Today’s luxury hotels are often thought of as microcosms, self-sufficient destinations with a wide range of experiences to offer—not only gastronomic, therapeutic, and recreational but also aesthetic. That’s why many of the world’s top hotels make room within their walls for temporary or permanent art displays. Some devote space to a specific creator; others invite prestigious galleries to mount exhibitions in their public areas. And some happen to have owners who are also passionate collectors, constantly adding new treasures to their property’s walls.
Some hotels have always been imbued with art; you might say art is part of their DNA. For instance, La Ferme Saint Siméon in Honfleur, France, was a refuge for Monet and Corot, and—lucky for us—they left some of their work behind. Similarly, works by Picasso, Calder, and Miró remain at La Colombe d’Or near the Cote D’Azur, all frozen in time.
Below, a look at 25 hotels around the world that are certain to thrill art aficionados.
Le Negresco, Nice, France
With its striking pink dome, the Negresco, founded in 1913, is a landmark in Nice. It has been featured in more than 30 movies, from the 1965 classic Lady L, starring Sophia Loren and Paul Newman, to Woody Allen’s Magic in the Moonlight (2014) with Colin Firth and Emma Stone. Under the direction of Jeanne Augier, who acquired the property in 1957, the hotel was turned into what some might call a museum, although the comparison may not be entirely welcome. (“We don’t really like the term museum because we are first and foremost a haven of hospitality that is a place full of life,” a member of the hotel team told ARTnews.)
Still, one can’t ignore the trumpet player in a colorful harlequin suit that stands at the entrance of the Negresco on the Promenade des Anglais. Next to this sculpted portrait of Miles Davis by Niki de Saint Phalle lies a bronze mermaid by Myriam De Kepper. Both pieces pave the way for some 6,000 artworks, including one of Hyacinthe Rigaud’s three formal portraits of Louis XIV. You will also find art by François Boucher, Jean Cocteau, Marc Chagall, Henri Matisse, Erró, and Salvador Dalí, a friend of Madame Augier who reportedly swung by one day with his cheetah. Several of the Spanish Surrealist’s lithographs hang on the sixth level. Mrs. Auger’s top-floor suite, known as the “appartements de Madame”, should be transformed into rooms by the end of 2024 or the beginning of 2025. Until then, a brand-new spa, filled with about 20 original art works, will have opened at the end of 2023.
La Ferme Saint Siméon, Honfleur, France
Xavier Parent, who has been La Ferme Saint Siméon’s concierge for the past 36 years is the memory of this prestigious member of Relais & Châteaux, formerly an inn that inspired key figures of 19th-century art. Room 19 was Jean-Baptiste Corot’s studio. Room 22 was Claude Monet’s. And there were many others whom La Mère Toutain, the owner, took pride in accommodating at this Normandy refuge. The still life with a rabbit hanging in the dining room was—rumor has it—a gift from Adolphe-Félix Cals to thank his hostess for a delicious meal.
Now La Ferme Saint Siméon is a refuge for celebrities and presidents in search of anonymity. However, art remains an essential component of the hotel. The Bollen family, the current owners, appreciate painting immensely. Hence the canvases spread across the walls of the lobby, the restaurant, and the bistro La Boucane. This dining room houses pieces acquired from auctions, as well as a reproduction that Parent commissioned, a replica of Monet’s La Charrette. Route sous la neige à Honfleur, the original now residing at the Musée d’Orsay. Opposite is a duck portrayed by a local artist named Gervaise, who used to teach watercolor painting in the hotel’s gardens. She has been replaced by artist and author Laurent Le Roy, who will share his pictorial technique with La Ferme’s guests or show them around Honfleur.
Le Royal Monceau—Raffles Paris
Le Royal Monceau—Raffles Paris is home to a collection of 350 artworks shown throughout the hotel’s rooms, suites, and public spaces. There is also an “Art District” that is in fact one of Bel-Air Fine Art’s outposts in Paris. The emphasis on art started with the refurbishment of the building by French designer Philippe Starck in 2008, whose contributions relied on nods to the hotel’s past. He rescued chandeliers slated for auction and asked that they be hung above an Art Deco–inspired wooden staircase that evokes the late 1920s, when the building was constructed. Reproductions of letters from poet and filmmaker Jean Cocteau to actor Jean Marais are showcased in a few rooms. The Picasso-esque ceramic lamps found all around the hotel were manufactured by Francis Milici, the same Francis Milici who collaborated with the Spanish master in Vallauris.
