The hotels with gallery-worthy art collections

Hotel art stopped being a decorative afterthought long ago. Today’s big players feature work — sometimes entire collections — to rival that of local galleries, with some even upping the ante by collaborating with the artists themselves. The result is a series of boltholes where the prospect of staying in, is just as appealing as going out. We round up the best that's on offer.

Villa La Coste art hotel, Provence, France
(Image credit: press)

Villa La Coste
Provence, France

Idyllic views, world-class dining and a luxury spa – Provence’s Villa La Coste has it all. Its winning feature, however is the property’s proximity to Chateau la Coste and its outstanding art and architecture amongst a sprawling 180 hectare expanse of wooded hilltops, valleys and vines. Guests are invited to partake in two hour-long guided art and architecture tours of the grounds, which take in sculpture and installations by the likes of Andrew Goldsworthy, Ai Weiwei, Richard Serra and Louise Bourgeois, as well as the Tadao Ando-designed Art Centre. In addition to the permanent onsite works, a rolling roster of exhibitions is on show and even the two on-site wine-making centres are designed by Jean Nouvel. It’s all within easy each for guests of Villa La Coste, which sits in the midst of it all, hosting 28 plush suites and its own lobby gallery.

2750, route de la cride; Tel: +33 (0)4 4250 5000;; Doubles from: €650

At Six
Stockholm, Sweden

Located in Stockholm’s gradually regenerating Brunkebergstorg Square, At Six is a 343-room property with an equally large impact. Part of the Nordic Hotels and dressed by London-based Universal Design Studio, the hotel is housed in a block-wide brutalist building in an almost monochromatic style that is reflected inside with lashings of stone, wood, leather and bronze accents. An evolving art program, conceptualised by group art curator, Sune Nordgren, was evidently part of the original blueprint, with Universal Design Studio having inserted a plinth for a 2.5 m high white marble bust by Spanish sculptor Jaume Plensa, so heavy that the floor had to be reinforced afterwards to accommodate it’s weight. Other notable works include large-scale line drawings by Julian Opie and pieces from land artist Richard Long.

Brunkebergstorg 6; Tel: +46 (0)8 5788 2800;; Doubles from: £220

Marble staircase at At Six art hotel, Stockholm, Sweden

(Image credit: press)

Oklahoma, USA

21C Museum Hotels’ winning hotel-contemporary art museum-restaurant hybrid has set roots in eight US cities. Established by Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson — both contemporary art collectors and preservationists — the hotel group’s focus on art is more than a decorative touch, with both site-specific installations and in-house exhibitions acting as a gateway to each city’s local art scene and creatives. At the brand’s Oklahoma City property (pictured), a Deborah Berke Partners-designed space located in a Henry Ford-built former assembly plant, 135 guestrooms combine original artworks and vistas of downtown to great effect.

900 W Main Street; Tel: 405 982 6900;; Rates from: $199

Guestroom at 21C hotel, Oklahoma, USA

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Ace Hotel
Chicago, USA

Joining ranks with the Ace Hotel Group’s nationwide stronghold in 2017, this hotel breaks from tradition in being the first property from the brand to be based within a newly constructed building. Located in the historic Fulton Market district, the 159-room GREC Architects-designed property nods to the New Bauhaus, while decor by Commune is inspired by the city’s most famous architect — Ludwig Mies van der Rohe — and maximises the use of simple materials such as polished steel and brass. Crowning this all is a rooftop garden, which is now home to the Nesci Dome, an interactive sculptural installation by local artist Jonathan Nesci. Collaboratively commissioned Commune and the city’s Volume Gallery, the permanent installation is an aluminum pipe dome that rises 16 ft tall, and features a woven, climbable net network inside that is inspired by children’s jungle gyms — another proud Chicagoan invention.

311 N Morgan Street; Tel 312 764 1919;; Rates from: $199

Nesci Dome at Ace Hotel Chicago, USA

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The Silo
Cape Town, South Africa

Set against a backdrop of Table Mountain, it could be argued that Cape Town’s Silo has all the eye candy it needs. Just to make sure, the property makes the most of its enviable position above the newly opened Zeitz MOCAA (Museum of Contemporary Art Africa), which houses the continent’s largest collection of contemporary African art. This fortuitous alignment allows visiting art buffs the added perk of being able to take advantage of guided tours at the museum via The Silo’s knowledgeable hotel concierge, with the museum entrance fee included in all room rates. After working up an appetite perusing the museum’s nine floors, head on up to The Granary Café at the hotel, where Veronica Canha-Hibbert’s French bistro menu delights with dishes such as Springbok shank and Cape seafood curry.

