Top Art-Centric Hotels in Miami

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By: Angela Caraway-Carlton

From our world-class Miami Art Week to culturally rich neighborhoods like Wynwood and Miami Design District — Miami has definitely made a name for itself in the art world. Hotels are also placing a major focus on the arts, with many new and historic hotels holding bragging rights to renowned architects, mega-designers and museum-quality works. From permanent art installations to rotating exhibits, art galleries onsite and outstanding music offered nightly, here are the top nine art-centric hotels in Miami that offer a culturally enriching place to lay your head.

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South Beach

Sagamore Miami Beach

Known as “The Art Hotel,” Sagamore Miami Beach has a long-standing reputation for its dedication to the arts. It’s one of the few hotels in the world with a year-round art program that changes every season, featuring an extensive mix of art from greats like Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein to Miami-based artists. The hotel hosts art talks and offers the unique opportunity to meet artists and has dynamic cultural programming from concerts to lectures. It’s also the only hotel in Miami Beach with a resident art advisor, Sebastien Laboureau, who curates all the art and programming, while making himself available to guests for an informative docent-like tour of the hotel. One of the best times to visit is during Miami Art Week, when the hotel hosts the annual Sagamore Brunch where celebs and art lovers from all over the world converge to clink glasses and chat about the fairs’ best in show.

    Delano South Beach

    Iconic Delano South Beach not only boasts groundbreaking designs by famous French designer Philippe Starck, but touts an array of museum-worthy pieces strategically placed throughout the Alice-in-Wonderland-like lobby. Each piece has a specific meaning or history behind it, and incredibly, hasn’t been altered in 25 years. Have a seat on the most photographed piece of furniture at Delano, an oversized pastel-pink couch designed by Starck, or play a round of pool on the vintage Victorian pool table that’s remained in the exact same spot since it was purchased in 1995. Look for the five, black-lacquer “Moor Chairs” designed in 1954 by Piero Fornasetti, that sit around a half-moon table. At first glance, it seems as if the ladies are actually sitting in the lobby, but it’s a visual joke. Also, standing tall in the lobby is Salvador Dali’s “Leda Throne,” a gold chair dressed like a woman. And, probably the most popular spot on the property for photo shoots, or to sip a cocktail with your feet in the water, is the table and chairs that swim in Delano’s iconic pool that were originally in Le Jardin St. Payl in Paris.

      Faena Hotel Miami Beach

      For a fantasy-driven dive into the arts, it doesn’t get more epic than Faena Hotel Miami Beach, developed by Argentine real estate developer Alan Faena. Awe-inspiring pieces are everywhere you look. The most recognizable artwork on the whimsical property is Damien Hirst’s “Gone But Not Forgotten,” a gilded skeleton of a woolly mammoth majestically displayed in a glass box in the garden — it’s breathtaking to see the turquoise ocean glistening behind it. For more of Hirst’s work, dine at modern-Asian restaurant Pao by Paul Qui to stare at a towering golden unicorn sculpture,“Golden Myth,” situated in the middle of the restaurant. Wander into the Living Room, to catch two grand chandeliers named “Storms” by Alberto Garutti — they flicker every time lightning strikes the Pampas in Argentina. For an interactive experience, book an evening at Faena Theatre where there is always a rotating line-up of performances from sultry cabaret shows to big-name concerts.

        The Betsy South Beach

        The Betsy South Beach, a beachside oasis in the middle of bustling South Beach, offers a strong calendar of art and cultural events for guests and locals. Cozy up in the lobby for nightly, free jazz concerts by world-recognized musicians, or ask for a tour to learn more about the rotating exhibits of visual arts and photography throughout the hotel. Something really unique — the hotel boasts Miami’s only Writer’s Room, a working studio space for visiting writers and artists. There are also two permanent, public art displays which debuted when the existing Betsy Hotel merged with the historic Carlton Hotel on Collins Avenue. Venture midway to Espanola Way at 14th Place and peek into the restored alleyway to peep “The Betsy Orb,” a large orb-shaped structure that exquisitely connects the two historic properties. The Betsy’s Poetry Rail is an installation of poetry — etched into metal by water jets — by 13 poets who have contributed to Miami literature like Langston Hughes, Donald Justice and Mohamed Ali.

