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10 Hotels with Museum-worthy Art

  • Gramercy Park Hotel, New York

  • Haymarket Hotel, London

  • Semiramis Hotel, Athens

  • The Surrey, New York

  • The James, Chicago

  • The Dolder Grand, Zurich

  • 21C Museum Hotel, Louisville

  • Byblos Art Hotel, Italy

  • River Retreat Garaku, Japan

  • Tántalo Hotel, Panama City

September, 2012

Long gone are the days when a hotel could get by with a random smattering of thoughtless watercolors. Here are ten hotels that give the local art galleries a run for their money.


Gramercy Park Hotel
New York, New York — A hotel designed by Julian Schnabel sets the bar high for art works, and the Gramercy Park doesn’t disappoint — its permanent collection includes pieces by Hirst, Warhol, Basquiat, Picasso and Keith Haring.
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Haymarket Hotel
London, England — The Haymarket’s location near Trafalgar Square places it close to the National Gallery and the ICA, among others, but the lobby is a mini-museum unto itself, prominently featuring a sculpture by Tony Cragg and a landscape painting by John Virtue.
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Semiramis Hotel
Athens, Greece — It takes some bold works to stand out against the backdrop of Karim Rashid’s typically riotous design, and Semiramis opted only for the boldest, including pop-inspired works by the likes of Jeff Koons, Takashi Murakami, Jenny Holzer, Michael Bevilacqua, and duo Tim Noble and Sue Webster.
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The Surrey
New York, New York — The Surrey is stuffed to the gills with modern and contemporary art works, beginning with Chuck Close’s one-of-a-kind portrait of Kate Moss, a daguerreotype image printed as a digitally-produced jacquard tapestry.
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The James Chicago
Chicago, Illinois — The James is filled with works by local and international artists, starting with the lobby: Chicago-based artist Joel Ross dismantled a classic American motel room and rebuilt it whole in the entryway of the hotel, as an installation titled “Room 28.”
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The Dolder Grand
Zurich, Switzerland — Owner Urs Ernst Schwarzenbach’s collection includes some modernist treasures, from Dalí’s “Femmes Metamorphoses” to LeWitt’s “Horizontal Brushstrokes” and Henry Moore’s “Three Piece Reclining Figure: Draped.”
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21C Museum Hotel
Louisville, Kentucky — Here the hotel is the contemporary art museum; 21c contains 9,000 square feet of gallery space for its rotating exhibitions and impressive permanent collection, and serves as a venue for artist lectures, film screenings, poetry readings and more.
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Byblos Art Hotel
Verona, Italy — In a mansion outside Verona the Byblos Art Hotel has assembled a wide-ranging collection, from photography by Marina Abramović and Beatriz Millar to paintings by Damien Hirst and even a (thankfully) sealed tin of Piero Manzoni’s “Merda d’Artista.”
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River Retreat Garaku
Toyama, Japan — The tranquil grounds of this Toyama ryokan create the perfect atmosphere for contemplating an outstanding collection of contemporary Japanese art and sculpture. In the restaurant, there’s an entire wall of plaques by Ogawa Machiko, one of Japan’s best-known ceramic artists.
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Tántalo Hotel
Panama City, Panama — Each of Tántalo’s thirteen guest rooms was designed by a different local artist, and management clearly didn’t keep them on a tight leash. The result is not a knick-knack here and a painting there, but bold wall-spanning murals inspired by the neighborhood’s colorful street art.
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