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12 Stays Where You Can Channel Your Inner Artist

From a hip Brooklyn neighborhood to remote Indian beach, these artsy getaways are magnets for jetsetting creatives. Don't forget your paint brushes.

An avid Italophile, Laura is always on the hunt for the next great travel trends, luxury hotels, best places to eat and drink, and hidden gems. Her writing has appeared in dozens of publications. She also co-wrote "New York: Hidden Bars and Restaurants," an award-winning guide to the city's speakeasy scene.

See recent posts by Laura Itzkowitz

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Hotel Vagabond, Singapore

Between the dramatic black, gold, and red color scheme, paintings, and oversize sculptures, Hotel Vagabond’s design should be enough to get your creative juices flowing. It’s also the first hotel in Singapore to offer an artist-in-residence program, and hosts talents of all genres for weeks or months at a time. In exchange, the artists are expected to interact with guests and share their work. After proper schmoozing, we'd recommend an impromptu movie night at the hotel's Salon-turned-theater, or, better yet, the comfort of your own bed (all guest rooms feature a selection of flicks curated by the hotel's designer himself, celebrated architect Jacques Garcia).

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Green Rooms, London

Opened last summer, Green Rooms occupies an Art Deco building renovated by SODA, the up-and-coming architecture firm behind London's new Soho House on Dean Street. While the arts-oriented hotel doesn't offer residencies per se, most of the public spaces are used to showcase works and initiatives by local talent: the spacious third-floor gallery hosts exhibitions and performances and the ground floor serves as an incubator for emerging restaurateurs, who can set up rent-free pop-up shops.

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Photos by Mark Groeneveld


Volkshotel, Amsterdam

If you want to know where Amsterdam’s creative class hangs out, pay a visit to the Volkshotel. The property's eclectic, colorful design is a fitting backdrop for its café and workspace known as Broedplaats, where some 200 people working in innovative fields rent out studios and office space. Renowned DJs, architects, graphic designers, and even belly dancers contribute to the cause by creating movies, graffiti, and other artwork for the hotel. To dive deeper into their world, request one of the hotel’s standard rooms, which are decked out with newsprint wallpaper, archive photographs, and, for those on the upper floors, knockout views of Amsterdam.

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Wythe Hotel, Brooklyn

Even if gentrification has pushed many artists out of Williamsburg and into the farther reaches of Brooklyn, the Wythe Hotel is still a haven for BK's artsy types. The hotel’s curator Kimia Kline—herself a talented painter—sets up artists for residencies, curates the hotel’s permanent collection of works, and organizes openings and temporary exhibits. Plus, many staff members moonlight as musicians, painters, poets, or photographers.

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Hotel Monteverdi, Castiglioncello del Trinoro, Italy

Tuscany was the birthplace of the Renaissance, so it’s fitting that Monteverdi (a three-villa, seven-room hotel set among southern Tuscany’s rolling hills and vineyards) hosts a rotating roster of acclaimed artists, musicians, philosophers, and even scientists. Artists and scholars in residence organize performances, lectures, exhibits, and seminar for guests looking to get a little intellectual stimulation. It doesn’t hurt that they all happen on the gorgeous hotel grounds, with its own restored 13th-century chapel and farm-to-table café in the heart of the Val d’Orcia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Quirk Hotel, Richmond, VA

Unlike many “art hotels,” the 74-room Quirk started as a gallery before it became a hotel. Today, its permanent collection features pieces by local, regional, and national artists, and no two rooms have duplicate works. Artists in residence stay at the hotel for six months at a time and organize workshops, talks, exhibits, and other events. Guests are encouraged to mingle—that is, of course, between time spent on the rooftop terrace, dining at Maple & Pine, or tasting the locally roasted brews at the onsite coffee bar.

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Photos from left ro right: David Loftus, Saad Alami (both courtesy of El Fenn)

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Photo by David Loftus, courtesy of El Fenn


El Fenn, Marrakech, Morocco

El Fenn may be just a few minutes away from Marrakech's bustling Djemma el Fna market but it feels worlds away. Tucked in the medina, the eye-popping riad has just 28 individually styled rooms and suites that exude the warmth of a Moroccan home. Owner Vanessa Branson (sister of Richard Branson and founder of the now closed Vanessa Devereux Gallery in London) installed works by her favorite artists in the rooms and public spaces and was instrumental in the creation of the Marrakech Biennale, which champions Arab and international artists.

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Hotel Saint George, Marfa, TX

When this sleek new hotel opened last spring in Marfa, it quickly became a jumping-off point for art lovers to experience the nearby Chinati Foundation, a 340-acre contemporary art museum. Owner Tim Crowley is a longtime supporter of the arts and chose bold works by local artists like Christopher Wool and Mark Flood to showcase throughout the property. He also revived the Marfa Book Company (located off the lobby), which hosts readings and lectures in addition to performances by musicians in residence.

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Photos from left to right: James Bedford, G Lees (both courtesy of Eilean Shona)

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Photo by G Lees, courtesy of Eilean Shona


Eilean Shona House and Cottages, Scotland

Vanessa Branson also owns and runs Eilean Shona, a small wooded island off the west coast of Scotland where J. M. Barrie wrote the screenplay for Peter Pan. The main house and seven cottages have a rustic vibe with quirky touches, like a dining room mural painted by celebrated Glaswegian artist Fred Pollock. Shona Projects (the island’s artist-in-residence program) organizes themed workshops, discussions, performances, and other events year round.

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Photos by Gary Schmid

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Photo by Deidi Von Schaewen


The Dune Eco Village and Spa, Pondicherry, India

A bohemian fantasy come to life, the Dune is an eco-friendly beach hotel on India’s Coromandel Coast not far from Pondicherry. The 55 bungalows are designed by various artists, designers, and architects and artists, writers, and filmmakers are invited to create work on-site with the help of local craftsmen. There’s also a strong emphasis here on health and wellness: the spa offers ayurvedic treatments, yoga, and meditation, while the two restaurants serve only organic food.

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The Chatwal, a Luxury Collection Hotel, New York, NY

Tucked away in Manhattan's Theater District, the Chatwal pays homage to the glory days of Broadway’s past with an Art Deco design and black-and-white portraits of famous actors lining the walls of the buzzy Lamb’s Club (once a private club for actors). Thanks to a new partnership with Leica, the hotel is now bringing its heritage into the present by providing guests with top-of-the-line cameras and a photographer’s guide to the area. Naturally, you get to keep the snaps, but the cameras are on loan.

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El Ganzo, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

This boutique hotel overlooking the Sea of Cortez is not your typical beachfront resort. El Ganzo is all about channeling your inner artist. If you're an aspiring rock star, for example, the hotel has an underground recording studio equipped with blue microphones and Fender and Gibson guitars. Or imagine you're looking to bone up on your knowledge of Mexican art, in which case you can join one of the hundreds of art lectures given throughout the year. There are also live performances in the lobby lounge and on the rooftop, which draws a cool crowd who come to lounge by the infinity pool.

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