When rating hotel room amenities, only the obsessive aesthete would make art a serious contender. Which may be why most hotel art cuts a narrow swath across craft fair kitsch and tired museum posters.
Enter Art’otel, a mid-priced, German hotel concept, where art graduates from bit player to undisputed star. While many luxury hotels make a show of their blue chip art acquisitions, Art’otels stand alone for their devotion to the work of a single artist.
The first Art’otel opened in Berline’s Mitte district in 1999, with the German artist, Goerg Baselitz, taking center stage. Original prints by Baselitz, one of Germany’s treasured contemporary artists, decorate the lobby, line the restaurants walls, and grace the guest rooms, comprising a one-man exhibition of work created or acquired specifically for the hotel. The hotel interior, spare, modern and overwhelmingly white, is stylishly simple, ceding the stage to Baselitz’s expressionist, colorful markings.
This formula—a pared down, refined context in which art is the single dynamic component—is the defining characteristic of all Art’otels. Two other Berlin branches, with Andy Warhol and Wolf Vostell as muses, and hotels in Dresden and Cologne ensure Germany’s place as the franchise’s premier host country.
But 2009 saw the opening of the first Art’otel outside Germany, with a Donald Sultan-inspired Budapest branch. Amsterdam unveils its first Art’otel later this year, and London follows suit in 2014—all boding well for even the art averse, who need never leave their hotel rooms to sample the local cultural scene.