For many classical painters and sculptors of a certain era, their highest aspiration may have been finding a home for their creation on a collector’s wall, a gallery or a fine museum. But now it seems art is all around us, and you’re just as likely to see a stunning original at a luxury hotel as you are at a gallery.
When Bellagio opened its Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Las Vegas restaurant Picasso, and filled it with original works from the legend back in 1998, it made big news. And when The Palace Hotel in San Francisco considered selling its Maxfield Parrish painting The Pied Piper, protesters made it nix the plan. In 2014, art is no longer a frill at a luxury hotel; head-turning creations are a de rigueur part of the experience, much like delicious cuisine or an exquisite spa. Here are three creative hotels that take the gallery experience to another level:
When it comes to works of art, it’s hard to upstage the natural beauty of Santa Barbara, with its cool blue waters and majestic gray mountains ringed by a cloud halo. That’s probably why the town has always been a haven for artists and art lovers. This Four-Star resort, perched on the cliffs overlooking the ocean, invites you to try your hand at capturing the scenery on canvas in the seasonal Que Syrah art class at 3 p.m. Saturdays ($55). Sip local wine to silence your inner critic as artist Leigh Sparks helps you create a memento to hang on your wall.
Most hotels let guests wander and take in the property’s art in a casual way. Along with impeccable service and an indulgent spa, Park City’s Montage Deer Valley offers a mini course in American West art via a book on its collection. Pick up a copy of the Montage Deer Valley Art Guide at the Four-Star retreat for a room-by-room tour of the collection that includes works by Utah artists and others who took grand artistic strides to showcase the scenery and fauna of the region. Find out the inspiration behind Luke Frazier’s vivid oil painting Call of the Moose in the lobby and learn the names of the birds in John James Audubon’s many giclées.
An immersive art experience awaits at The Allison Inn & Spa, a rustic-chic property surrounded by rolling hills and vineyards in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. You will not only enjoy three pieces of original art in your room, but the balance of the hotel’s 500-piece ensemble is displayed in the public areas and the grounds. As detailed in The Art of The Allison private collection found at the Four-Star hotel, late owner Joan Austin sought out stunning works by regional woodcrafters, glass blowers, metalworkers, sculptors and painters specializing in landscapes, detailed floral studies, abstract pieces and more. Through March, the inn has upped the ante by hosting the second annual Pacific Northwest Sculptors Exhibition, the premier showing of sculptures by 30 artists from the area.