On the first floor, 15 wooden deer sculpted by Nikolay Polissky are in dialogue with wall drawings by Stephen Smith, who was commissioned to contribute to all seven floors. Photographers are well represented, with works by Simon Chaput, Marie Maillard, and Thierry Dreyfus. The hotel even has its own art concierge, likely the first in the world. Julie Eugène is on hand to meet guests in the ground-floor library, the starting point of tours of the hotel that offer facts and anecdotes about the art, design, and hand-crafted items on view.
Villa La Coste, Le Puy-Sainte-Réparade, France
About a 20-minute drive from Aix-en-Provence, in the South of France, is a 500-acre wine estate, home to Château La Coste, an exceptional outdoor display of art and architecture, and Villa La Coste, the 28-suite luxury hotel attached to it. This piece of heaven on earth was purchased in 2004 by Irish businessman Patrick McKillen.
Past a Tadao Andō–designed gate and one of Louise Bourgeois’s giant spiders stands an art center, starting point of daily guided tours, available in both French and English. You will come across about 40 works by Sophie Calle, Ai Weiwei, Jean-Michel Othoniel, Tracey Emin, and more. Sean Scully’s Wall of Light is La Coste’s first site-specific installation and the American painter’s first sculpture. A new work by James Turrell is under development.
Château La Coste seems to be a magnet for Pritzker Prize winners from Renzo Piano to Frank Gehry to Jean Nouvel to Kengo Kuma, all of whom are represented. The former wine cellar, renovated by French architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte in 2015, became the first exhibition space on site, followed by the Richard Rogers Pavilion in 2021. McKillen is expanding next year, with a new hotel opening on the domaine—La Ferme at La Coste will offer 76 rooms with a traditional aesthetic and more accessible prices than at the Villa. Art will of course be strong component of this highly-anticipated venue.
Domaine des Étangs, Massignac, France
This former property of a feudal lord dates back to the 12th century. Under the care of Garance Primat, whose family owns the 2,500-acre estate, the property has become a place where hospitality and nature and contemporary art combine to beautiful effect. It is home to a 1,000-piece collection, mostly sculptures and outdoor installations, and Primat regularly invites artists to dialogue with the land.
Upon entering the estate, you are greeted by The Sun, a golden circle by Ugo Rondinone, and A Ring of White Marble by Richard Long. Further on, you will come across Mère Veilleuse (“Mother Watcher”), a set of five featureless golden matryoshka figures by Irina Rasquinet; Relatum—L’ombre des Étoiles (“Relative—The Shadow of Stars”) by Lee Ufan; and Du Sol au Soleil (“From the Floor to the Sun”) by Tomás Saraceno. Since 2017, La Laiterie (“The Dairy”) has been housing temporary exhibitions. On view now is “Primordial Waters” (until March 2024), which curator Claudia Paetzold defines as a way for the public to reconnect with where they come from and reach unity in an art-filled space.
La Colombe d’Or, Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France
Upon arrival at La Colombe d’Or, you’ll find a giant marble thumb by César in dialogue with a bronze panther by Arman. The hotel is now more than 100 years old. In earlier times, Henri Matisse would often stop by the place, not far from Nice, to have some tea, and Fernand Léger had a colorful ceramic installed there. Pablo Picasso, who was not one to offer presents, gifted owner Paul Roux one of his works, though the lucky Roux did not rely on donations only. Among his first acquisitions was a small piece by Miró, scouted in a Cannes gallery.
“Calder had a crush on my mother-in-law, and he would always give her a watercolor before leaving,” remembers Danièle Roux, whose husband is Paul’s grandson. In fact, one of the most impressive pieces of the Colombe d’Or collection is the Alexander Calder stabile standing by the pool.
The Dolder Grand, Zurich
Built in the 19th century as a place for relaxation and escape, the Dolder Grand is an institution in Switzerland. Located atop a hill, it overlooks Lake Zurich and offers views of the Alps. This is where many celebrities—Winston Churchill, Albert Einstein, Prince William, and Leonardo DiCaprio, among others—have found shelter over the years.
