Cool Art Hotels
We’re pretty excited about this new movement in hotels, which is turning a traditional stay into something a little bit more experiential.
20 Upper Ground, Southbank, London | +44 (0) 808 234 9523
The newest Mondrian hotel—industrial designer Tom Dixon’s biggest commission yet—has taken up residence in the iconic Sea Containers building right on the Thames. Originally built by American architect Warren Platner, Dixon and his company, Design Research Studio, built upon many of the original details and then totally splashed out. The spaces are modern, and also tastefully elegiac to the over-the-top 70’s when the hotel was built, with plenty of shiny metallics and velvet touches. From the ship hull of a reception desk (which is also reminiscent of a monumental Serra sculpture), to the purple-y crushed velvet-covered cinema, to the pink lined cupboards in the rooms, you get a pretty good idea of how much fun they had designing the space. It’s a total pleasure, especially the restaurant, which is helmed by anti-inflammatory foods pioneer Seamus Mullen of Tertulia fame. The Rumpus Room on the 12th floor, which serves drinks care of mixologist Mr. Lyan, offers 360 degree views of London.
Km 13, Route de l’Ourika, Tassoultante, Canal Zarraba, Marrakech | +212.525.065.000
A luxury hotel, artist’s residence, and cultural center, this Moroccan retreat at the bottom of the Atlas mountains is so packed with delights, you’ll be loathe to venture out to nearby Marrakech or Yves Saint Laurent’s Majorelle gardens. Sure, it’s impeccably decorated—vintage pieces, furniture designed by local artisans—but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. You’ll likely run into one of the visiting artists, who stay for months at a time, researching and developing their next projects, or, you can find your way through the Moroccan landscaping to the spectacular art (and DVD) library and UNESCO-recognized cultural center. There’s also an organic cafe, yoga classes, a great spa, an on-site concept store, and a pool. It’s guilt-free tourism too, as the hotel’s founders go out of their way to give back to the community, running practical courses for locals and hiring many. Bring the kids, too: There are plenty of art and music activities just for them.
200 N.E. St., Bentonville, AR | 479.286.6500
Until now, Bentonville wasn’t exactly on our hotlist, but this hotel-cum-museum makes a pretty strong case for the state. Designed inside and out by architect Deborah Burke, the contemporary, light-filled space offers a museum, which is open to the museum 24 hours a day. You’ll find many contemporary artists that are making waves, along with the permanent collection which pops out in refreshingly surprising places—Anne Peabody’s paintings decorate the bathroom mirrors, there’s a man-made moon sculpture in the garden, and there are paper-like sheets permanently strewn through the lobby. Beyond the impressive interiors, the Hive restaurant serves delicious Southern food.