These four art-centred concepts from around the world provide an exclusive insider’s look into the city’s cultural heritage and thriving art scenes.
EXPERIENCE ART ON A BUDGET AT... BRODY HOUSE (BRODYHOUSE.COM)
Before the inception of this quirky 11-room boutique hotel in Budapest, founders William Clothier and Peter Grundberg lived in the neoclassical heritage building with their artist friends, hosting cultural salons and dinner parties. The building, now lovingly restored and converted into a guest house, is popular as a location for film and fashion shoots. Each room is uniquely designed and named after a Brody House artist, who might have used that very room as a studio, and whose works now feature in it. While the house has retained its old-school charm and boho-chic glory with vintage upcycled furniture and lots of art, it also gives you modern creature comforts such as air conditioning and free Wi-Fi access while you’re busy Instagramming stunning photos of the property. To immerse yourself further in the art of Budapest, walk 15 minutes to the Brody Artyard to check out exhibitions, a print studio and art shop. Hotel guests also get access to the Brody House members’ club, which holds events such as art tasting dinners and creative discussions. Impressively, the hotel is a rare example of how experiencing art and culture does not have to come at a high price – it was voted runner-up for Best Budget Boutique Hotel in the Smith Hotel Awards by Mr & Mrs Smith in 2015.
GET EXCLUSIVE ACCESS TO TOKYO’S ART GEMS AT... THE PENINSULA TOKYO (HTTP://TOKYO.PENINSULA.COM)
Art features prominently even in the hotel’s lobby, made instantly recognisable by the Lying Dragon Gate, a centrepiece bamboo sculpture by Japanese artist Keisen Hama, symbolising strength, harmony and good luck. Apart from the obvious luxuries the hotel off ers, its guest rooms are also artfully designed by famed architect Yukio Hashimoto, using an interplay of woods, lacquer, marble and stone in rich earth tones. The hotel’s learning and activity programme, The Peninsula Academy, off ers art hounds an even more personalised experience of the city’s cultural aspects. The Hidden Colors of Tokyo tour is an insider’s guide to the city’s contemporary art scene, which is notoriously difficult to navigate, even for keen locals (the best collections are often tucked away in “secret” addresses). Guided by Natane Takeda, VIP relations coordinator in Tokyo for Art Basel, the private tour takes guests through galleries, museums, studios and collectors’ private spaces, and even venues such as designer cafes and teahouses. You can also go on a day trip to Kyoto for a Washi Paper Art Experience with Eriko Horiki, the renowned designer and author who specialises in using this paper which permeates Japanese life – washi is used in art, the creation of kimono designs, sliding-door shoji panels, everyday items and even banknotes. At Horiki’s atelier, you’ll learn about her work and the use of washi in interior design, and have a chance to commission an original work.
“TOKYO’S CONTEMPORARY ART SCENE IS NOTORIOUSLY DIFFICULT TO NAVIGATE, EVEN FOR KEEN LOCALS.”
Hotel Vagabond is a veritable art gallery with its life-sized elephant sculptures by Franck Le Ray, a solid brass rhino reception counter that was assembled in 15 Rajasthan villages, and a video art installation by New York-based video artist Marco Brambilla in the elevator. Hotelier Satinder Garcha took the 1950s Art Deco building and converted it, with the help of designer Jacques Garcia (of Paris’ Hotel Costes fame), into a chic 41-room boutique hotel. His idea was to have a space where artists and guests could mingle. Hotel Vagabond is the first and only hotel in Singapore to feature an artist-in-residence programme – it’s hosted French costume designer Mireille Minier and multimedia artist Julia Calfee. Participating artists are selected based on whether they’d be able to interact with guests in some manner. It also has a Salon that doubles as a screening room, dinner theatre venue or live jazz bar where artist pop-up events are held regularly. Guests can look forward to a daily Lady Boss High Tea, where they get to meet the artists in residence.
STAY AT THE HEART OF NEW YORK CITY’S ART SCENE AT... THE MARK (WWW.THEMARKHOTEL.COM)
This lavish gem in Manhattan is itself a beacon of haute French design – it was conceptualised by acclaimed designer Jacques Grange, no less. Housed in a 1927 landmark building in the heart of Upper East Side and a few blocks away from the Museum Mile, where 10 museums are located, The Mark is the perfect temporary crib for the art-minded. Take the hotel’s private guided tour of a museum of your choice, with a personal chauffeur, for six hours; enjoy an Artist’s Afternoon Tea served in your room; and receive a special edition of artist Jean-Philippe Delhomme’s illustrated book, The Cultivated Life. If that is not enough, the hotel concierge will also provide insider knowledge for VIP access to special exhibits at the Museum of Modern Art, studio tours with popular artists, and private auctions.
“IT’S THE FIRST AND ONLY HOTEL IN SINGAPORE TO FEATURE AN ARTISTIN- RESIDENCE PROGRAMME.”