Living Well

Unique Hotel Artwork Across the U.S.

Immerse yourself in art at these unique accommodations across the country.

by Kari Smith - August 20, 2018

Pablo Picasso once said, “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” Some people feel the same about travel. So why not combine the two by considering a stay at one of these chic art-centric hotels across the United States, where there is as much care and consideration around the hotel artwork and design features as there is around the top-notch service and accommodations.

21c Museum Hotel (Louisville, Kentucky)

Ever wanted to stay overnight in a contemporary art museum? Now you can. A large golden replica of Michelangelo’s David, twice the size of the original, welcomes you to this 91-room boutique hotel. Initially founded by an art-collecting couple as a way to preserve and revitalize downtown Louisville, the 21c Museum Hotel embodies the belief that art can be a vital part of daily life and can spark new energy and ideas.

For a fully immersive art experience, book a night in the Asleep in the Cyclone installation. Inspired by “Drop City,” a counter-culture art community from the 1960s, and constructed with reclaimed barn wood, custom textiles, and original artwork, the true focal point of the space is the multicolor ceiling sculpture, reminiscent of a vibrant, stained-glass geodesic dome.

The on-site galleries at 21c are open for your enjoyment every day and exhibitions rotate, so no two visits are alike. Extending beyond the hotel artwork, the adjoining Proof on Main restaurant prides itself on culinary artistry and boasts its own collection of contemporary art and site-specific installations. The 21c Museum Hotel concept was so well received, it has expanded to seven unique locations in the U.S.

Hotel Max (Seattle, Washington)

If you’re even the slightest bit creatively inclined, you’ll appreciate Hotel Max, which has received rave reviews from publications and patrons alike. The Max was designed with the belief that art shouldn’t blend into the background and has taken care to accentuate the photographs, paintings, collages, and sculptures of numerous styles and attitudes that adorn all aspects of the hotel. Andy Warhol’s unmistakable Campbell’s Soup Can I – Vegetable contrasts with the dark lobby walls, in stunning juxtaposition to Ivan Navaro’s Revolution #2, a sculpture composed of stacked drums.

Each floor has common-area space dedicated to a different local photographer, and larger-than-life images cover the guest-room doors. Head to the fifth floor to see Charles Peterson’s photographic documentation of the Seattle grunge-era music scene, featuring images of Nirvana and Pearl Jam.

When you’ve exhausted Hotel Max’s collection, Chihuly Garden and Glass, the Seattle Art Museum, and Frye Art Museum are all at your fingertips.

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hallway at Hotel Max

At Hotel Max in Seattle, each floor is dedicated to the work of a different artist.

The Art: A Hotel (Denver, Colorado)

An always-changing 22,000-light art installation by Leo Villareal provides an unexpected greeting to the portico of The Art, an iconic luxury hotel in downtown Denver. Inside, you’re treated to a scale model of Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen’s Big Sweep, a steel and aluminum sculpture that mimics a whisking broom and dustpan. Gain intimate access to works by Kiki Smith, Edward Ruscha, and Nancy Rubins. The most eye-catching piece may be Deborah Butterfield’s Otter, an impressive 7-foot-tall horse sculpture made of bronze.

Here, art isn’t restricted to the two on-site galleries, but rather spills into hallways and guest rooms with exquisite commissioned works. The Art offers cultural enrichment events as well as complimentary guided art tours on Saturdays. The Denver Art Museum, home to the full-size version of Big Sweep, and the Clyfford Still Museum are both within walking distance.

The Mark Hotel (New York City, New York)

If you’re thinking about art, it’s hard to ignore what is perhaps the cultural hub of the U.S. For a taste of avant-garde design paired with the latest technology and a prime location on the Upper East Side, The Mark will not disappoint. Winner of several high-profile “best of” awards, The Mark was reimagined by French designer Jacques Grange, whose clients happen to include some of the world’s top trendsetters in fashion—Yves St. Laurent, Valentino, and Karl Lagerfeld, to name a few.

Grange selected and designed custom furnishings and collaborated with a Parisian design gallerist to commission art, furniture, and light fixtures from internationally renowned artists, including Ron Arad, Rachel Howard, and the late Vladimir Kagan. At the Mark, art and design completely envelop you and embody every detail: Grange’s bold, geometric style entertains the eye as soon as you step foot on the marble lobby floor, with long black and white stripes that give way to artfully crafted sconces by Mattia Bonetti, sleek sofas by Paul Mathieu, and striking stairways that lead you to guest rooms and baths that exude art-deco glam.

As you admire your impeccably designed accommodations, enjoy the sweet fragrance of “Jurassic Flower,” The Mark’s signature scent created by master perfumer Frédéric Malle. If your senses aren’t yet overwhelmed, the Guggenheim, The Met, and the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum are all a walk or short cab ride away.

This Alexander Calder painting is one of the many unique pieces you can find at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort.

Nemacolin Woodlands Resort (Farmington, Pennsylvania)

While many think of art and museums as belonging to cosmopolitan hubs, Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, situated on 2,000 acres in southwest Pennsylvania, is proof that top-notch art belongs anywhere and everywhere. Guests enjoy complimentary access to the resort founders’ $45 million family art collection, featuring more than 1,000 individual pieces—including a segment of the Berlin Wall—that adorn all aspects of the resort.

The Nemacolin Gallery space is open 24 hours a day and showcases national and international artists. Exhibits change throughout the year and are typically paired with Meet the Artist nights. For a more in-depth look, book a curator’s tour to get an intimate view of some of Nemacolin’s collection, including some hidden art gems. Here, you can go beyond admiration and take classes—everything from instructor-guided painting events to learning traditional ceramic techniques and the art of Tiffany glass.

Kari Smith is Editor on Wells Fargo Advisors Lifescapes.

Photos courtesy of Nemacolin Woodlands Resort and Provenance Hotels

Additional Resources

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The opinions/ideas presented here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Wells Fargo or its affiliates.

The products discussed are not endorsed by Wells Fargo & Company or its affiliates.