4 Stunning Art Hotels in Europe

Art buffs making their way to Europe in the next few months — whether it’s Venice for La Biennale di Venezia (opening May 9), London for Art15 (May 21-23), or Basel for Art Basel (June 15-18) — might want to make a slight detour to check out one of these sumptuously appointed hotels with enviable, carefully curated in-house collections of art and design pieces.

Following our Must-See Art Hotels in Asia column, Art Loft brings you the second in a series devoted to newly opened art and design hotels in Europe. From the landscaped urban village setting of the Ham Yard Hotel in London to the vintage Art Deco credentials of Paris’ Hotel Molitor and the stately digs of a converted private manor in small-town Provence, there’s something for all tastes and inclinations…

Ham Yard Hotel

1 Ham Yard, London W1

The latest addition to Kit and Tim Kemp’s mini-empire of Firmdale hotels, which include New York’s Crosby Street Hotel and several other properties in Covent Garden, Knightsbridge and Haymarket, the Ham Yard Hotel is located just behind Piccadilly Circus, cloistered behind a quiet grove of five oak trees. Intimately scaled at 91 rooms and suites, the Ham Yard boasts a lush wild flower rooftop meadow for a touch of pastoral idyll, while a Tony Cragg sculpture outside makes an imposing centerpiece. Inside, Kit Kemp’s deft talent for mixing flea market finds and quirky artifacts with bold geometric prints and vibrantly patterned fabrics are complemented by pieces by 1960s British artists like Sandra Blow, while bathrooms feature standalone iron bathtubs and warm oak and cool granite furnishings. Taking a cue from the lively entertainment quarters of the nearby West End, the hotel also features a 176-seat theater, a four-lane vintage bowling alley spirited over from 1950s Texas, and a sharply curated pedestrian arcade of thirteen boutiques selected by Kemp herself, making this a veritable urban village for the discerning design-conscious traveler.

Sir Albert Hotel

Albert Cuypstraat 2-6, 1072 CT Amsterdam

Housed in a refurbished 19th century diamond factory in the middle of Amsterdam’s emerging creative neighborhood of De Pijp, Sir Albert features an interior scheme conceived by Tel Aviv design firm BK Architecture that pays tribute to the rugged industrial origins of the site while throwing some modern luxury into the mix, with stone-washed floors lovingly caressed by rich Persian rugs, high ceilings, and floor-to-ceiling windows. A well-stocked library of art books and cozy fireplace awaits guests in “The Study,” adorned with Italian design pieces by Maxalto and Ceccotti and smart objects by Dutch designers Piet Hein Eek and Joy van Erven. The in-house Asian restaurant and bar Izakaya serves up grazing plates of sparkling sashimi and shochu cocktails, while the Creative Space serves as a flexible “think tank” and conference boardroom facility. This urban refuge in Amsterdam is the first in a planned series of modern-day aristocratic abodes for contemporary jetsetters, with more Sir establishments currently being planed in Berlin and Hamburg.

Hotel Molitor

13, Rue Nungesser et Coli, 75016 Paris

Situated on the edge of the Bois de Boulogne near the Roland Garros Stadium, the Molitor swimming pool complex in Paris’ chic 16th arrondissement used to be a magnet for the city’s beau monde, who flocked here every summer to disport on its artificial beach heaped with imported sand for more than half a century. When the pool closed is 1989, it slowly fell into decrepitude, becoming an unlicensed haunt for underground parties that reveled among the graffiti-covered walls. In May 2014, however, the Molitor reopened as a 124-room hotel and private club after extensive remodeling to the tune of 80 million euros, occupying the entire expanse of a triangular city block in bright ochre. The born-again Molitor is a handsome addition to notable architectural heritage projects in the city — Art Deco plaster moldings have been lovingly recreated, original hand-blown glass lamps carefully polished and spruced up, and exquisite floor mosaics restored. Elsewhere, a rooftop terrace with unobstructed views of the Eiffel Tower is adorned with aromatic plants and a cocktail bar, while a Clarins spa offers lavish treatments, steam rooms, and saunas. The in-house restaurant is helmed by Julien Mercier, paired with one of the Meilleurs Ouvriers de France that changes every season, offering guests first-rate tasting menus created in collaboration with the best local suppliers.

Hôtel d’Almeran

5, Rue Carnot, Saint-Rémy-de-Provence 13210, France

Consisting of only seven spacious suites, Hôtel d’Almeran is a converted 17th century aristocratic manor nestled in the historic center of a verdant Provençal town whose speckled year-round sunshine apparently provided van Gogh with much of his chromatic inspiration. Saint-Rémy-de-Provence welcomed
This exemplary contemporary refurbishment was a labor of love for joint owners Margot Stängle, an architect by training, and Ralph Hüsgen, a communications and marketing professional, both of whom spared neither cost nor effort to hiring professional conservators to ensure that all restoration techniques were historically appropriate. The limpid stone and alabaster structure provides a sober counterpoint to the eclectic yet restrained furniture pieces by mid-century designers like Konstantin Grcic and Eileen Gray. Benoit Fauci, formerly of the Michelin-starred Les Chênes Verts in Tourtour, oversees the fresh, produce-driven menu at the in-house Mediterranean restaurant, while oenophile guests can savor regional French wines as well as offerings from neighboring Spain, Italy and Germany — and will surely be keen to make a couple of pleasurable detours to investigate the 34 wine appellations nearby, as well as the charming historic towns of Avignon and Les-Baux-de-Provence.

About Darryl Wee

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Darryl Wee is head of visual arts for Asia at BLOUIN ARTINFO. He has previously written about contemporary art for Artforum, Art Asia Pacific, LEAP, Bijutsu Techo, the Japan Times, and the Wall Street Journal, and translated catalogues and essays on Gutai, Makoto Aida, Tadasu Takamine, Koki Tanaka and many other Japanese artists.

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