Silo Square, V&A Waterfront; Tel: +27 (0) 21 670 0500;; Doubles from: R13,500

Guest bathroom at The Silo hotel, Cape Town, South Africa

(Image credit: press)

The Thief
Oslo, Norway

Located in Oslo’s waterfront district, The Thief has been making waves since its opening in 2014. The creation of hotelier Petter A Stordalen and Mellbye Architects, the nine storey property is surrounded by some of the city’s best art galleries, a location that has put the hotel’s art curator Sune Nordgren in good company. An ongoing collaboration with the neighbouring Astrup Fearnley Museum of Contemporary Art has offered weighted credence to The Thief’s ‘art hotel’ concept, and sees work from the likes of Andy Warhol, Fiona Banner and Richard Prince hanging in the building’s public spaces, including Price’s stunning, imposing and aptly named The Horse Thief, which is displayed in the reception area. In each of the 119 rooms, designed by Anemone Wille Våge, an ‘Art-on-Demand’ programme is in place, which sees themed maps for curated art, design and architecture tours made available, while original art selected by Nordgren is also featured in every accommodation.

Landgangen 1; Tel: +47 2400 4000;; Doubles from: NOK3290

Art at The Thief hotel, Oslo, Norway

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Ellerman House
Cape Town, South Africa

Most who venture out to Cape Town’s Bantry Bay to visit Ellerman House are here for the spectacular views, a tipple or a bite at the multifaceted property’s restaurant. Then there are those in the know, who make the journey to relish the hotel’s pièce de résistance: an onsite modern gallery, which charts the country’s art journey from the mid-nineteenth century to present day. Private tours by in-house art guide Talita Swarts are available for those keen to explore the extensive art collection, which features around 1,000 pieces. Elsewhere, the new Bar Roc provides a plush green velvet and terrazzo-lined space in spot in which enjoy a glass from Ellerman House’s 7,500-strong collection of South African wines.

180 Kloof Road; Tel: +27 (0)21 430 3200;; Doubles from: £532

Swimming pool at Ellerman House hotel, Cape Town, South Africa

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Kai Sengokuhara
Sengokuhara, Japan

Kai Sengokuhara certainly lives up to its claim to being the world’s first Japanese ryokan with a focus on art. Home to an on-site gallery, an atelier and regular workshops hosted by local artists, the property encourages guests to indulge in their own creativity, hopefully inspired by the hotel’s location in the Fuji-hakone-Izu National Park near Hakone. Featuring tatami mat flooring, shoji screens and cypress wood latticework, all 16 guestrooms are serene and minimal, but the real star of the show here is undoubtedly the art. Every room features work produced by 12 international artists, who took part in a residency programme when Kai Sengokuhara first opened and guests are invited each night to decorate their own tenugui, a traditional Japanese handkerchief, at an in-house workshop.

817-359 Sengokuhara Hakone-machi; Tel: +81 50 3786 1144;; Doubles from: JPY37,000

Guestroom at Kai Sengokuhara, Sengokuhara, Japan

(Image credit: press)

Paradiso Art Hotel
Ibiza, Spain

Colour, art and energy clash — in a good way — at Ibiza’s Paradiso Art Hotel, a new property making a splash on the Balearic island. With Spanish artists Iñaki Domingo and Diana Kunst leading the hotel’s art program, acting as curators and advisors, 60 artists have come together to collaborate on Art Paradiso, an in-house cultural series that sees a seasonal programme of contemporary art shaping each stay. Alongside a library with access to specialist art tomes, and a gallery with seasonally changing contemporary exhibitions are a number of art-themed parties and weekend micro residencies with artists. Guestrooms are no less lively, doused in bold palettes of pale pastels, accompanied by neon accents and colourful mosaic tile flooring.

Calle de la Ruda 5; Tel: +34 971 39 3268;; Doubles from: €350

Swimming pool at Paradiso Art Hotel, Ibiza, Spain

(Image credit: press)

Lauren Ho is the former travel editor at Wallpaper*. Now a contributing editor, she roams the globe, writing extensively about luxury travel, architecture and design for both the magazine and the website, alongside various other titles. She is also the European Academy Chair for the World's 50 Best Hotels.