What do you think of when you hear the term “hotel art”? Imitation watercolors, lifeless nature and mass-produced splatter likely come to mind. Hotel art has long been synonymous with subpar displays—but that’s beginning to change. Across the country, hotels are recognizing that quality art is a worth-while investment. The hotel art on this list demonstrates local flavor and history. Not to mention, many of these were created by the best artists on the planet. So, next time you’re staying in these planner-frequented hotels, you might be lucky enough to appreciate a true gem.
1. Gramercy Park Hotel, New York City
Artwork: Gramercy Park Hotel is known for its contemporary American-styled collection that includes work by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Enoc Perez, Keith Haring, Tom Wesselman and Damien Hirst. Most notable pieces can be found behind the front desk, Diamond Dust Shoes by Warhol, and in the Rose Bar.
Guest rooms: 190
Meeting and event space: 6,000 sq. ft.
2. Cosmopolitan Las Vegas
Artwork: Cosmopolitan Las Vegas hosts a variety of art, from digital exhibits that use LED screens to hundreds of large scale paintings. Artists such Maya Hayuk, Marilyn Minter, Rosemarie Fiore, Alex Da Corte, Jonathan Borofsky, Nicola Lopez, Siobham Liddell and Sylvia Hommert have left their mark in the trendy hotel. Cosmopolitan also offers six “Art-o-mat” machines, repurposed cigarette vending machines which dispense original.
Guest rooms: 2,959
Meeting and event space: More than 100,000 sq. ft.
3. 21c Museum Hotel, Louisville, Kentucky
Artwork: The 21c Museum Hotel offers a contemporary museum that’s free to the public, open 24-hours-a-day, 365 days a year. Some exhibits even double as a guest room. Open galleries rotate often but some permanently reside, such as the double-sized replica of David. Perhaps most famously, there are two works by Brazilian artist Vik Muniz.
Guest rooms: 91
Meeting space: 9,000 sq. ft.
4. La Fonda on the Plaza, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Artwork: The art at La Fonda on the Plaza is definitely a reflection on the character and history of Santa Fe. The space is full of paintings by local Native American artists. Additionally, the hotel has curated an impressive collection of handmade items, including glass tiles, wooden headboards and chandeliers.
Guest rooms: 180
Meeting space: 20,000 sq. ft.
5. Hilton Anatole, Dallas
Artwork: Most people think of hotel art as safe, but at Hilton Anatole—which offers the largest collection ever assembled in an American hotel—these masterpieces dare you to consider their message. Treasures include one of the few pieces of the Berlin Wall on display outside a museum and an 18th century reclining Buddha from Thailand. Many of the more than one thousand rare works of art are part of the Crow Family collection.
Guest rooms: 1,606
Meeting space: More than 100,000 sq. ft.
6. The Alexander in Indianapolis
Artwork: Art is everywhere you turn at The Alexander in Indianapolis. The hotel’s commissioned pieces are popping with color and eye-catching materials. In the lobby, guests can view a giant portrait made out of more than 3,400 combs of local hair empress Madam C.J. Walker.
Guest rooms: 209
Meeting space: 12,000 sq. ft.
7. Hotel Des Arts in San Francisco
Artwork: From its creation, Hotel Des Arts’ mission has been to create guest rooms that double as art. Artists have travelled from all over the world to leave their mark. You might discover video installations or simple, yet remarkable, drawings. The variety makes staying here an exhilarating treat.
Guest rooms: 13 tourist rooms; 38 residential
Meeting space: N/A
8. The James Chicago
Artwork: Since its 2006 opening, The James Chicago has been known for its art. In particular, its sculpture by local artist Joel Ross has gained widespread fame and now sits in the lobby. Rooms also embrace the aesthetic, featuring abstract nude photographs by Wolfgang Ludes, and black and white photos of Japan by Michael Kenna.
Guest rooms: 297
Meeting space: 7,000 sq. ft.