Some 120 artworks can be found at the establishment. The Dolder’s collection features work by national icons such as Ferdinand Hodler, Urs Fischer, and Alberto Giacometti, as well as international stars from Joan Miró to Zaha Hadid. It includes paintings, among them Femmes Métamorphosées—Les Sept Arts by Salvador Dalí, and sculptures including Le Monde by Niki de Saint Phalle and Jean Tinguely, a mechanism that starts spinning if one presses an associated red button. There is also Fernando Botero’s Woman With Fruit by the pool, and Takashi Murakami’s whimsical Trolls Umbrella, which shares its name with a signature cocktail made with tarragon cordial and soda.
The restaurant Saltz is a work of art in itself. Artist Rolf Sachs designed the dining room as a reflection of Switzerland; the neon light running along a red wall is meant to evoke the Alps. An “Art iPad” is available at the reception desk for those who would like to walk around and identify the works on display. Otherwise, scan QR codes hidden all over the establishment.
The Beaumont, London
Mr. Beaumont is a fictitious character invented by Chris Corbin and Jeremy King, the restaurant tycoons behind the Beaumont Hotel. His story takes place during Prohibition. Hence the black-and-white photos from the 1920s and ’30s—Katharine Hepburn, Clark Gable, Igor Stravinsky—displayed throughout the property. This former art deco garage, reinvented by architect Thierry Despont in 2020, is an invitation to time-travel.
On top of the west wing sits a figurative yet cubistic sculpture. Could it be our Mr. Beaumont? Inside is ROOM, a one-of-a-kind suite entirely sculpted by British artist Antony Gormley at the founders’ request. Past the office/salon and the spacious marble-clad bathroom, nine steps lead to a thick curtain and, beyond that, to a master bedroom, a haven of peace. Thanks to the unique James Turrell-esque ceiling window, a perfect balance exists between natural and artificial lighting.
In addition to the ROOM coup de maître, artworks are scattered throughout the Beaumont. The ground-floor display combines pieces previously selected by Jeremy King and his wife with loans and acquisitions added by the hotel’s current owner (the hotel changed hands in 2018). Among the art highlights is Portrait of Mary Wordsworth, Lady Kent (1777) by Joshua Reynolds. The Colony Grill Room restaurant was renovated by American artist Anthony Inswasty, whose luminous frescoes evoke Pierre Bonnard’s palette. The Magritte Bar features a reproduction of René Magritte’s Maître d’École hanging across the reception area. On the cocktail menu there is a page called “Ceci n’est pas . . . ,” and some beverages were named after Magritte masterpieces, such as Memory of a Journey and Empire of Light. Cheers!
Charlotte Street Hotel, London
The Firmdale Hotels group, which consists of eight properties in London and two in New York, is owned by art enthusiasts Tim and Kit Kemp. Charlotte Street Hotel is one of them. This former dental warehouse, located just north of Soho, was transformed in 2000 into a quaint 52-room hotel. Kit Kemp is the mastermind behind its vibrant design. “Every room is like a painted canvas. It has to tell a story,” she once said in an interview.
The hotel’s public spaces were conceived as an homage to the Bloomsbury Set, a group of like-minded writers, artists, and intellectuals eager to break free from the conventions of Victorian society; accordingly, the walls feature works from the period or by its members. These include a self-portrait by Nina Hamnett (aka the Queen of Bohemia); a conspicuously framed floral composition by Roger Fry, who brought the first Post-Impressionist exhibition to London; and a painting by Vanessa Bell, Virginia Woolfe’s sister.
The Oscar restaurant has taken Bloomsbury’s colorful palette into our time. Kit Kemp went to the Victoria and Albert Museum to find inspiration and commissioned Alexander Hollweg to create a mural of 21st-century day-to-day London life. The chess player in the mural is her husband; the figure with a racquet is a nod to Bloomsbury’s Duncan Grant, who played tennis. As for Fernando Botero’s Dog in the lobby, it echoes the XXL sitting cat majestically sticking its tongue out at another Firmdale property, the Soho Hotel.
