Art travel is on the rise, fuelled by a desire to re-engage with the world and see it from fresh perspectives. And as hotels and resorts increasingly take on the role of museum and exhibitor, travellers might find that the first stop on their art-focused itinerary lies just beyond their guest room door. Here are four of the best:
The Lake House on Canandaigua
A stylish standout in New York’s Finger Lakes region with frame-worthy, four-season lakefront views, The Lake House on Canandaigua owes its strong design aesthetic to its artist in residence, Fitzhugh Karol. The Brooklyn artist’s contributions to the hotel range from custom furniture pieces. That includes carved four-poster beds in every room, to abstract sculptural forms displayed throughout.
Arriving guests will first encounter two large steel pieces by Karol that were formerly displayed in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, then reworked before their installation on the Lake House front lawn. Lake House also features a curated selection of works by other artists. And the hotel encourages guests to create art of their own with special events like a Whisky and Wood Burning evening.
Sofitel New York
Just a short stroll from Broadway theaters, galleries and the Museum of Modern Art, Sofitel New York evokes the creative energy of the Manhattan arts world. That’s in every aspect of its design, from its award-winning architecture to the work of Brennan Beer Gorman. It includes its Pierre-Yves Rochon interiors, the shelves stocked with French and American art books.
The hotel’s Signature Tony Awards Suite is a theater lover’s fantasy. Among the ovation-worthy offerings are a Tony Awards songbook and scripts from award-winning plays. There are photographs from famous opening numbers, programs, invitations, and Playbills from 1960 and beyond. Personalizing the experience are embroidered pillowcases, bathrobes and towels. Plus there’s a 1996 Tony poster by Frank “Fraver” Verlizzo.
Castle Hotel & Spa
Tarrytown’s landmark Castle Hotel & Spa (above image) is the perfect base for an arts-focused Westchester County weekend getaway. It’s just a short drive or train ride from New York City. The hotel’s historic vibe, magnificent grounds and Hudson River views just might inspire guests to take brush to canvas themselves.
From there, head to ArtsWestchester—the County’s official arts council and a center for art exhibits, installations, performances and workshops in downtown White Plains. Next stop is Neuberger Museum of Art at State University of New York Purchase, whose 6,000+ works include a famed collection of mid-century American art and rare African pieces.
Then drive north to Katonah Museum of Art. Upcoming exhibitions include an exploration of the carnivalesque work of contemporary artists Simon and Nikolai Haas (March 13—June 26). Insider tip: Once it reopens, Tarrytown’s Union Church is a can’t-miss gem with its stained-glass windows by European masters. That includes Henri Matisse’s last work, the Rose Window, and nine windows by Marc Chagall.
Guests arriving at The Heldrich hotel in downtown New Brunswick, New Jersey, are greeted by “The Golden Apples of the Hesperides.” That’s a monumental, nine-panel glass installation by New Jersey artist J. Kenneth Leap.
And that’s just the beginning. The hotel is home to an impressive permanent art collection plus three galleries featuring rotating exhibitions. Once guests have explored The Heldrich’s art-filled spaces, it’s just a 10-minute stroll to Rutgers University’s Zimmerli Art Museum.
One of the largest university-based museums in the U.S., the Zimmerli features more than 60,000 works. That includes an extensive collection of Russian art.