After perusing some world’s best art hotels, we move our focus back home. From the East Coast to the West Coast, there are some incredible places to not only lay your head, but also feast your eyes on stunning artwork in fine stays across these states.
Come with The Manual on a tour from a new exhibit at New York’s Barclay, to the Midwest and South in Cincinnati and Nashville, across the Rockies in Denver, and down into Los Angeles for some of the best art hotels in the United States.
Le Meridien Chambers
In Minneapolis’ beating art heart, steps from the Hennepin Theater District and Nicollet Mall, lies Le Meridien Chambers Hotel, an art lover’s dream. Travelers through its chic design pass a five-story stairwell mural and into an in-house gallery decked out with over 200 edgy art pieces, including many from the Young British Artist movement. Repeat customer? The hotel swaps out rotating video art installations.
Spanning two of the west Twin City’s landmark buildings, Le Meridien holds 60 luxury guest rooms complete with flat-screen TVs, walk-in rain showers, pillowtop mattresses, 400 thread count cotton sheets, and heated bathroom floors.
If appreciating Meridien’s art isn’t enough to satisfy your creative itch, the hotel also devotes energy to art outside its walls. Hotel room key cards offer complimentary access to the city’s famed Walker Art Center, just a short stroll away from the property. When the muse calls, Le Meridien’s Art Room encourages inspired guests to apply complimentary supplies like charcoals, colored pencils, easels, and sketch pads to their own creative enterprise.
Charleston’s charm comes framed in gilded art at The Vendue’s dual buildings. The first and only hotel dedicated to the arts in Charleston, South Carolina, features more than 300 pieces of themed original art. On display now, for example, is the critically acclaimed, Lions and Tigers and Bears, anchored by an animal-related focus on surreal and nontraditional representations of various varmints and critters.
The Vendue combines two historic hotels — 19 Vendue and 26 Vendue — facing each other across the street. Five historic warehouses dating back to 1780 stack together to form 19 Vendue. And 26 Vendue melds two 1800s-era warehouses. This period of construction means two rooms are not alike, and each is decorated with different reproduction furnishings and antiques.
Additional installations line 26 Vendue’s corridors, gallery guest rooms, and public areas inside. Nearby lies Charleston’s one-of-a-kind Museum Mile, home of Southern creations old and new at the likes of the Gibbes Museum of Art, the Charleston Museum, and the Old Slave Mart Museum.
The Gordon Hotel
Tucked behind the shadow of the University of Oregon in Eugene is the 5th Street Public Market, which is dominated by former mayor and real estate developer Brian Obie. In an ode to his father Gordon, who was an artist for 50 years, Obie founded The Gordon Hotel to be a local arts hub. One look inside the building and it’s easy to see why USA Today included it as the paper’s #3 best new hotel in 2022.
Its sprawling, open-ceiled lobby is surrounded by art installations, murals, two stories of interconnected television screens, and a Douglas fir and wrought iron staircase, which is lit by a massive glass bottle chandelier. More than 150 pieces of local art from 84 artists adorn the lobby’s walls. Along corridors, halls, and hotel rooms are dozens of visual pieces with companion iPads offering a catalog with bios, descriptions, and links to artist websites.
21c Museum Hotel Chicago
This 21c Museum Hotel is set alongside Lake Michigan in Chicago’s art-centric River North neighborhood, which is home to the highest concentration of art galleries in the U.S. outside of Manhattan.
21c Museum Hotels were founded by preservationists and contemporary art collectors Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson, who were motivated to preserve their quickly gentrifying downtown Louisville home. As 21c’s newest edition (opened in 2020), this Chicago art hotel aims to narrate Art in Motion, flipping through ever-changing art throughout a guest’s stay. Guests can even get involved via Sleeping with the Artists, a rotating, on-sale exhibition of emerging local artist works stretching throughout the hotel’s three floors.
Outside lies iconic Michigan Avenue and the nearby Magnificent Mile, filled with cultural attractions like the Museum of Contemporary Art, Millennium Park, Historic Water Tower, and Navy Pier.
Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
The magic of Disney reveals itself even more behind the curtain, and at Walt Disney World’s Art of Animation Resort, you can learn how this art’s been created. You’ll find many of the tricks of the trade at the theme park, from early, hand-drawn work to today’s sharp digital designs.
Opened in 2012, the park pays tribute to Disney’s artists. The Animation Resort allows visitors to take a real-life journey through the Magic Kingdom’s hallowed, Technicolor worlds. Parkgoers immerse in an animated world, swimming with Crush the Turtle, ripping asphalt with Lightning McQueen, and taking psychedelic trips atop colored waves.
Disney tells the story of the animation process through audiotronics, digital displays, pencil drawings, sketchbooks, storyboards, and into movie screens. At the hotel, the submersion in Disney consumption continues with four themed wings (The Lion King, Cars, The Little Mermaid, and Finding Nemo), the Ink and Paint gift shop, and three pools.
Saint Kate – The Arts Hotel
Saint Kate is an oldie, but a goodie. Established in 1987, The Arts Hotel helped pioneer the idea of elevating creative work at a travel hub.
Today Milwaukee’s Saint Kate celebrates art in all its forms — music, theater, and dance in addition to the visual arts. Named after Saint Catherine, the patron saint of artists, this boutique property rotates gallery exhibitions in its 1,700-square-foot space with work that mixes local provocateurs and national artists.
Guest rooms and public spaces by interior design firm Stonehill Taylor incorporate this art into the guest experience in unexpected ways. You may be surprised to find contemporary work on shower curtains, gracing the bathroom tile, or adorning guest room blankets. Guests can also book Canvas Rooms, five hotel rooms carved by local artists from blank slates. The eccentric outcomes include Lon Michels’ Leopard Room, a funky ode to the spotted beast.
The hotel also houses The Gallery, The Space, and MOWA DTN on its first and second floors along with The Closet, an immersive art experience aligned with new exhibits. This Pride month (and beyond), the Saint Kate is celebrating with a coffee book dedicated to legends of drag (seven of which are delectable Milwaukee divas). In Legends of Drag: Queens of a Certain Age, authors Harry James Hanson (a Milwaukee native) and Devin Antheus, capture 81 (in)famous grand dames from 16 American cities.
La Posada de Santa Fe
Santa Fe is an art lover’s dream. Cerulean skies beam down on an adobe spread and deep reds and browns paint the town in a Southwest patina. In the small town set against a vast high desert, natural beauty primes Santa Fe’s creative drive. La Posada aims to encapsulate this art, offering it to paying pilgrims.
La Posada sets guests in a late 19th-century mansion, a former artist’s refuge where Georgia O’Keefe found the quiet needed to create. Today, it’s an arts haven, housing a huge collection curated by local artist Sara Eyestone. Works from local and nationally recognized artists are everywhere you look at the La Posada, and you can get involved as well with Eyestone’s regular painting workshops, memoir writing classes, and weekly tours.
Outside, the desert vibes continue in a funky downtown with excellent New Mexican cuisine on offer after trips to any of the other several visual excursions.
Burt Reynolds in a blonde wig does an interesting number on his iconic Playgirl layout. You can find the gilded deconstruction of this work at the FOUND:RE Phoenix, Arizona.
Another new addition to the list, the boutique hotel sports several hundred pieces of art from the area and around the world. Founded in 2020, FOUND:RE Phoenix’s 104 industrial chic guest rooms carry eclectic local art, right down to the custom-designed fixtures and furnishings. Dozens of Sleep With the Artists guestrooms offer a slightly altered sensory experience that’s also available for purchase. Hotel meeting spaces also host rotating art exhibits, pop-up art shows, and local artist meetups.
Situated in downtown Phoenix’s pedestrian-friendly Roosevelt Row Arts District, visitors are a short walk away from oversized murals, outdoor sculptures, and dynamic art galleries. The space across the street from FOUND:RE sells work from more than 25 Arizona artists. After browsing, come home to FOUND:RE’s six-story light installation projected on the side of the hotel.
Looking for more highlights? Check out some of The Manual’s best boutique hotels. Or look up art galleries, hotels, and museums in your town to satisfy that creative thirst.