8 Amazing Hotels Around the World with Museum Quality Art Collections

Don't book your summer holidays until you have read this.

Yayoi Kusama
Photo: via Brommel.net
Chichu Art Museum

Walter De Maria,‘Time/Timeless/No Time (2004) Chichu Art Museum
Photo: Michael Kellough

In the material world we live in, there is always someone trying to make it big by redefining luxury.

While there is always a Jeff Koons-designed yacht to contemplate, there is no debating the fact that waking up in a gorgeous location, looking at millions of dollars worth of beautiful art is pretty incomparable.

If you’re a fan of luxe traveling and are aiming to avoid well-trodden tourist sites (some of which are plagued by rats) this summer holiday, we have compiled a list of eight top hotels around the world that boast great art collections. Add them to your bucket list!

Benesse House Oval, accessible only by the guests who are staying overnight at Benesse House Oval.  Photo: Osamu Watanabe

Benesse House Oval, accessible only by the guests who are staying overnight at Benesse House Oval.
Photo: Osamu Watanabe

1. Benesse House, Naoshima

Benesse House in Naoshima, Japan, can be found in the inland Seto Island Sea.

The islands, which include Teshima, Inujima, and Naoshima, are not only host to several jaw-dropping contemporary art museums—some of which also function as hotels—they also feature many sculptures scattered around.

Yayoi Kusama <i>Pumpkin</i> <br>Photo: Osamu Watanabe

Yayoi Kusama Pumpkin
Photo: Osamu Watanabe

The entire project is curated around ideas on how art and nature can co-exist, and some of the artists you can find as you wander around these scenic islands include James Turrell, Yayoi Kusama, and Claude Monet.

The Tadao Ando-designed museums on Naoshima include the Lee Ufan museum, The Chichu Art Museum, and Benesse House.

The Thief,  Art Hotels

The Thief, Oslo.
Photo: Courtesy of The Thief Hotel.

2. The Thief, Oslo

The Thief in Oslo is exactly what it says it is. Curator Sune Nordgren “steals” works from the renowned Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, just a stone’s throw away, and from the Norwegian collector and hotel tycoon Petter Stordalen, to put on display.

The Thief houses around 150 contemporary works, by artists ranging from Julian Opie to Jeff Koons, and the works in the hotel change from time to time.

the thief art hotels

Lobby of the Thief art hotel, Oslo.
Photo: Courtesy of The Thief Hotel.

Every room contains artwork from prints, photographs, and protected works on paper, while the Oslo Suite also contains original works, including a selection by Sir Peter Blake.

More adventurous guests can book the Apparatjik suite, featuring video art, music, disco textiles, and art installations signed by supergroup Apparatjik.

Kate Moss chuck close art hotels the surrey

Chuck Close, Kate (2007).
Photo: Courtesy of The Surrey.

3. The Surrey, New York

The Surrey in New York has all the trappings of glamour you would expect from a five star hotel on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

The design is slick and the art, fashionable and contemporary. You’ll be greeted by a Jenny Holzer piece as you enter the foyer and the famous Chuck Close tapestry of Kate Moss as you head up to your room.

The hotel’s collection consists of 31 works of art including an interactive video installation in the bar by William Kentridge.


La Colombe d’Or.
Photo: Courtesy of La Colombe d’Or.

4. La Colombe d’Or, Côte d’Azur

La Colombe d’Or is a charming hotel on the Côte d’Azur in the South of France. A place rich in art history, the hotel—which started life as a bar called Chez Robinson—opened in the 1920s. Owners Paul and Baptistine Roux decided to turn it into a small hotel, and re-christened the place as La Colombe d’Or.

They have a small but historic collection of works including a large Alexander Calder sculpture by the pool and a mosaic by Georges Braque. Their most recent commission is a Sean Scully mosaic in the garden.

In the 1940s, the hotel was favoured by artists and free thinkers drawn to the Côte d’Azur. Over the years, the likes of Joan Miró and Henri Matisse stayed at the hotel, leaving artworks behind that still hang there today.

The hotel has remained a family business.


A part of the museum space at 21c Louisville. 
Photo: Courtesy of 21c Museum Hotels.

5. 21c Louisville Museum Hotel, USA

21c is a group of very contemporary art museum hotels. It all started when founders Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson began collecting art. But as their number of contemporary works grew, they opened their four hotels—with four more in development—to accommodate rotating exhibitions.

Photo by Rett Peek, courtesy of 21c Museum Hotels

21c Louisville Museum Hotel.
Photo: Courtesy of Rett Peek, via 21c Museum Hotels.

Works currently on display at the Louisville site are, among others, Camille Utterback‘s Text Rain video work, Iván Navarro‘s Untitled lightbulb and mirror ceiling installation in the elevators, and Ned Kahn‘s Cloud Rings, which emits mist into to the exterior sidewalk.

There are works in all guest accommodation, so visitors can literally wake up surrounded by art.

Art Hotels Dolder Grand Juan Munoz

Juan Munoz at the the Dolder Grand. 
Photo: Courtesy of the Dolder Grand.

6. The Dolder Grand, Zurich

The luxurious Dolder Grand in Zurich has a collection of over 100 paintings and sculptural works, from Impressionist to contemporary.

art hotels Murakami Dolder Grand

Sculpture by Takashi Murakami at the Dolder Grand. 
Photo: Courtesy of the Dolder Grand.

The entire range of works is pretty unbelievable. There are Camille Pissarro paintings in the dining room, Murakami sculptures, a Salvador Dalí painting, and artworks by Fernando Botero, Henry Moore, Joan Miró, Damien Hirst, and Keith Haring.

Oh! And then there’s the 11 meter Andy Warhol that greets you in the foyer.

 art hotels Cornucopia_by_Frank_Stella_-_The_Ritz-Carlton_Millenia_Singapore_-_20060819

Frank Stella Cornucopia in the foyer at the Ritz-Carlton. 
Photo: via Wikipedia Commons.

7. Ritz-Carlton Millennia Singapore 

If you happen to be heading to Singapore, be sure to book a room at the Ritz-Carlton.

The enormous collection of 4,200 works includes a three-ton Frank Stella piece which hangs in the entrance. Other artists in the collection include Andy Warhol, David HockneyRainer Gross, and Robert Zakanitch.

The good news about this spot is that even if you don’t feel like shelling out for the cost of a luxurious room, you can still visit the collection free of charge.

Elma Hotel  Photo: via coolhunting

Elma Hotel.
Photo: Ross Belfer

8. Elma Hotel, Zichron Ya’akov, Israel

The Elma hotel, founded by collector Lily Elstein, is not only a museum within a hotel, it also houses two performance spaces in the refurbished Brutalist building, and sits on stunning hilly land overlooking the Mediterranean.

The large complex was restored into its current incarnation from a design by architect Ya’akov Rechter with the idea of creating a museum, hotel, and arts center, which would be a national center of excellence.

Works in the collection date from the Post-Impressionist era, including Pablo Picasso, Braque, Jim Dine, as well as works by Israeli artists, such as Sigalit Landau.

 Sigalit Landau<i>Thirst</i><br> Photo: courtesy the Elma Hotel

Sigalit Landau, Thirst at the Elma Hotel.
Photo: Courtesy of the Elma Hotel.

Related stories:

New York’s 15 Can’t-Miss Summer Public Art Installations

10 of the Most Lavish Summer Art Events

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