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It’s not every night that you get to sleep with Andy Warhol and Damien Hirst. But when you stay at New York City’s Gramercy Park Hotel, you’re guaranteed more than a few artful encounters. Of course, the Julian Schnabel–designed property – adorned with original works by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Richard Prince, and Fernando Botero, in addition to Hirst and Warhol – is just one of our favourite hotels offering guests a museum-quality experience. Whether it’s Salvador Dali in the lobby, Pablo Picasso in the bar, or Jasper Johns in the restaurant, these world-class art collections have us dreaming of a night at the museum.
1. The Dolder Grand
Set in the picturesque hills above Zurich, the Dolder Grand delights with a truly museum-quality collection of works ranging from pieces by living legends like Takashi Murakami and Anish Kapoor, to those by beloved greats like Andy Warhol and Rene Magritte. Look closely and you may even find a surprise or two: For instance, a painting by Sylvester Stallone – undeniably in-your-face with its massive artist’s signature scrawled across the canvas – regularly sparks debate of what truly makes art art. Of course, the art experience is more than just paintings on the wall: The new Saltz restaurant is the work of German mad genius Rolf Sachs and, in the lobby, an all-too-lifelike sculpture by the hyperrealist Duane Hanson causes many a guest to do a wary double-take. Art aficionados anxious to take in all 150 works can pick up one of the hotel’s iPads for a self-guided tour.
2. Wynn Las Vegas
Las Vegas is known more for neon and flash than art and cloture, but the Wynn Las Vegas shines with more than the glitter of casino lights. Stocked with pieces from the collection of owner Steve Wynn, the resort showcases a veritable who’s who of the art world, from a nearly century-old chandelier designed by Paris’s beloved Gustave Eiffel to the larger-than-life steel tulips of Jeff Koons. One piece you won’t find at the resort? Picasso’s 1932 painting Le Reve, which Wynn infamously – and accidentally – put his elbow through in 2006.
3. Gramercy Park Hotel
New York City, US
With its extensive collection of world-class art – from Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Damien Hirst, to name but a few – Gramercy Park Hotel rivals New York City’s many venerable art institutions. Of course, what the hotel has that, say, the Museum of Modern Art doesn’t, is a funky decor envisioned by director and all-around art world enfant terrible, Julian Schnabel. The result is an eclectic blend of over-the-top styles, combining classic Renaissance Revival architecture, vibrant yet elegant interiors, and some of the most important contemporary works of art around. Added bonus: For a quiet interlude, guests can pick up a key to the exclusive Gramercy Park, the city’s only private park.
4. Hotel Eclat Beijing
It seems there’s a masterpiece on every wall and in every corner at the Hotel Eclat Beijing. Sure, you’ll find Western greats like Salvador Dalí and Andy Warhol, but the 100-room property really shines for its extensive collection of contemporary Chinese art. Glimpse works by the likes of Liu Ruowang, Shen Jingdong, and, one of the country’s most famous, Gao Xiaowu throughout the property. For a thorough education in China’s contemporary art scene, request a tour from your attentive butler.
5. Alpina Gstaad
A swanky hillside Swiss retreat, Alpina Gstaad is a perfect blend of contemporary art and traditional crafts. Guests enjoy a rich mix of intriguing and approachable art, from classic landscape photography by Michel Comte to large-scale sculptures by Alexander Calder. A total of 63 works by 36 artists – including American painter Dan Colen and Canadian collective General Idea – are scattered throughout, so whether you’re sipping Negronis in the bar and tucking into a bowl of fondue in the stübli, you know you’re in good company.
6. Ellerman House
Cape Town, South Africa
Overlooking Bantry Bay, Cape Town’s Ellerman House feels more like your rich uncle’s vacation home than a hotel. Owned by South African native and collector Paul Harris, the 15-room retreat is an exploration in South African art, from old masters like Jacob Hendrik Pierneef and Thomas Bowler to contemporary stars like Bezzy Bailey. Have breakfast in the restaurant’s back room among the sombre paintings of John Meyer, or enjoy a cocktail in the lounge beneath sketches by the world-renowned William Kentridge. Most impressive, however, is the art gallery, filled with powerful works from some of the most talented – and, at times, controversial – artists of South Africa’s recent past and present, from the satirical pop-art paintings of Anton Kannemeyer to the piercing (literally) sculptures of Walter Oltmann.
7. Palace Hotel Tokyo
Set just opposite the famed Imperial Palace Gardens, the Palace Hotel Tokyo unites artistic traditions past and present, showcasing more than 1,000 paintings, watercolours, and sculptural pieces. The verdant views from the hotel provided plenty of inspiration for commissioned works, which include the abstract paintings of Satoshi Uchiumi and a magnificent crystallised panel by Shinji Ohmaki. For an immersive taste, book one of the hotel’s in-house or city art tours.
8. Four Seasons Florence
This is a case of a hotel not being a repository for works of art, but a work of art itself. Set in the 15th century Palazzo della Gherardesca and a 16th century covent connected by the largest public garden in Firenze, the process of transforming the buildings into the hotel was fraught with delays. Not because of errant workers, but because each time a fresco was uncovered during renovation, the national Belle Arti committee had to be brought in to review and appraise before work could continue. The building itself is a Renaissance masterpiece of architecture and art, and nowhere is this better appreciated that in the lobby where 12 bas-reliefs crafted by Michelangelo’s teacher Bertoldo di Giovanni in 1555 surround the courtyard. Every corner you turn, there is another fresco, or marble statue or painting, priceless in value and in experience.