Why not multitask on your next trip, combining culture and a hotel stay? Whether you’re into sleeping in coffins, zenning out like a Buddhist monk or posing as royalty, these art-centric hotels around the globe are sure to inspire your inner artist. From Tasmania to Toronto, here’s where to get your ‘night in the museum’ stay on internationally, plus two in the U.S.:
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Although the surrounding UNESCO-listed San Miguel de Allende town is a historical jewel, Hotel Matilda is a stark contrast with its edgy, minimalistic design and modern art. Contemporary art—by both Mexican and international artists such as Diego Rivera, Bosco Sodi, and Spencer Tunick, among many others—grace nearly every nook of the hotel’s public spaces, from the front desk to the bar’s coasters. Also, annually, Hotel Matilda is the co-founder and hub of SMART, a three-day design and art fest.
Each of the 37 rooms are designed by a different artist. On the second floor of the Victorian-era building turned mod-squad hotel, a sleek gallery is open daily featuring modern photography and paintings. The rooms are small, like in most historic hotels, but the rates are very affordable for the trendy neighborhood of Queens. If you’re a fan of the ’60s fun fur, I highly recommend the room designed by artist Allyson Mitchell (as depicted in photo above).
Ever wondered what a night’s sleep in a coffin (see photo above) or a kaleidoscope would be like? Wonder no more. These and other one-of-kind experiences await you at Propeller Island Hotel. Originally an apartment building of the 1800s, it’s now more like an art installation or a drug-free hallucination that you get to trip out in for a night. No two rooms are the same.
Colorful does not begin to describe Semiaramis. Karim Rashid’s bold design paired with pop-inspired works by the likes of Jeff Koons, Jenny Holzer, and Michael Bevilacqua, create a kaleidoscope of wonderment. I can imagine Willie Wonka, Jimi Hendrix or Lady Gaga blending in seamlessly here.
An 18th century villa-turned-hotel outside Verona has a progressive permanent art collection, melding old world architecture with some of the globes’ most cutting-edge contemporary art. Some highlights include paintings by Damien Hirst, photography by Marina Abramović and Cindy Sherman and sculpture by Takashi Murakami. Rooms are what you expect – a lavish, royalty-for-a-night experience.
Get your zen on at this ryokan (traditional countryside inn) chock full of Japanese contemporary art and sculpture. In the River Retreat Garku’s restaurant, check out the wall adorned with plaques by one of Japan’s best ceramic artists — Ogawa Machiko. A soak in the natural Kasuga hot spring water at the hotel’s spa is sure to complete the blissed out experience.
Panama City, Panama
Located in the historic Casco Viejo neighborhood, the hotel’s rooms are just as arresting at its public space. Each of the 13 rooms has its own distinct personality, depending on which local artist designed it. Head upstairs to Encima, the rooftop bar, where a sizzling nightlife scene soars once the sun sets.
Located on Hobart’s waterfront, the hotel was Australia’s first art-centric stay. Throughout the hotel’s rooms and public spaces feature local Tasmanian artwork. They work with neighboring Tasmanian School of Art to procure most of the art. For the full-on art encounter, take a guided tour through the hotel to get a closer look at the range of works as well as the historical overview.
Photos provided by each hotel with exception to Hotel Matilda (author’s photo).