A big part of the magic of travel is the feeling of newness. Sometimes that manifests as a hike in an old growth forest, others it’s partying ’til 4am with new friends. This time around, it’s comes from sleeping in a room that’s art decorated far more thoroughly than your apartment will ever be. A hotel or guesthouse where no expense was spared to infuse creativity into the space.
Yep, we’re talking about art hotels. Those movie-set-like properties where you’re constantly left saying thinks like, “Is that a real Warhol?” or “Did Shepard Fairey install these paste-ups himself?”
Now this whole scene is sort of an acquired taste. You have to have enough money to spend to afford a room like one of these and also care enough about surrounding yourself with art to actually want to. But if being in close proximity to beautiful things feels important to you, one of these spots is likely to be a dream fit. The visuals are on point, the vibe is soaked in eclecticism, and the food and beverage options are often just as creative as the decor.
So here they are, the world’s best art hotels. Check our picks and tell us what we missed in the comments!
— Steve Bramucci, Travel Editor
The Sagamore: Miami Beach, Miami
The Sagamore, in Miami Beach, a place that’s already steeped in mid century art deco vibes, could probably fake their connection to the art world if they wanted. They could stretch the sauce a little, throw a few paintings up and call themselves an art hotel. But their commitment runs deep and is revealed in a million ways large and small.
The property’s lobby and public areas act like a gallery space — with world renowned artists, up and comers, and dead masters all on display. They also host regular art talks, monthly exhibits, instillations, and retrospectives. And while there are plenty of hotels that boast such events on their websites only to never actually pull them off, the Sagamore has a regular schedule and their events and openings are well attended.
Creative expression trickles into the food and drink presentations too (the company’s preferred hashtag is #ArtInEverything) and the hotel brunch during Art Basel is the stuff of legends. If the arts are more than a passing fancy for you, if you want to visit Miami and understand the scene (while staying on the beach), this is the right place to start.
Rooms start at $180.
Art Hotel Santorini: Santorini, Greece
Looking to step out of your daily routine and experience art while overlooking the Aegean Sea? If so, you couldn’t do better than Art Hotel Santorini, especially when you factor in that it is an adults-only destination (which doesn’t mean it’s some hedonistic extravaganza; it just means no kids). The hotel offers 10 suites, four of which have private plunge pools. There are even suites with double bedrooms and ones with outdoor, heated jacuzzis. Regardless of the suite guests choose, there are sure to be special touches that elevate the accommodations above the typical hotel stay.
The onsite gallery, Aqua Gallery, was founded in 2017, and its vision is to be a perfect example of what Greece has to offer to the contemporary art world. With this in mind, they feature work from up and comers as well as the well-known and established. This keeps exhibits fresh and compelling.
Rooms start at $144.
Arte Luise Kunsthotel: Berlin, Germany
Art and Berlin go hand-in-hand. The city’s infamous art scene, drug scene, squatter’s culture, and long history as the home of the world’s enfant terribles makes for the perfect storm for creation. Arte Luise Kuntshotel brings all of together in one neoclassic building with a post-modernist twist.
The hotel was conceived before the Berlin Wall fell as a place for local artists to live and work while also being open to artists from around the world. Throughout the 1990s the property was renovated into a 32-room hotel with nine artists taking on design. The result is a unique experience of pure Berlin funk and artistry. If you can, make sure to stay in the UV-light room for maximum Berlin-ness.
Rooms start at $54.
Pfister Hotel: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
This historic hotel claims to have the largest collection of Victorian art in any hotel in the world, which makes it pretty appealing to art junkies looking to hit the Midwest. But we don’t think that’s the real art draw (although it is super cool). What makes us excited is their artist-in-residence program. The hotel includes a studio and gallery that provided to a rotating lineup of artists to work and exhibit to guests and the general public. The concierge will even arrange tours for guests who are particularly keen on seeing an artist’s creative process. With artists required to spend a minimum of 30 hours a week on-site and to hold four gallery nights and days, there are plenty of chances to connect.
The rooms aren’t as unique or lavish as the rest of the breathtaking property would suggest. They are luxury rooms, but the furnishings are pretty uniform. If you prefer a traditional hotel room experience, then The Pfister would work beautifully. We get that some people don’t need quirky doodads everywhere.
Rooms start at $195.
Hüttenpalast: Berlin, Germany
Hüttenpalast started as a crazy idea: Fill an empty warehouse with camper vans, cabins, and art then open it to the public as a hotel. This is one of the more unique “hotel” experience you can have anywhere in the world. Halle one and two (two former factory floors) are filled with treehouses propped up over tiny living spaces and tiny camper vans with their own little yards or, also, propped up over small living rooms. It’s the perfect mix of eclectic, practical, and legit liveable.
There are six units in each Halle with shared bathrooms and showers. Each unit has its own design and art, giving it a singular character. There’s a real sense of community in each hall since all the living space is outside the cabins and caravans. So, expect to meet new friends, share a beer or two, and plot a course across Berlin’s iconic nightlife scene.