Broomhill Estate, Muddiford, United Kingdom
Ninety-nine acres of land in Devon is not so much when you decide to turn them into an ambitious sculpture park. This didn’t deter Rinus and Aniet van de Sande from an idea they had in 1997. The Dutch couple created a foundation with three goals in mind: to shape an environment where various disciplines could merge, to support a community of talents by featuring them and reinforcing their networks, and to preserve what they produced.
Today Broomhill Estate features an outdoor sculpture park divided into two gardens, plus a seven-room boutique hotel and 30-seat restaurant that occupy a 1913 house refurbished in 2021. The first sculpture garden, which sits in the lower river meadow, brings together the winners of the National Sculpture Prize (Gus Skottowe, Lucy Gregory, etc.), launched in 2009 by the Van de Sands. The second garden, set in front of the hotel, holds permanent installations by Ronald Westerhuis, Giles Penny, Tim Shaw, Carol Peace, and others.
The Silo, Cape Town, South Africa
In a tower designed by British architect Thomas Heatherwick you’ll find the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA), opened in 2017, and six floors above, the Silo Hotel, both committed to promoting African contemporary art. The 28-room hotel regularly welcomes exhibitions initiated in collaboration with local galleries and holds a collection of some 300 pieces, including many commissions.
In the lobby, for instance, photographs of a performance by Mohau Modisakeng and Jody Paulsen’s felt collages brighten the walls. There are also paintings by Frances Goodman, and captions and monographic albums everywhere. To learn more, you may turn to Irene Boaventura, the hotel’s art concierge, who is happy to share her cultural tips with whoever may be interested.
Minos Beach Art Hotel, Crete
In 1988, the George and Aristea Mamidakis Foundation invited some 30 artists, such as Vlassis Caniaris and Anish Kapoor, to a symposium to discuss the future of the Minos Beach Art Hotel. This was the starting point of a collection centered on Greek contemporary art. Of the 70 works amassed since then, about 50 have been installed in the gardens (and the waters) of the 125-bungalow hotel, which is currently celebrating its 60th anniversary. Most of them were created on and specifically for the premises.
In the gardens you can find Drawing by Lynda Benglis, a metal sculpture standing out against the Mediterranean sky; Light and Shadow, rock painted in yellow by Carlo Ciarli; Haris, a human figure fashioned with ropes by Eleni Mylonas; Don Quixote, a windmill rehabilitated by Theodoros. Underwater installations include Lost Ears of Agios Nikolaos by Kostas Ioannidis, seven concrete ears immersed in the sea with a sound system that contributes to a synesthetic experience.
If the art at Minos Beach isn’t enough for you, drop in at the nearby Minos Palace, where you can find three site-specific installations commissioned by the Mamidakis Foundation. And if you can wait a few years, a museum of contemporary art is planned for the Candia Park Village, a bit farther up the coast.
La Residencia, Deià, Mallorca
Deià is a costal village on the island of Mallorca, Spanish cradle of painters, sculptors, writers, and musicians. This is where La Residencia, a 71-room retreat owned by the Belmond group, has been preserving the heritage of a monk-owned property turned into a hotel in 1984.
This year Belmond launched an art residency program in close collaboration with the international Galleria Continua. Three applicants were selected out of 300: Ukrainian artist Anastasiia Podervianska, who works mainly with painting and textiles; Kosovo-born Sislej Xhafa, the founder of the Institute of Contemporary Art ARKIV in Pejë, Kosovo; and the Brooklyn-based Pixy Liao, a photographer who draws inspiration from her relationship with her partner, Takahiro Morooka.
Before Artist in Residencia, Belmond had already partnered with Galleria Continua to create MITICO, a showcase of artworks at its Italian properties. Four artists took part in MITICO’s debut in 2022. The 2023 season now includes La Residencia, where sculptor Arcangelo Sassolino has installed Hunger, a work from 2006–07.
