Art Hotels: Check in and Check Out the Masterpieces
Typically travelers visit a destination's museums and galleries to experience and admire local and international art. But a growing breed of art hotels is changing that dynamic, offering interactive, immersive art experiences for guests throughout their properties. Whether you're hoping to sleep among great works or expand your personal collection, get your culture fix at these stand-out art hotels.
Le Meridien Chambers Minneapolis
If appreciating art on museum and gallery walls isn't enough to scratch your creative itch, check into a hotel that stokes your inner artist's fire. Le Meridien Chambers Minneapolis devotes a stunning amount of energy to promoting the arts both within and beyond its walls. Travelers stroll past lobby spaces, hallways, a five-story stairwell mural, and even an in-house gallery decked out with more than 200 pieces of original, contemporary artwork. Repeat customer? The hotel swaps out rotating video art installations.
Guests can glimpse Minneapolis’ local art culture thanks to hotel room key cards that also offer complimentary access to the city's famed Walker Art Center, which is just a short walk (or bike ride) away from the property. When the influx of art triggers your inner Picasso into action, wannabe artists express themselves in Le Meridien's Art Room. The space allows guests inspired by the hotel's and city’s art scene to take advantage of complimentary supplies such as charcoals, colored pencils, easels, and sketch pads to create their own masterpieces.
Want to bring a piece of art home? The hotel offers an interactive Art-o-mat in the lobby — a repurposed cigarette vending machine that dispenses handmade artifacts from artists around the globe (ask the welcome desk for a token).
La Posada de Santa Fe
Quirky Santa Fe is an art lover's -- and artist's -- dream. With emerald-blue skies as a backdrop and adobe structures of deep reds and browns dotting the tiny town, it's hard not to feel inspired to create and capture the town's energy. Hundreds of art galleries can sate your desire to admire art, and one such gallery space lurks inside an unexpected venue, a hotel: La Posada de Santa Fe Hotel & Spa Resort.
Housed inside a former late 19th-century mansion, La Posada once served as an artist's refuge for creatives, including Georgia O'Keefe. Today, the resort houses an astonishing collection of art curated by local artist Sara Eyestone. Dozens of nationally recognized artists' work is displayed at the property, and Eyestone holds regular group painting workshops, memoir writing classes, and weekly tours of the hotel's collection for locals, guests and curious visitors.
Should you be moved to purchase one of the pieces on display, La Posada offers a sweet bonus: half-priced room rates on your return visit.
The Vendue; Charleston, South Carolina
There's no doubt Charleston is a major arts destination, thanks to its Museum Mile dotted with the likes of the Gibbes Museum of Art, the Charleston Museum, and the Old Slave Mart Museum. This dedication to the arts spills over into the city's premier art hotel, The Vendue. Located in the thick of the historic French Quarter, the hotel is recognized for housing more than 300 original works of art and rotating art installations.
In fact, experiencing the arts is such an integral part of a stay at The Vendue that the hotel employs a full-time art director and art docent, as well as an artist-in-residence in the hotel’s art studio.
Currently on display at the hotel -- and garnering a great deal of press -- is the exhibition, “Lions and Tigers and Bears,” which is anchored by an animal-related theme that focuses on surreal and nontraditional representations of various beasts and critters.
21c Museum Hotel; Louisville, Kentucky
It's a gallery! It's a museum! It's … 21c Museum Hotel in Louisville! You'd be forgiven for experiencing Superman-like confusion during your stay at 21c. One of the world's most exemplary collections of art hotels got its start in Kentucky's largest city. Today, that flagship property features more than 50,000 square feet of exhibition space and serves as a hotel, contemporary art museum and cultural civic center.
Guests should stay alert for art sighting in the most unexpected places, including elevators and sidewalks. Art novices and aficionados alike will admire the hotel's permanent collection of 21st-century paintings, sculptures, video installations, and photography during their stay. If you're lucky, your visit will coincide with one of the hotel's rotating exhibitions.