For posh stays with a difference, these hotels celebrate not only l’art de vivre, but also le vivre d’art.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel
For posh stays with a difference, these hotels celebrate not only l’art de vivre, but also le vivre d’art.
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Le Royal Monceau, Paris 

Just a stone’s throw away from the Arc de Triomphe and set along the elegance of Paris’ Avenue Hoche is Le Royal Monceau – a former grand dame that was recently remodelled by none other than Philippe Starck into one of the city’s chicest places to check into. Art, culture and quintessentially quirky Starck touches (like a silver lobster in the water closet) make Le Royal Monceau the only place to stay, if comfort and creativity rock your boat. 

Glass and mirrors feature big time, and the hotel even has its own art gallery on-site. If mama and papa need a little moi time at The Spa My Blend by Clarins, Le Royal Monceau’s renowned pampering haven, just arrange with the dedicated art concierge to get Junior to participate in an art workshop. 

Meanwhile, art is everywhere in the beautiful space; from the thousands upon thousands of shells that adorn the walls of Il Carpaccio, Paris’ only Michelin-star Italian restaurant, to a Stephane Calais artwork on the ceiling of its other restaurant, Le Cuisine, as well as a giant teapot in which one may sit on the terrace, inspired by Alice in Wonderland and crafted by Joana Vasconcelos. 

And not content to be a mere slip of a hotel shop, Le Royal Monceau’s is wonderful enough to rival an art museum’s, with a plethora of things to spend your euros on; including lobster-print plates by JeffKoons, thumping volumes of books on art, music and photography, Keith Haring paintboxes, a humidor painted and signed by Wang Guangyi, limited edition pieces by Yayoi Kusama and even one-offworks of art by local French artists. 

J’adore? Mais oui.

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QT Sydney, Sydney

Set within the heritage-listed Gowings department store and State Theatre, QT Sydney captures the drama of theatre and retail fashion in its edgy and contemporary design style. The hotel has long been admired by art aficionados for its ingeniously curated collection of artwork and design pieces, and it’s fast cementing its place on the Sydney art scene with frequent collaborations with local art museums. Nods to the special past of the building are seen through the design; for example, the original glass (complete with cracks) is retained in the restaurant. The 200 guest rooms range in size from 36 to 42 sq m, with some 12 different room styles – most equipped with a signature bathtub and oversized shower. The historic building is also an architectural jewel with eclectic elements of Gothic, Italian and Art Deco design on the top floors and vast and open layout of big windows, high ceilings, wide corridors, sandstone cladding and gargoyles that grace the facade on the lower floors. The interior is a spectrum of elements that coalesce, featuring antique and vintage motifs of luxury travel, and dramatic LED art walls framed by restored Art Deco and baroque details, next to show-stopping spotlights and ornate gilt display cases throughout the hotel. Stepping into the lobby, you’re bound to feel your creative juices flowing, perhaps enough to inspire your own art piece!

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Iniala Beach House, Natai Beach, Phuket

Established in December 2013, the Iniala Beach House has since garnered a reputation as one of the hottest holiday destinations for discerning beach-goers around the world. Comprising three villas and a luxurious penthouse with a beachfront view of the spotless Natai Beach and the pristine waters of the Andaman Sea, the Iniala Beach House can be booked on a per villa basis, or in its entirety for private functions.

Each villa, and individual room for that matter, was personally conceived by world-famous designers and studios which count the Campana Brothers, Joseph Walsh and Mark Brazier-Jones among them. From the traditional Villa Siam inspired by Thai culture and Buddhism; to the contemporary Villa Bianca which combines Spanish A-cero interiors with famous Russian iconography; and the Collector’s Villa, a compendium of modern design and architecture with its jungle-inspired cinema and glittering mother-of pearl walls, it’s safe to say that there’s something for every art connoisseurto appreciate. 

Last but not least is the Penthouse, a culmination of the collaboration between Iniala’s founder, Mark Weingard, and its chief design director, Graham Lamb. Designed to indulge all the senses, the Penthouse offers a surreal desert like landscape where furniture rises from the rich buttery carpeting like majestic sand dunes, with the bathing area merging into the floor space to give the impression that one is dwelling amid a serene oasis.

In total, the Iniala Beach House offers over 40 bespoke art pieces and, just in case that wasn’t enough to bring out your inner artist, there’s also an on-site art gallery which houses work by both international and local artists.

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The Thief, Oslo

Hearts and minds are being stolen by a brilliant showcase of contemporary European architecture at The Thief. Located next to Scandinavia’s most exciting new art museum, the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, The Thief overlooks the canals of Tjuvholmen and the Oslofj ord, with most of its 119 bespoke French balconied rooms offering brilliant waterfront views. Art and innovation is levelled up in collaboration with the Astrup Fearnley Museum, where art pieces that complement the design of each room are meticulously selected by famed curator Sune Nordgren. 

Practically a museum in its own right, inspiring new pieces by Norwegian rising stars are featured, based on a yearly selection, as part of The Thief’s collaboration with the Norwegian Centre for Design and Architecture. As a result, “The List of The Thief” has been established as an important institution and showcase for young, talented Norwegian designers. The hotel definitely oozes coolness with interactive TVs in each room offering “art on demand”, themed maps such as Oslo Escape Routes taking you on a curated tour of art, design and architecture, and the hotel’s boat that will take you around the fjords all summer long. 

Determined to offer a truly special experience, guests are provided with a treasure-hunt map, explaining the art throughout the hotel. For those able to locate the unique piece in the collection, a special gift awaits them at the Astrup Fearnley Museum shop. Now, who says thieves are all bad?