Can Ferrereta, Santanyí, Mallorca
Not far from the village of Santanyí, founded by King James II of Majorca (1243–1311), stands a 17th-century manor that the Soldevila Ferrer family decided about a year ago to turn into a hotel. The new owners were determined to keep the building intact, and today, Can Ferrereta’s 32 rooms contain remains of medieval times including wooden beams and stone vaults. The place is filled with objects custom-made by local craftspeople as well as with furnishings by famous designers such as Piero Lissoni, Piet Boon, Hans J. Wegner, and Michael Anastassiades and the studio GamFratesi. Art is also a crucial component of this authentic manor; be prepared to come across works by Jaume Plensa, Joan Miró, Guillem Nadal, Miquel Planas, Jordi Alcaraz, Riera i Aragó, Manolo Ballesteros, and Bárbara Vidal.
Teranka, Formentera, Spain
This 35-room boutique hotel on the tiny Balearic island of Formentera, south of Ibiza, was founded by art afficionado Philippe Leclerc; he is responsible for the sculpture by Spanish superstar Jaume Plensa standing by two benches in the garden. The rest of the art on display results from a collaboration between super-hotelier (and new owner) Jennica Shamoon Arazi and interior designer Katrina Phillips, who has been working with Arazi for almost a decade.
The ongoing collection mainly features, for now, female artists who live in the Balearic Islands. Elizabeth Rose Langford, whom Philips scouted shortly after she won the Griffin Art Prize, was called for her expertise in pigments; Rachel Shaw Ashton, who is very much involved in sustainability, was commissioned to craft a Posidonia meadow, with hand-cut paper and paints specifically made from washed-up seagrass; Natalie Rich Fernández was asked to play around with the name of the hotel and shape symbolic forms in clay. The hanging installations in the lobby were made by Phillips herself, although she prefers bringing attention to the work of her artist protégés, such as Alice Sheppard Fidler and Anna Ametller, who were also involved in the project.
Abadía Retuerta LeDomaine, Valladolid, Spain
A former abbey founded in 1146 and awarded the European Heritage/Europa Nostra Award for conservation after its restoration in 2013, Abadía Retuerta LeDomaine has undertaken numerous art projects in the last few years, with an emphasis on landscape and architecture. The first order of business was to make an inventory of the works that had always been part of the site, such as a Beauvais Manufactory tapestry from the 18th century inspired by René-Antoine Houasse’s 1688 painting Alpheus and Arethusa.
Frenesí Fine Arts helps the 27-room hotel incorporate modern and contemporary art within its walls. Frenesí is responsible for the Territorio artist-in-residence program, which has benefited Abderrahim Yamou, Los Bravú, and Leonor Serrano Rivas so far. The hotel keeps acquiring new works, especially from the art fair ARCOmadrid. The sculpture Running Water (2022) by Emmanuela Soria Ruiz is among its latest acquisitions.
Byblos Art Hotel Villa Amistà, San Pietro in Cariano, Italy
Located in the Verona province, Byblos Art Hotel Villa Amistà is sited on the remains of a 15th-century villa designed by Michele Sanmicheli. In the 18th century, the building was retrofitted by Ignazio Pellegrini, and in 2005 it was remodeled by Alessandro Mendini, member of the Studio Alchimia group, known for its openness to all kinds of ornamentation. (He is perhaps most famous for the Proust chair, a rococo-looking armchair painted in the manner of the Pointillists.)
Ever since the most recent remodeling, art has kept growing inside and outside the property. Byblos Art Hotel is where a photograph by Marina Abramović and an abstract sculpture by Tony Cragg may meet, along with a version of Robert Indiana’s LOVE sculpture, a mirror installation by Anish Kapoor, a huge totem of pearls assembled by Jean-Michel Ottoniel, and an aluminum cutout nude by Tom Wesselmann. This colorful collection of 40 or so pieces now overflows the gardens. Inside, you will find the work of Mariangela Levita, who painted one of the hallways entirely as she would have a white canvas.
Hotel Éclat, Beijing
This exceptional hotel occupies the 16th to 21st floors of the Winston Shu–designed Parkview Green, a glass and steel pyramid in Chaoyang, Beijing’s diplomatic district. This member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World is home to a marvelous, museum-worthy art collection of 100 pieces shown its rooms and public spaces.
