's Hotel Lungarno (among many others) and has used the property as a showcase for their impressive trove of 20th-century art. With more than 450 works, it's one of the largest collections—and coupled with the fact that the hotel has just 65 keys, staying here would actually be like sleeping in a private museum.
Rooms, suites, and public spaces are adorned with Picassos and Cocteaus, along with many Italian greats, like Marino Marini, Ottone Rosai, Mario Sironi, and Antonio Bueno. Guests are provided iPads to take a virtual, immersive art tour through the hotel. It doesn't hurt that it has spectacular views of the Arno.
Dunton Hot Springs, Colorado
True to its name, hot springs are a major component of this resort located a little over an hour outside Telluride in southwest Colorado's San Juan Mountains. It also happens to be the site of a 19th-century ghost town and several artifacts from that period have been preserved, like the original miners' cabins, the saloon (which has been upgraded with modern appliances), and the bar that was allegedly inscribed by Butch Cassidy after he stopped in for a drink after robbing a bank in Telluride.
Owners Christoph Henkel and Katrin Bellinger (he's the scion of a German chemical company and she's a noted art dealer and collector) enlisted their friend Annabelle Selldorf to design the library and filled the rooms with works that both blend in perfectly with the 1,600-acre Western estate (like William Eggleston) and are also a highbrow art surprise (like David LaChapelle).
Since 1755, this grande dame of a property in the Danish capital has welcomed royalty and celebrities—Hans Christian Andersen was a frequent guest, and so are members of Denmark's monarchy. The hotel's art collection has a strong emphasis on Danish artists. Every year, the current owner, the Remmen Foundation, awards grants (known as the Hotel D'Angleterre Art Award) to talented up-and-coming local artists to help them gain wider exposure to an international audience. There are some heavy hitters in the portfolio, too, like Joan Miró and Andy Warhol, whose portrait of Denmark's Queen Margrethe II hangs behind the reception desk.
The Dolder Grand, Zurich
The scale and scope of this 120-year-old Zurich hotel's art collection are evident the minute you walk into the lobby. Looming over the reception desk is a 36-foot-wide work by Andy Warhol, aptly titled Big Retrospective Painting. More than 100 other works grace the majestic property, like Fernando Botero's Woman with Fruit sculpture and others by heavyweights like Keith Haring, Takashi Murakami, and Salvador Dali.
To begin your art tour of the Dolder Grand, stop by the reception desk for an iPad that will provide a detailed map of where everything is. What's more, this hotel has architecture cred, too—its four-year renovation, which took place from 2004-2008, was spearheaded by Lord Norman Foster.
ARIA Resort & Casino, Las Vegas
It shouldn't come as a surprise that Sin City, land of excess, is home to a fair share of big-ticket artworks. The Chihuly glass suspended over the lobby at the Bellagio is iconic. And almost everyone manages to peel themselves away from the blackjack tables to go visit Ugo Rondinone's Seven Magic Mountains in the Nevada desert.
The ARIA Resort & Casino has one of the most ambitious collections in the city, spearheaded by Jim Murren, chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts (which owns the ARIA, Bellagio, and others). In 2016, he oversaw the launch of MGM Resorts Arts & Culture to help manage the group's extensive acquisitions. On the roster of talent: Claes Oldenburg, Isa Genzken, Jenny Holzer, and Maya Lin.
*This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com
*Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors