By Mark Chesnut
Just because you’re trapped in a hotel room doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a bit of culture. Hotels in a variety of cities are showing their creative sides with exhibits of original artwork. A gallery-quality experience may be just a few steps from your room.
At Windsor Court in New Orleans, a free audio tour leads guests through three floors of paintings, sculptures and tapestries, part of a collection with an estimated value of more than $8 million. The hotel’s original works by Reynolds, Gainsborough and Huysman focus largely on depictions of Windsor Castle and the life of British royalty. Across the Pacific, free art tours are also available at the Ritz-Carlton Millenia, Singapore, which offers a podcast to guide visitors through its modern art collection, including work by Frank Stella, David Hockney and Henry Moore.
In the Big Apple, travelers can explore original creations at the Kitano, New York City’s only Japanese-owned luxury hotel. A rotating exhibit of gallery pieces graces the lobby and mezzanine, while permanent fixtures include the bronze sculpture “Dog” by sculptor Fernando Botero. The hotel’s new supper club, JAZZ at Kitano, features Paul Jenkins’ “Phenomena Seen But Not Heard,” a work that’s visible through a floor-to-ceiling glass wall from the lobby. Also in New York is Eventi, a Kimpton hotel, where original artwork by American artist and illustrator Barbara Nessim includes a contemporary piece that spans the height of the third and fourth floors.
At the Renaissance Vinoy Resort & Golf Club, in St. Petersburg, Florida, the recently updated lobby includes several custom works of cart, including a sculpture by Palm Bay-based artist Renee Dinauer. In the ballroom hangs a one-of-a-kind, 1,250-pound “Isla de Luna” chandelier by American glass sculptor Dale Chihuly.
Hotel art collections can even make guests feel like they’ve traveled further than their current destination. In Vancouver, for example, the Loden Hotel features works by the artist Michele Kambolis, whose art is inspired by recent travels that range from northern British Columbia to the Caribbean.
Mark Chesnut is a travel writer, editor and publisher of LatinFlyer.com, which focuses on travel to Latin America. He’s not much of a painter.