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The Unexpected Art Gallery

From Greenwich to Santa Fe, local artists are finding a new home for their work—in chic boutique hotels

Just an hour outside of Manhattan’s buzzing art scene in the sleepy suburbs of Connecticut sits The JHouse Greenwich, a boutique hotel (pictured right) that defies New England stereotypes with accommodations and amenities that are anything but conventional. The hotel’s modern aesthetic is more reminiscent of Miami Beach’s Art Deco district than downtown Connecticut with brushed concrete walls, warm wood accents and even poolside cabanas. Taking advantage of the minimalistic design, the hotel debuted its “art hotel” concept last fall by launching its first curated exhibit showcasing emerging contemporary artists.

“It’s not all of sailboats and landscapes,” General Manager Jonathan Wise says of the exhibitions. “There are a lot of contemporary art fans in Connecticut, but it’s so latent and under the radar. We’re breaking the Connecticut code.”

The gallery has since run on a six-week rotating schedule introducing each exhibition through an invitation-only reception before opening to the public and guests of the hotel. What can visitors expect? Everything from abstract sculptures, photography and canvas paintings all aiming to communicate with a contemporary audience. The works exhibited are all available for purchase with proceeds going directly to the artists.

Wise explains what sparked the idea: “When we looked at the market and trends within the boutique industry, it was very apparent that hotels weren’t just places to sleep and eat anymore. The ones that are really successful and interesting that touch an interest are places that are a hub of culture.”

Good news for art enthusiasts. Boutique hotels are catching on to the trend and debuting art galleries in some of the country’s most unassuming locations. We’ve compiled a list of our favorites below.


La Posada De Santa Fe Resort & Spa
Santa Fe, NM

The self-proclaimed “Art Hotel of Santa Fe” features an original collection of artwork, photography and sculptures that showcase the rich history and culture that is distinctive to the Southwest. Collectors who support the local artists by purchasing a piece from the hotel’s collection are rewarded with discounted rooms upon their return to the resort.


Ocean House
Watch Hill, RI

This five-star seaside resort boasts not only an extensive permanent art collection—which includes a series of murals from Ludwig Bemelmans that were originally commissioned for the Onassis’ famed Christina O yacht—but has also teamed up with local galleries to install seasonally rotating art exhibitions featuring local artists.


The Alexis Hotel
Seattle, WA

Curated artwork is displayed throughout the hotel in guestrooms, public spaces and their famous “Art Walk”—the expansive, art-filled hallway that serves as the heart of the exhibition. Updated quarterly, the exhibits feature a variety of mediums and styles from abstract sculptures to impressionist paintings.


21c Museum Hotel
Louisville, KY

Part contemporary museum, part boutique hotel, the award-winning chain began in Louisville to introduce contemporary art into the rural landscape of Kentucky. Featuring rotating exhibitions and site-specific installations, 21c is “redefining the art of modern Southern hospitality.”



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