The Rise of the Hotel Gallery
16th May 2019
Art is considered one of the most significant trends in hospitality and tourism today.
To think of it is fairly remarkable: Exactly how can the venerable concept of art transform modern spaces primed for such industries?
Undoubtedly, art is being utilised as a tool to invite more people and attract even more individuals into hotels.
Art as an experience
Over the years, the primary success of hotels has been largely attributed to distinctive experiences offered; including paying attention to the small details that often help make travellers feel special and appealing to their lifestyle aspirations.
Art galleries within hotel establishments have become part of the package.
Considering the fact that staying in a hotel may begin to feel like spending the night in an art museum, travellers with a tight schedule who can’t afford to squeeze in a day to visit local museums can now rely on such offerings.
More importantly, local artists are also provided with an opportunity to showcase their works and collaborate with the tourism sector.
In the Caribbean island of St Barths, the Eden Rock Hotel has presented high-profile exhibitions in collaboration with exceptional galleries such as Gagosian and Galerie Perrotin, revealing works from Richard Prince to Kaws in its dedicated space.
Similarly, The Hotel des Artes in San Francisco, California encourages emerging artists to take complete creative control by producing contemporary pieces in each guest room, such as painting murals on the room’s walls.
This has turned out to be a great experience for both new and progressive artists, an affordable redesign for hoteliers and a brand-new experience for visitors.
The Hotel des Artes mentions this on their website: “the result is not simply art as decoration, but art as an interactive experience.”
Various other luxury hotels have jumped in on the trend and gone further by teaming up directly with artists.
For instance, in London’s Mayfair is The Beaumont hotel, which includes “Room”, a “giant semi-abstract sculpture by Antony Gormley” that acts as an extension to the building.
The sculpture occupies the master bedroom of a private suite, producing something of a lavish cave where the artist was apparently able to “sculpt darkness itself”
Art as brand identity
Because art is appearing in more and more hotels, hoteliers are beginning to incorporate new strategies into their business models that allow the paintings on their walls to speak for themselves and be their identifying factor to a room’s branding.
Always keen to experiment with new experiences, the newly-renovated Las Vegas resort, Palms Casino Resort unveiled Damien Hirst’s two-storey, $100,000-per-night suite, completed with formaldehyde sharks and butterfly paintings.
The Empathy Suite is perhaps the most obvious case of the “money, hotel, art” triad. Damien Hirst had this to say about art: “that’s what you require with art: It requires being in your face and then going away.”
With travellers’ quest for authenticity and experience; Hotel Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht, in Netherlands is another example of art meets interior design.
Designed by Marcel Wanders, the hotel’s concept takes its inspiration from Lewis Carrol’s well-known Alice in Wonderland — the wall coverings showcasing giant fish heads evoke a sophisticated and surrealism ambience, while the interior lighting is inspired by constellations.
Given that brands such as Airbnb have reshaped the world of travel and hospitality, it makes perfect sense that new alliances have started to pop up.
The BnA Hotel collective in Japan, for example, started off as two private “concept” rooms hosted on Airbnb in 2015, and now has shifted to supporting local artists on the premises that visitors stay in a hotel room they have designed — in return, a portion of the booking profit goes directly to the artist.
BnA features a two-room venue in Koenji, Tokyo district famously known for being the city’s home of punk and rebellion.
The venue also houses a restaurant and an event space dedicated to bringing the local creative community together.
The second BnA venue can be found downtown in Akihabara, while the third venue, the BnA Alter Museum in Kyoto, is a thirty-one-room establishment expected to open later in spring, and will feature the work of fifteen artists and nine art directors.
A similar concept that focuses on the community can be found at the Green Rooms in Haringey, North London.
Its support for local artistic talent is based more on the notion that finding budget-friendly accommodation in London is like finding a needle in a haystack. Artists of all kinds can benefit from the discounted rates on its rooms and studio apartments and hosts a jam-packed calendar of events.
As the world of hospitality wakes up to the importance of creating personalised spaces and placing more and more emphasis on “experiences,” — hoteliers have realised there is a gap in the market for art travellers who are looking to stay somewhere with creative flair.
Travel is more inextricably linked than ever with lifestyle, and it seems like the rise of hotel galleries has now gained a new name for itself, as more establishments incorporate new, distinctive experiences such as in-house art galleries. Art hotels now evoke the soul and idiosyncratic charm that most discerning travellers are seeking.
And while endless trips to art galleries are all well and good, is there anything more pleasant and enjoyable than knowing a walk to the hotel lobby is a cultural experience in itself?
Where have you stayed recently that showcased a trend in art?