Every year, my husband, Daryl Slaton (an artist), and I embark on a journey exploring unfamiliar roads - discovering the enchanting art, history, and heritage of cities and towns, regardless of their size. For Thanksgiving, we marked our wedding anniversary in New York City, dining at Le Gratin, Daniel Boulud’s Lyons-inspired cafe in The Beekman Hotel. Last September, we visited three 21C hotels, housing the Brown-Forman family's ultramodern art collections, now notable in Louisville, Lexington, and Cincinnati (read more about that trip here). We returned home committed to regular art dates in Asheville, finding exceptional art and craft from local and distant artists in our own backyard. Whether you’re traveling or staying close to home, consider including hotels as a way to explore the artistic treasures around you!
The Beekman Hotel - New York City
Nestled in the heart of Lower Manhattan, the Beekman Hotel now graces the historic site where the first-ever New York performance of Shakespeare's Hamlet took place in 1761 at the former Chapel Street Theatre (before it met an untimely fire). Replacing it, the new Clinton Hall became a literary haven, housing the Mercantile Library Association where the renowned 19th-century poet Edgar Allan Poe found inspiration while residing at the Beekman Hotel. This iconic establishment also welcomed numerous thought-leaders and artists from the American Romantic period.
Step into the present, where Katherine Gass curates a mesmerizing art collection comprising over 60 original paintings, photographs, prints, works on paper, and sculptures. These captivating pieces adorn not only the hotel's public spaces but also its guest rooms. Designed by the talented architect James M. Farnsworth in the enchanting Queen Anne style, The Beekman boasts a nine-story atrium and a pyramidal skylight, adorned with Victorian cast iron railings and balustrades.
Make sure to arrive early or stay late to savor cocktails and appetizers. Consider securing reservations for an unforgettable dining experience at one of their world-class eateries. Better yet, book a room. The Beekman Hotel invites you to immerse yourself in history, art, and unusual cocktail and culinary adventures.
Art at Home in Our Own Backyard
Grand Bohemian Hotel
Experience luxury and artistry at Asheville's Grand Bohemian Hotel. Nestled in the heart of the city, this masterpiece combines vintage opulence with a distinctive Bohemian ambiance. The hotel's unusual art collection, featuring original paintings, sculptures, and mixed-media works, creates an immersive experience for guests and locals. Every corner tells a unique story, blending culture and hospitality. From the lobby's centerpiece to the art-adorned rooms, to the gallery and gift shop, the Grand Bohemian Hotel promises a lavish and unforgettable retreat, shoteeamlessly intertwining creativity with luxury in the heart of Asheville.
Contemporary Artists Integral to Hotel Arras’ Ethos
For a more modern feel, immerse yourself in the vibrant arts scene of Asheville at Kimpton Hotel Arras! WNC artists like Alex Matisse, John Wayne Jackson, Catherine Murray of Haw Creek Forge, Carl Pitman, and Stephen St. Claire have lent their talents, creating porcelain vessels, monumental ceramic leaves, copper headboard sculptures, waxed carbon wood totems, and layered gesso works that transform the hotel’s spaces into a collector's haven. Grab a brochure at the front desk for an insider's guide to the extraordinary artworks gracing the public areas and guestrooms.
A Mix of Classic and New at The Grove Park Inn
Embrace the rich history of one of America's iconic hotels, The Grove Park Inn, which has hosted ten presidents from Taft to Obama. Steeped in tradition, its hallways are adorned with a variety of paintings, sculptures, and drawings, offering a captivating stroll through history. Built in the timeless Arts and Crafts style, the hotel boasts outstanding replicas of craftsman-style furniture. Collectors in the Arts and Crafts Style gather annually in February at the National Arts and Crafts Conference and Shows. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the hotel is complemented by the celebrated Grovewood Gallery, artists' studios, an outstanding Antique Car Museum and a delightful sculpture garden, all on the vast property. Historically speaking, like the Biltmore Estate, this is one of Asheville’s most inspiring historic and artistic hubs!
“We travel because we need to, because distance and difference are the secret tonic to creativity. When we get home, home is still the same, but something in our minds has changed, and that changes everything.” -Unknown