Gramercy Park Hotel, New York

Situated in the picturesque Gramercy Park enclave at East 21st Street, the Gramercy Park Hotel mixes fine art with rich and colourful design. The result? One of the most original and glamorous five-star hotels in New York.

The 185-room property features custom-designed furnishings and a rotating 56-piece collection of original 20th century artwork from iconic artists like Andy Warhol, Damien Hirst and Tom Wesselman, which can be viewed in all of the hotel’s public spaces.

Just a stone’s throw away are the Chelsea art galleries for more visual delights; Gramercy Park, the only private park in Manhattan and a tranquil haven set amid the hustle and bustle of New York’s buzzing metropolis; city hotspots like Union Square, the Meatpacking District, SoHo, NoHo, Nolita, East and West Villages, as well as the city’s pulsing nightlife, shopping and restaurants.

Inside, the hotel’s endless list of facilities and amenities make a trip out decidedly optional. Off the lobby are the Rose and Jade Bars – two of the city’s most coveted hotspots for cocktails – while the hotel’s signature restaurant, Maialino by Danny Myer is a neighbourhood Roman trattoria with a front bar that serves as a local coffee spot in the morning. Transformed into a lively wine bar serving plates throughout the day and into the night, it’s the perfect place to wind down after a few hours (if time permits) exploring the city.

Interestingly, the hotel was designed by Oscar-nominated director and artist Julian Schnabel and is steeped in the theme of art. As well as art and original photography, each guest room is individually designed in the hotel’s signature renaissance blue, jade green and rose colours, hues that Julian pulled from the Canigiani Holy Family painting by Raffaello “Raphael” Sanzio. Real art lovers wanting an insider’s perspective of the hotel’s collection can arrange tours with the hotel’s knowledgeable concierge who will happily share facts behind the artwork, artists and design inspiration at the hotel.


El Fenn, Morroco

When it comes to culture-filled excursions, Marrakech is a wonderful city to explore. Team that with a preference for art and proprietor Vanessa Branson’s boutique riad, El Fenn, which is tucked away in the Marrakech medina off the city’s main square, Djemaa el Fna, is the perfect choice for a luxury getaway guesthouse.

El Fenn is home to a magnificent contemporary art collection, put together by Branson herself. Considered to be one of the most important collections of contemporary art in Morocco, it features works by established and new European and African artists, including major works by William Kentridge, Terry Frost and Batoul S’Himi.

With Branson’s collection seen throughout the public spaces and bedrooms, you could find yourself dining under a stunning chandelier created by Francis Upritchard or sleeping besides a series of ink studies by Anthony Gormley.

Combining the indulgence of a hip hotel with the heritage of seven traditional Moroccan courtyard houses, El Fenn is unparalleled when it comes to its all-out luxury facilities. Highlights include a 7,000sq ft terrace overlooking the Koutoubia Mosque; three swimming pools; an onsite Hammam spa featuring Le Sens de Marrakech products; an in-house boutique; library and fine dining restaurant, which offers private cooking lessons with head chef, Hafid.

Guided tours through the city’s medina and labyrinthine souks can also be arranged through El Fenn’s helpful staff. As well as visits to the beautiful Ben Youssef Medersa – just one example of the city’s alluring architecture – guests can arrange chauffeured outings to Djemaa el Fna square which is at its most atmospheric at dusk when it fills with turbaned potion sellers and snake charmers, making your experience of Marrakech’s art and culture all the more memorable.


The Dolder Grand, Switzerland

Art at the five starDolder Grandhas always been a much talked about subject. And there’s no questioning why when you consider its collection of more that 100 artworks from the likes of world famous artists such as Anish Kapoor, Zaha Hadid and Salvador DaReopened in 2008 after four years of renovation, The Dolder Grand’s old structure (the hotel first opened in 1899), is now framed by two modern wings designed by Foster + Partners. Reflective of the hotel’s architecture, which blends old with new, The Dolder Grand’s art collection — put together by owner Urs Ernst Schwarzenbach — dates back to 1722 (Abraham Bisschop,A Mute Swan Preening itself in the Edge of a Pond) right up to the present day (Zaha Hadid, Belu, 2007).

Browse the hotel’s collection through a new, interactive iPad tour which the hotel launched just last year, featuring a map pinpointing the exact location you can find each of the prominent works within the Dolder’s decidedly dandy quarters.

Experiencing The Dolder Grand’s art collection need not require that much effort, however; even while you’re taking advantage of the rest of the hotel’s hard-to-beat features, which includes a separate Ladies’ and Gentleman’s Spa, a golf course, hairdressers, boutique, swimming pool, ice rink, nine-hole golf course and more, you’ll never be too far from a masterpiece. In the spa hangs Sol LeWitt’s Horizontal Brushstrokes, while diners can feast their eyes on Salvador Dalí’sFemmes Metamorphosesas they tuck into head chef Heiko Nieder’s two-Michelin-star rated cuisine in The Restaurant.


The Thief, Norway

When it comes to impeccable architecture, Oslo’s The Comb Over — the newly opened Renzo Piano-designed Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art — shines the brightest with its cutting edge design and swerving, high-sheen glass exterior.

Located directly next to the art gallery is The Thief, the only hotel from Design Hotels™ in Oslo, which houses borrowed pieces from Astrup Fearnley’s massive collection within its stunning public spaces, making it the perfect springboard for exploring the city’s art and design offerings.

If you’re strapped for time, though, you could easily fill your art-loving boots within the comfort of The Thief’s decadent walls. The hotel features a permanent collection of pieces selected by Sune Nordgren, the former director of Norway’s National Museum of Art, which don the walls of the hotels 118 lavish rooms.

So lavish, in fact, The Thief cost more per room to build than any other hotel in Scandinavia. Each room features down-duvet bedding, rainfall showers and Antonio Citterio armchairs. It’s the small details that make it super-special, though, with custom-designed wool slippers, bathrobes and blankets, verbena tea at turndown service and a handpicked collection in the minibar.

Whether sipping your morning coffee on the balcony of your room, taking a dip in the nearby Oslo Fjord, whiling away your time next door at the Astrup Fearnley Museum, where you’ll enjoy access to its riveting collection (think Koons, Hirst, Barney and more) — free of charge to all Thief guests, of course — or on a treasure hunt through the hotel to locate the most unique works by artists such as Sir Peter Blake and Richard Prince, Magne Furuholmen, Camilla Löw and Kjell Nupen, there’s everything you need to lose your sense of time in this art mecca.