In the lobby lounge, called The Gallery, prints from Andy Warhol’s “Marilyn Monroe” and “Giant Panda” series dialogue with an unexpected version of Trojan on Horseback, one of 36 Salvador Dalí bronzes in the hotel, which holds the largest private collection of works by the Spanish Surrealist outside Europe. Unbelievable but true, the owner had the sculpture painted in gold and showcased with a red LED heart. Look up at the ceiling and you will find a hand-blown glass installation by Jitka Kamencova Skuhrava. Chinese art is also well represented, with works including a group of Chen Wenling’s Red Boy sculptures; Fan Xiaoyan’s crying woman against a wall of buttons symbolizing her hard labor; and Shen Jingdong’s Hero, a long row of soldiers inspired by a photo of himself in uniform.
The Langham, Boston
The art on view at The Langham, occupying a building that formerly housed the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, has everything to do with history. The collection comprises 268 pieces, including 60 commissions. Many were sourced from the Copley Society of Art, the oldest nonprofit art association in the United States.
For the lobby, Samuel Gareginyan was asked to paint a portrait of the Bostonian portraitist John Singleton Copley. The cocktail bar houses six photographs of classical musicians by Acadia Mezzofanti, pastel still lifes by Anne Emerson, a figurative collage by Doron Putka, and abstract compositions by Joe Norris. “It was important to us to utilize local artists, especially during the pandemic. We are looking forward to our guests having the ability to learn more about our collection from the artists themselves,” says Michele Grosso, the hotel’s managing director.
The Wyeth Room was named after N. C. Wyeth, the Massachusetts-born illustrator responsible for its two impressive murals—one devoted to Abraham Lincoln and Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase, the other to Alexander Hamilton—commissioned when the building was still a bank. Also reflecting the building’s former use are the portraits of eight of the bank’s presidents by Debra Keirce hanging high up on the walls of the Grana restaurant.
Faena Hotel, Miami Beach
Based both in Buenos Aires and in Miami Beach, Faena Art is a charitable organization that commissions, produces, and houses cross-disciplinary artistic endeavors meant to be accessible to all. At the Faena Hotel Miami Beach, the entrance hall is covered with allegorical frescoes by Argentinian graphic designer and commercial photographer Juan Gatti. Damien Hirst’s golden mammoth, Gone But Not Forgotten, stands right outside, protected by a giant glass vitrine. This imposing installation, for everyone to see from the public beach, cohabits with works by Jeff Koons, Alberto Garutti, and Gonzalo Fuenmayor. Film director Baz Luhrmann and his wife, Catherine Martin, Oscars winner for best sets and costumes in Moulin Rouge and The Great Gatsby, were recruited to help with the hotel design and chose red as a dominant color.
In 2012 Faena Art established the Faena Prize for the Arts, which promotes out-of-the-box thinking and experimentation. Santiago-based Paula de Solminihac was selected last year out of 395 applicants from all over the world and awarded $100,000 for Morning Glory, an installation of wooden decking on Faena Beach.
Lord Baltimore Hotel, Baltimore
The Rubell family, one of the top art-collecting families in the world, acquired the Lord Baltimore Hotel in 2013. This 23-story French Renaissance landmark, built in 1928 and included in the National Register of Historic Places, was restored with the help of interior designer Scott Sanders. Ever since, it has been filled with 2,500 original works of art curated by Mera and Don Rubell in its public spaces and its 440 guest rooms and suites. Seven large, multicolored Candida Höfer photographs of international libraries are showcased throughout the LB Tavern, just off the grand lobby, where a spectacular gold Murano glass chandelier hangs. Many pieces from the Rubell Family Collection, including books and exhibition catalogs, are displayed on a rotating basis.
Jason Rubell, Don and Mera’s son, commissioned the family’s graphic design team to compile online images of people and places of Baltimore, which led to the “Baltimore Google Art” project. In 2018 the hotel launched “Good Taste,” a series of temporary art exhibitions championing local artists. Pieces from those shows have been added to the hotel’s permanent collection. The latest on view, called “Expressing in the Abstract,” is devoted to Maryland artist April C. House, who creates abstract paintings using a wide range of materials including acrylic and encaustic.
