Top 6 Art Hotels in the U.S.

By Lanee Lee

Art-centric hotels in Europe probably date back to when King Louis and Marie were in their heyday at Versailles. In the U.S., museum-hotels are a relatively new trend. And you might be surprised where these hotels are; most not anywhere near where you’d guess.

When you want to sleep near classical or contemporary artwork, from Cézanne to Cindy Sherman, here’s our picks for top six Art Hotels in the U.S.:

1. Hotel des Arts – San Francisco, California

Most of the rooms have been decorated by emerging local artists who bring the bold colors and graphics of graffiti/skate art to life on the walls you’ll wake up to. Hotel des Arts is located near Union Square, across from the entrance to Chinatown. In their words, a stay at Hotel des Arts is an opportunity to not just view art in a frame but live it. Check the hotel’s facebook for current exhibit info at their onsite gallery.

2. 21C Museum Hotel – Louisville, Kentucky

From the giant golden Michaelango’s David to the bedazzled red limo that sits outside the hotel, you know you’re in for an unorthodox stay. Since 2006, the hotel curator scours the world for the best 21st century contemporary artists for the onsite museum. The rooms are simple and comfortable, but the real excitement lies in the public spaces. Interactive projections, video installations, photographs, sculptures and even ever-moving bright red penguins throughout the hotel stimulate the senses. The hotel’s restaurant, Proof on Main, matches the creativity found on the walls with inventive, whimsical cuisine. And Proof Bar is one of Louisville’s chicest cocktail scenes. Upon check-in, request an iPod for a guided tour of the hotel’s collection. A Cincinnati 21C Hotel has recently opened, with plans slated for another in Bentonville, Arkansas.

3. Le Méridien Chambers – Minneapolis, MN

Le Méridien Chambers Minneapolis is considered America’s first luxury art hotel. From the hotel owner’s private collection, Chambers features over 200 pieces of original contemporary art work, many from the Young British Artist movement. Included in the room rate is free access to the Walker Art Center Minneapolis. If you stay during the winter, check out the Ice Chamber bar — over 12,000 pounds of ice are used to construct the outdoor ice bar (as in photo) complete with ice sculptures and Grey Goose cocktails.

4. Cosmopolitan – Las Vegas, Nevada

This hotel is like staying in MOCA or MOMA, only this museum has slot machines and betting tables. The entire design is structured to engage the viewer into experience art rather than just looking at it – the video panels in the lobby, the chandelier with a multilevel bar inside, the six-foot tall sculptures of women’s shoes randomly strewn about. Even the garage walls are adorned by well-known graffiti artists’ work like Shepard Fairey, RETNA, Kenny Scharf and Shinique Smith. And the interactive art is always changing. A stay at the Cosmopolitan is never the same.

5. Hotel ZaZa – Dallas, Texas

You won’t be bored with a stay at ZaZa Dallas, especially if you’re in one of the thirteen concepts suites. Theme suites to choose range from the Rock Star, the Last Czar, the Crouching Tiger, Out of Africa, Erotica to even a Shag-a-delic theme. Helmut Newton photographs grace the hallways and it’s within a few blocks of the Dallas Arts District. Hotel ZaZa Dallas also has the ZaZa Art House & Social Gallery which features internationally acclaimed art exhibits curated by Turner Carroll Gallery. In the summer, ZaZa’s Mediterranean-styled pool is home to many a raucous pool parties.

6. La Columbe d’Or – Houston, Texas

This pied-à-terre has as much art lining its walls as a dozen galleries put together. The rooms blossom with old world charm, and even though it’s in the middle of the busy Montrose neighborhood, La Columbe d’Or is a tranquil hideaway. Owner Steve Zimmerman has an equal passion for collecting art as he does showing his guests a good time. He’ll pop open a bottle of a crisp Sancerre while telling stories of hosting everyone from movie stars to Presidents during the daily cocktail hour in the bar. Make sure to see the 17th century French wood paneled grand ballroom as well as experience a meal at the European-inspired Restaurant Cinq.

Images of Chambers, Zaza and Hotel des Arts are courtesy of the hotel.

Chandelier Bar photo by Flickr fensterbme.