          W South Beach

          Modern stunner W South Beach is home to more than just lively nightlife and trendy restaurants. The hotel also houses a multi-million dollar contemporary art collection with pieces by iconic artists like Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Julien Schnabel and more. The W’s support for the local arts also extends across the street to its neighbor, The Bass, Miami Beach’s contemporary art museum, with an exclusive partnership that includes special amenities like an upscale picnic at the Bass’ adjacent sculpture garden. Hotel guests have the chance to experience VIP access to Creativity Center programs for all ages, exhibition openings, guided tours and more.

            The Setai, Miami Beach

            Luxury and art go hand-in-hand at The Setai, Miami Beach, a zen-hotel rich in architectural history. The sleek hotel is housed in a restored 1936 landmark building within the historical Art Deco District, designed by renowned architect Henry Hohauser, and oozes an Art Deco-Asian style. If one design element expresses the concept of Art Deco fusion, it would be the lobby’s grey antique bricks that were transported from Shanghai, which at one time had the largest array of Art Deco buildings in the world. Guests will be wowed by original paintings by Shanghai artist Christian de Laubadère, who paints on paper and canvas using lead pencils, smoke and charcoal as well as printed and embroidered fabric selected from China and France. The hotel also puts an emphasis on the art of music at Jaya’s elaborate Sunday Jazz Brunch, where guests can listen to a live jazz band while they roam the decadent seafood, Asian and dessert stations and sip Champagne.

              Loews Miami Beach Hotel

              At Loews Miami Beach Hotel, a hotel tower was designed as an homage to Art Deco with a stunning cupola that’s now synonymous with South Beach. A recent $50-million dollar revamp meant adding a curated collection of permanent art pieces that ranges from murals to sculptures and even designer headboards in rooms. The works of Sarah Raskey, a Chicago-based visual artist, and Derek Gores, a Melbourne, Florida artist known for collage-art, are woven throughout the hotel. The first thing guests will notice is Raskey’s sparkling art piece behind the reception desk called “Stardust,” comprised of minerals, precious stones, crystals, geodes and more. It’s like a fabulous piece of earthy jewelry on the wall. You’ll also find her work in the artfully designed carpeting in guestroom hallways and the guestroom headboards and murals, which are aptly called “Halo.” Gores, who recycles fashion magazines, labels and digital materials to create larger-than-life collage works, features a series of playful works showing off the living beauty of the figure and the aesthetics of fashion by Splash boutique and Bar Collins. For gallery-like collections, head to the second and third floor meeting spaces for more than 40 pieces of multi-medium works showcasing many local Florida artists. If music is your art of choice, spend an evening at Bar Collins, the lobby restaurant and lounge, for live music every Friday through Sunday. Expect a rotating mix of local musicians who belt out everything from Latin tunes to playing moving music on an electric violin and DJs pumping out dance music.

                Downtown Miami/Brickell

                Kimpton EPIC Miami

                In Downtown Miami, Kimpton EPIC Miami has bragging rights to its own international art gallery on property. Located directly outside the front doors is Avant Gallery, where art lovers can immerse themselves in a contemporary world of sculptures, paintings and photography. Expect to experience an eclectic group of artists including Alejandro Vigilante, Alec Monopoly, Gavin Rain, Nathan Sawaya, and Guy Le Baube. The gallery was founded in Miami Beach in 2007, and while it operates out of four locations (two in Miami), this Downtown location is their flagship and includes stunning LaMuse Café, where you can gather for artfully inspired dishes along with coffee and teas.

                  Hampton Inn & Suites Brickell

                  Also in the heart of Miami’s Brickell Financial District, boutique Hampton Inn & Suites Brickell will surprise guests with their exquisite collection of original art by 12 different artists and a small art gallery at the ground level. Peep one of Jeffrey Zachmann’s one-of-a-kind sculptural machines, a towering flower sculpture by Emilio Robba, and thought-provoking paintings by Gregory Scott and Deborah Starbuck. Roam the sixth floor to gaze at Art Deco photographs and make a stop on each floor where inspiring murals make a statement at the elevator landing areas.

                  All of these places are sure to offer an enriching stay while in Miami, or even replace a day at the museum for locals.

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