Pfister Hotel, Milwaukee
German immigrant Guido Pfister had a dream: to build an art-filled “palace for the people.” After he died, his son Charles saw the dream to completion, opening the Pfister Hotel in 1893. Today the Pfister houses more than 80 artworks from the Victorian area. They include an idealized portrait of Greek poet Sappho by Louis Mayer; that of a Grecian Girl by Antonio Torres; the quiet picture of a woman At the Fountain by Emile Auguste Pinchart; and genre paintings by Paul Louis Narcisse Grolleron, Ludwig Vollmar, and Georges Achille-Fould. The hotel’s current commitment to the arts shows through it artist-in-residence program. A dozen creators were invited to draw inspiration from the landmark building, among them Reginald Baylor, Margaret Muza, and Christopher T. Wood. Their work space on the first floor is open to all.
White Elephant Palm Beach
An eye-catching landmark from the 1920s, this beautifully restored luxury boutique hotel features 32 rooms and suites with chic decor, hardwood floors, fine linens, and warm colors. Destined to be an icon on Sunset Avenue, White Elephant Palm Beach reflects a contemporary interpretation of Mediterranean Revival architecture with a tiled roof, ornate courtyard, and stunning interiors. It was designed to house about 120 pieces of art, including Frederick Prescott’s seven-foot sculpture of the hotel’s namesake animal. The centerpiece of the collection is The Lady of the House, a circular painting by Orit Fuchs commissioned for the lobby.
Fuchs is one of the six artists to have spent two weeks at White Elephant Palm Beach’s sister hotel in Nantucket, Massachusetts. The five others were painter Mary Chandler, who created watercolors of the island’s flora; installation photographer Thomas Jackson, who shot a series of colorful beachside photographs; the Maine-based painter Greta van Campen, known for her contemporary, hard-edged landscapes, artist Clara Hallencreutz, and painter Renée Levin, who is best known for her depictions of coastal and other natural objects.
The Betsy, Miami Beach
The Betsy is the work of two pioneers of the Art Deco movement: Lawrence Murray Dixon, who designed the original Betsy Ross Hotel, which opened in 1942, and Henry Hohauser, who in 1937 was charged with the adjacent building, formerly the Carlton Hotel. Today the two buildings are connected by the Betsy Orb, a work of public art resembling an enormous egg.
The hallways and stairwells of The Betsy are home to two expansive photographic collections. Bob Bonis’s Beatles and Rolling Stones collection spans two floors of the Hohauser Wing, whose third level features the works of Robert Zuckerman, including his autobiographical View From the Hospital Bed. Located above The Alley restaurant is The Betsy Poetry Rail installation, which contains the words of 12 poets who shaped Miami (including Muhammad Ali, Richard Blanco, and Adrian Castro), carved into steel with water jets. The first floor Gallery, is a flexible space currently hosting photographs by Seydou Keïta, Tamary Kudita’s series “Fabrics of Man, Family, and Society,” and street shots by Charlie Spot.
Benesse House Museum, Naoshima, Japan
This is a museum and a hotel rolled into one. Opened in 1992, the Tadao Andō–designed Benesse House Museum is based on the concept of “coexistence of nature, art, and architecture.” On Naoshima Island in the Seto Inland Sea, it features multiple openings that connect the interior with the exterior. Lodgings are divided among four buildings, including the museum building itself. On the museum’s ground floor is a version of The Secret of the Sky by Kan Yasuda, Yellow and Black Boats by Jennifer Bartlett, A Walk Around the Hotel Courtyard, Acatlan by David Hockney, and Chromo Domo by John Chamberlain. The first floor is home to sculptures by Alberto Giacometti, César, and Richard Long; the second, to drawings by Tadao Andō and a Benesse House Museum–themed exhibition.
The museum-hotel’s sculpture park includes Antony Gormley’s geometrical and yet anthropomorphic Sublimate IV and two of Michelangelo Pistoletto’s Affresco-5, mirror-backed Plexiglas elements fixed to painted walls, one orange, the other blue. With names such as Karel Appel, Niki de Saint Phalle, and Anthony Caro, the Benesse collection spreads throughout the island. The installation that draws most attention remains Yayoi Kusama’s 78.7-inch yellow and black-spotted Pumpkin, destroyed by a typhoon in 2021 and replaced last year, in the Kagawa District.