Rooms start at $75.
El Casco Art Hotel: Rio Negro, Argentina
Originally opened in 1970, El Casco Art Hotel was known for its luxe vibe, but it slid into neglect until it was purchased in 2006 by Buenos Aires art collector Ignacio Gutiérrez Zaldívar, who put $5-million into refurbishment. This isn’t a colorful wonderland like a lot of the other properties on this list. It relies on hushed tones like coffee and wheat to set the scene for the 500 works of modern Argentinian art that grace the common areas and 33 large guest rooms.
Expect fine linens throughout, as well as goose down pillows and comforters. They provide a sumptuous place to sit and enjoy the views of Lake Nahuel Huapi. When you venture out of your room, explore the halls, seek out sculptures and paintings, hit the wine bar, have a meal in the restaurant, and soak in the large jacuzzi. If you upgrade your room, you can add a whirlpool tub to the experience.
Rooms start at $191.
The Swatch Art Peace Hotel: Shanghai, China
The Bund in Shanghai is the center of what used to be colonial British power. Today, it’s a reminder of times long past and serves as a center for a lot of Shanghai’s cultural scene, from art to partying.
Swatch Art Peach Hotel is a massive artist’s residency that houses an amazingly luxe and very exclusive hotel. There are only four suites in the building and you kinda have to apply to get one. Each suite is interior design turned up to eleven with the best amenities imaginable. Basically, you need to be in the artist’s community to stay here.
Still, the building houses working artists and has a level of artistry and design that cannot be missed when in Shanghai. The property also has a fantastic restaurant and a rooftop bar that’ll give you that stunning view of the modern Shanghai skyline you’ve seen in every Instagram. So, at the very least, go and see amazing artists at work, eat some stellar food, and then get that dope Insta of Shanghai.
Rooms start at $1,157.
Chambers Hotel: New York City, New York
You have probably heard of David Chang’s restaurant Má Pechê. Well, this is the hotel that houses it. This 77-room property in the center of Midtown is an art-laden retreat that feels a bit like holing up in the home of a rich art collector. There are a ton of Turkish, Tibetan, and leather rugs covering the wood floors. Chairs and sofas come in an array of upholstery that runs the gamut from faux wolf skin to hand-painted velvet. When choosing a foundation for the bold furnishings, designers opted for a variety of textures that include hand-rubbed plaster, concrete, and etched glass. It is a treat for the senses. Plus, Chambers Hotel boasts over 500 original works of art as a fabulous bonus.
The rooms are clearly inspired by loft living with their high ceilings, exposed concrete slabs, and artwork. The space leans a bit traditionally masculine in design. Leather detailing and a muted palette feel a bit impersonal, but the Japanese -style soaking tubs and luxe bedding help to warm the space.
Rooms start at $311.
Rome Cavalieri: Rome, Italy
You’ll find amazing art in every corner of Rome. This is a place where even the buildings are pieces of art — don’t miss the Pantheon. Waldorf Astoria’s Rome Cavalieri takes this to heart. They’ve created a hotel where the artistry is in everything from the bones of the building to food on the plate to the very art on the walls.
The hotel is like living in the Louvre for a night or three. The paintings, frescos, tile work, statuary, tapestry, and antiquities are astounding. That alone makes a stay at the hotel worth every moment. Furthermore, there’s a killer bar and one of the top restaurants in Rome, La Pergola. Chef Heinz Beck’s three Michelin stars were a first for Rome and this is still the only restaurant in Rome to carry that honorific. So, if you can, make sure you get at least one meal at Rome Cavalieri — preferably under a huge tapestry of a Roman garden.
Rooms start at $233.
Hotel Des Arts: San Francisco, California
Hotel des Arts is art freak heaven with completely epic murals by underground local artists in every room. The space also doubles as an art gallery, so every visit comes with a new art experience. It’s a cool way to let the hand of fate connect you with new creatives. Plus, there are only 13 tourist rooms. The other 38 are residential and can be occupied for longer stays.
This isn’t a luxury hotel, so you have to deal with lower thread count sheets and thin towels, but it’s hard to care when you are chilling inside a painting in the heart of the city’s French Quarter. You basically get a bed, a tv, a desk, and a bathroom (some of which have clawfoot tubs, so woot!). The draw is the art, and the likelihood is that you will spend all day exploring the city, so consider this a rad home base that lets you luxuriate in someone else’s vision.
Rooms start at $127.
Gran Domine Hotel: Bilbao, Spain
Gran Domine Hotel is not exactly an art hotel as much as it is THE art hotel for anyone visiting the art-rich city of Bilbao, in Basque Country Spain. Not only does the lobby lean closer to a modern art gallery than it does a check-in area, just outside the hotel’s mirrored façade is the Guggenheim Modern Art Museum in all its Frank Gehry glory. Though there is a giant guard dog in the form of Jeff Koons’ massive flower ‘Puppy’ sculpture, visitors to Gran Domine Hotel won’t want for safety, luxury or sustenance.
