Sleeping With The Masters
Business Traveler|December 2019/January 2020
Great art is adding color, life and personality to the traveler ’s luxury hotel experience
Lark Gould

Art and hospitality make great bed-fellows at hotel properties that have found a satisfying focus on the art world. No matter who the master on the wall may be, guests get a chance to revel in works they might not get to experience otherwise and often in the luxury of quiet and privacy.

Hotel walls offer the perfect backdrop for works that tell stories of deep and current history, provide fodder for thought and add a pleasant sense of place. Guests get to enjoy these moments without elbowing others for a better view or feeling the pressure to get through a warren of galleries before closing time.

In many hotels, such as Vik Retreats, a boutique chain of design, wine and art-centric stays in Chile and Uruguay, art, flair and style breathes through every space. The properties are owned and operated by a husband and wife team of high value art collectors and the guest rooms are but canvases on which prominent regional artists are commissioned to lay out their vision.

Also in the region, in Santiago de Cali near the West Andes mountains in Colombia, stands a giant architectural landmark. The Hotel Spiwak Chipichape was inspired by New York City’s Guggenheim Museum and houses an note worthy collection of regional artworks. The 226-suite property is modern, minimalist, circular and unconventional in design, and greets guests with a dizzying array of art pieces and impressive sculptural works in the lobby.

NEW YORK-MADE MOMENTS

However, nowhere is the intersection of art and hospitality more visible than in New York, long at the epicenter of the international art world. Until now, that world was given to museumgoers and denizens of the social elite. But these days, you can wake up to the art of legendary painters and sculptors past and present at several of New York City’s trendy hotels.

Many of Manhattan’s hotels are boutique by most standards, but big things come in small packages as some of America’s top artists have their masterworks hanging in lobbies, lounges and restaurants of these otherwise unassuming places.

“‘One of a kind’ defines what boutique hotels should be,” says Peter Yeung, general manager of Gramercy Park Hotel. “Displaying original works of art allows a hotel to create the feel and mood it wants. It tells the guest exactly what kind of hotel they are and creates loyalty from guests, who connect with it, or not.”

Located across from Union Square Park, Gramercy Park Hotel is one of several chic properties in New York City that places art at the epicenter of its message. “This has been part of the bold culture at the Gramercy Park Hotel and what has made our hotel unique,” Yeung says.

The hotel is an 18-story Renaissance Revival property that dates back to 1925 and has hosted such guests as John F. Kennedy, the Rolling Stones and other luminaries. However, it took a purchase by art collector and real estate developer Aby Rosen in 2006, plus the brilliant eye of Oscar-winning film maker and artist Julien Schnabel, to become the castle of Goth it is today with bold, modern flourishes and curated furnishings, paintings and sculptures.

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