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Art for art’s sake: Six art hotel picks from around the globe

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Hotel art is so often synonymous with mass produced, thoughtlessly arranged prints but these Design Hotels™ are challenging this stereotype by offering oh so much more.

Ranging from the seriously impressive collections of big name artists such as Andy Warhol and Antony Gormley in THE THIEF hotel, Oslo, to carefully curated exhibitions of local African artists at the Tribe Hotel, Nairobi, some of the world’s most exciting art can now be found in hotels.

These hotels provide the opportunity to enjoy art outside the context of a museum. With in-house galleries such as HALLARTS in the Sofa Hotel and Residences, Istanbul, or artist in residence programs in the Park Hotel Tokyo, guests can now experience art in an altogether different and more immersive environment.

These collections have grown from each hotelier’s true passion for art. Whether that passion be for cutting edge digital art technology at QT Sydney or for experiential, tactile arts as in Rovinj’s Hotel Lone, this tangible excitement has the ability to inspire a guest’s own creativity.
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Art Ecstasy in Oslo

World-class curator and former director of Norway’s National Museum of Art Sune Nordgren is the man behind THE THIEF’s stellar art collection. Newly opened in January this year, the hotel’s 119 rooms feature handpicked original artworks by comtemporary masters alongside thought-provoking video installation and cutting edge graphic design. ‘Art on demand’ is available in every room’s interactive TV while themed maps such as Oslo Escape Routes take you on a curated tour of art, design and architecture around the city. The hotel also shares a strong partnership with its neighbor, the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art. Designed by Renzo Piano, the museum lends prominent artworks to THE THIEF  allowing guests to be inspired by the best in contemporary art.

Engaging Tactile Art in Rovinj

Located along Croatia’s Adriatic coast, the Hotel Lone combines innovative design with functionality to present something distinctly expressive. It is the hotel’s attention to detail which is truly astonishing – every surface, furniture piece, light fitting, even the staff uniforms designed by Croatian fashion studio I-GLE, have been individually commissioned to fit the hotel’s creative concept. Hotel Lone brings together an eclectic mix of artists ranging from stage designers to horticulturists and the range of materials used is comprehensive. From rich textured wall hangings to decorated murals and living installations, the entire hotel is very tactile- unlike the traditional museum ethos which tells us not to touch and to be quiet, the Hotel Lone encourages its guests to play with materials, to use their senses and become part of the creative process making for a truly experiential stay.

Sumo Delights in Tokyo

Located in the culturally exciting area Shiodome in Tokyo, Park Hotel Tokyo has launched an exhibition series ART Colours which is a quarterly exhibition project that allows guests and Japanese residents to enjoy the beauty of the four seasons. A selection of artworks and video installations by Japanese artists are chosen for every exhibition and displayed in the hotel’s atrium. The hotel also recently started an Artist in Hotel project where Japanese artists are invited to create Japanese ink paintings directly on the walls of the rooms, turning hotel rooms into art galleries. The Artist Room Sumo is the first result of this project, allowing guests an immersive experience in sharing the guestroom with the lively images of these sumo wrestlers.

A Dazzler Down Under

Right in the heart of Sydney’s most vibrant district, QT Sydney stands proud within the historic Gowings department store and heritage-listed State Theatre. Behind its doors, the old world charm is retained with new technology, distinctive art mediums and pioneering artists. Its eclectic and quirky artefacts from around the world are hardly de rigeur for any hotel art and are put together in a whimsical fashion. In addition, cutting edge graphics such as an imposing LED wall of intriguing digital art is installed in the hotel’s public area, making this the start of a guest’s dramatic theatrical stay at the hotel. The conservation work of the hotel not only includes structural connectors like staircases and tiles but other details such as the ornate retail display cabinets which have been lovingly restored to house artefacts and design pieces. Guests will see art in a new light at the hotel through an inspiration of new perspectives from old attitudes.

Inspiring Tribal Art in Nairobi

Tribe Hotel is fast becoming an exciting centre for arts and culture whose impressive guest list boasts classical musicians to rap artists and poets to royals. Its treasure trove of art pieces is curated by Faranak Ehsani, wife to one of Tribe’s owners and is home to some of the finest tribal art to be found anywhere in the world. Artefacts from South Africa to Cameroon and Ivory Coast in the West, through Kenya and Rwanda in the East fill the lobbies, rooms, restaurants and lounges and are presented in imaginative displays.  Guests might even find themselves sitting on an art piece, dressed as a stool, chair or bench somewhere in the hotel. The hotel also offers a 50 feet high atrium with tiers of galleries for events and exhibitions, making it a cultural axis to engage locals and international guests.

Urban Art in Istanbul

Designed by renowned architect Sinan Kafadar, The Sofa Hotel and Residences is a blend of minimalistic chic and Ottoman flair with 82 spacious rooms and suites. Facilities such as the brand new 500 square metre HALLARTS is a multi-functional event space that contains a sliding roof, glass separation and open air access. This new arts platform offers galleries, as well as international and local artists an opportunity to showcase their works right in the center of Istanbul’s trendiest Nisantasi neighborhood. The hotel’s innovative “Anytime, Anything” button connects to staff 24 hours a day and allows guests access to everything from concert and art exhibition tickets to rare books from the nearby Patika bookstore.

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