Many rooms come with bathtubs designed by Philippe Starck. The hotel has a rooftop terrace, Basque restaurant, lobby bar and a downstairs café with notable views of the Guggenheim courtyard. One artful bonus? Their website links to the planned exhibitions at the museum during your visit.
Rooms start at €135.
-Mark C. Stevens
The Thief: Oslo, Norway
The Thief is one of Oslo’s most popular luxury hotels, and it’s no surprise. Boasting incredible views over the Oslo fjord, decadent suites, a chill rooftop bar, and a stellar art collection, The Thief is the stuff of travel dreams. This five-star hotel is part of the city’s new waterfront development, and it announces its presence boldly with granite, gold, and glass. It’s straight up gorgeous. Inside, guests can look forward to avant-garde art installations, designer touches, and a dark palette accented with more gold. The art was chosen by Sune Nordgren, the former director of the Norwegian National Museum, and it includes some big names like Peter Blake, Andy Warhol, Magne Furuholmen (of A-ha). There is even a piece by Queen Sonja of Norway.
There are 118 rooms, and they all have these huge, floor-to-ceiling windows and private balconies. No one is wasting an inch of the fab view. If you opt for a suite, in addition to the large bathrooms and cushy beds that everyone enjoys, you also get a curated selection of artwork and furniture. We are talking disco textiles, video art, and music in one of the suites.
Rooms start at $403.
21c Museum Hotel Durham: Durham, North Carolina
A 10,000 square foot museum, free and open to the public. A world-class restaurant serving up playful cocktails and a global take on North Carolina’s seafood culture. A luxurious spa. And, most importantly, an actual bank vault where you hang out and can knock back a few. 21c Museum Hotel’s Durham location has everything you never knew you wanted—and more.
Feel free to order a drink at the sleek, modern bar downstairs and then meander throughout the museum, whose galleries are spaced out over three floors. And this is no mere small-town museum; exhibitions regularly feature big names like Kehinde Wiley, who painted First Lady Michelle Obama’s portrait, and André Leon Gray, whose political art speaks to the rage and frustration of the moment.
Rooms start at $209.
The ART, a hotel: Denver, Colorado
There are a fair number of properties that blend luxe styling with curated artwork in each room, but this impressive boutique hotel does it on a fairly grand scale, offering 165 rooms. One look at the exterior hotel lets you know you are in for something special, and the interior delivers in a big way. The ART, a hotel pays homage to the buildings around it in a way we have never seen. A few orange window frames are a reference to the façade of the nearby library. The sandstone bricks mimic the History Colorado Center. And the jutting angle of the windows is a nod to the design of the neighboring art museum. It is so rad.
Each room features an art piece made more striking by the neutral gray walls throughout. The furnishings are pure contemporary opulence without pulling focus. But, it’s really in the gallery and common areas that art begs to be appreciated. Check out the stunning Leo Villareal light installation at the entry of the Portico Gallery. Look around the reception area on the fourth floor for some large masterpieces. And be sure to chill at one of the fire pits on the terrace.
Rooms start at $289.
Gladstone Hotel: Toronto, Canada
Many of the hotels on this list offer a piece of art in each room, but Gladstone Hotel went one step further and invited a different local artist to design each of its 37 rooms. Think the appeal of a theme hotel with the aesthetic of a contemporary art museum. Plus, it’s housed in Toronto’s oldest hotel, a former grand railway property and Romanesque Revival-style building. The vaulted ceilings, OG hardwood flooring, manual cage lift, and wide hallways designed to accommodate steamer trunks all point to the past, but the two floors that function as a gallery are pure modern delight. One of the biggest supporters of the local art scene, the Gladstone does more than 50 exhibitions in a year, which is pure candy for art enthusiast guests.
The rooms are on the small and functional side, with the design theme determining palettes and furnishings. The Lucky Strike, for example, celebrates queer culture using matchbooks. Whereas, the Teen Queen room is pure Tiger Beat. Before booking a room, be sure to check out the hotel’s website. All of the rooms are dope, but you really want to make sure you get one that delights your tastes.
Rooms start at $182.
The Beaumont: London, England
The Beaumont has a very specific aesthetic. The art deco design throughout makes it like stepping into the Roaring Twenties, with polished walnut, neutral upholstery, and a sublime blend of modern and vintage furnishings and objets d’arts. There are literally over 1,500 pieces of original work on the premises. Staying here is the ultimate for people who like luxury and history, but the true art lover will pass by 50 rooms and 22 suites to take up temporary residence in Antony Gormley’s ROOM, a suite that occupies the interior of a giant semi-abstract sculpture situated on the side of the hotel.
ROOM is a mysterious den that is supposed to help guests enter a different state of consciousness. It is the perfect place to withdraw from the daily grind and take a meditative pause. There are a sitting room and marble bathroom decorated in the art deco style that dominates the property and a wood-paneled bedroom sits upstairs. Included are also a private hallway and guest bathroom. Forget looking at art, why not sleep inside an art piece?
Rooms start at $600