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The art of checking-in: Extraordinary art hotels around the world

Waking up to spectacular and inspiring art on vacation can rejuvenate the spirit and liven the imagination

A luxury hotel can no longer be defined by traditional dictates of spiffy service and quality linen - the value of artwork in its treasure chest and how well they are displayed are also important.

We look at 10 extraordinary art hotels around the world.

BENESSE HOUSE, JAPAN

Benesse House is on the island town of Naoshima within the Seto Inland Sea. The region is home to jaw-dropping contemporary art museums and well-known sculptures. At Benesse House, there are only 10 guest rooms spread across four buildings. Most distinctive among these is the Oval hilltop building, accessible only by monorail. Rooms there are among the hardest accommodations to book.

THE THIEF, NORWAY

As its name would like to have us believe, The Thief in Oslo showcases art that curator Sune Nordgren "stole" from the nearby famed Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art. It also samples the collection of Norwegian hotel mogul Petter Stordalen. Guests can see 150 contemporary pieces by artists such as Julian Opie and Jeff Koons.

Hotel Eclat Beijing in China. PHOTO: ZBBZ

THE SURREY, US

The moment visitors step into the lobby of The Surrey in New York, they see the work of Jenny Holzer; in the guest rooms, there are Chuck Close's woven portraits of Kate Moss.

LA COLOMBE D'OR, FRANCE

La Colombe d'Or in Cote d'Azur was originally a bar opened by Paul and Baptistine Roux in the 1920s. As patrons started lingering after hours, they decided to turn it into an inn. In the 1940s, it became a famous hangout among artists visiting the region, who gave their works to the owners in lieu of payment. The works of artists such as Miro, Matisse and Chagall now adorn the walls of the inn.

HOTEL ECLAT BEIJING, CHINA

The Hotel Eclat Beijing is not just a luxury hotel but also a gallery of contemporary art. The hotel's rich and valuable art collection is on display in both the guest rooms and public spaces. Over a hundred artworks, including sculptures and paintings by masters such as Salvador Dali, Chen Wenling and Andy Warhol are on show.

21C LOUISVILLE MUSEUM HOTEL, US

21c Museum Hotels is a chain of contemporary art hotels founded by Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson. The collectors opened their first hotel in Kentucky to display their possessions and followed up with three more. Works include Camille Utterback's video work Text Rain, and a piece made up of light bulbs and mirrors by Ivan Navarro.

THE DOLDER GRAND, SWITZERLAND

The Dolder Grand in Zurich, built in 1899, has over a hundred paintings and sculptures from the Impressionist school as well as the contemporary period. In the hotel's restaurants are paintings by Camille Pissarro, Salvador Dali, Fernando Botero and Joan Miro, and works by Damien Hirst, Keith Haring and Takashi Murakami.

ELMA ARTS COMPLEX LUXURY HOTEL, ISRAEL

This Fauvist-style hotel houses an art gallery and two performance spaces. The majority of works on display at the hotel are post-Impressionist works by the likes of Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque and Jim Dine, as well as works by Israeli artists such as Sigalit Landau.

ONEHOME ART HOTEL, CHINA

The Shanghai Onehome Art Hotel claims to be the largest art hotel in the world and seeks to create an experience of "Comfort and Art All Day Long".

The 14-storey hotel with a floor area of 55,000 sq m has 319 guest rooms and four restaurants. The 15 themed suites are each modelled after the work of a particular master like Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso, Gustav Klimt and Salvador Dali, and sketches and prints by the corresponding artists are displayed.

THE GALLERY HOTEL ART, ITALY

The Gallery Hotel Art in Florence showcases a stream of new artworks just like an art gallery, while work from photographers like David Lachapelle, Steven Klein and Lise Sarfati are found in guest rooms. Art spills out into the hotel grounds in the form of an outdoor installation by Simone D'Auria titled WOW.

The article is adapted from ZBBZ, a bilingual luxury lifestyle magazine published by Lianhe Zaobao.

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