The Lap Of Luxury: Where the Hotels Are the Vacation

Written by | Travel

Luxury hotels will always be coveted places to kick back and be pampered, but with travelers trending younger and seeking more cultural interaction, sterile decors and uniformity is giving way to inspiration and local color.

Christian Lacroix at Sofitel Bangkok, March 28, 2012

Christian Lacroix at Sofitel Bangkok

Consider the art boutique hotel: Well-appointed and similarly priced to the traditional luxury chains of yesteryear, the art boutique is often defined as an upscale property transmitting mood through standout design and original art extending far beyond the walls to furniture, clothing and dining. Offered here are three art boutique hotels with vibes as varied as the countries they represent.

SO Sofitel Bangkok: A Visual Explosion

Even in a city as full of surprise as Bangkok, SO Sofitel will catch you off guard. With evolving modern art exhibitions throughout the property and brilliantly configured rooms that both entertain and engulf, it’s the decadent Christian Lacroix uniforms that ground steal the show. Each uniform is unique, combining intricate Thai patterns and lush fabrics with Lacroix’s French fashion sensibility. Still, save some room in your camera roll for a tour of the tower’s five element-themed zones: Rooms individually explore earth, wood, water or metal, while the property’s international dining experience, Red Oven, claims fire. Continuing a Thai tradition of LGBT acceptance unique in Southeast Asia, Sofitel SO Bangkok inaugurated their HI-SO Pride Party on their rooftop bar this January and will continue the event third Saturdays in each month.

El Ganzo Hotel, Los Cabos

El Ganzo Hotel, Los Cabos

El Ganzo, Los Cabos: The Quiet Canvas

For creatives seeking escape, Hotel El Ganzo in San Jose del Cabo is a hub of inspiration in one of Mexico’s most famously tranquil resort settings. A property decked out completely in white, the hotel itself is a canvas for its artists-in-residence who leave their marks by personalizing their rooms with unrestricted license and donating a large-scale contribution to one of the property’s public spaces. Musicians also take residence at El Ganzo, recording in the property’s underground studio accessed by trapdoor in the lobby and contributing to the hotel’s personal music station, then giving concerts by the rooftop pool. With its own art and music curators, El Ganzo takes the business of creativity and self-expression to a sensory apex without sacrificing the jetset, getaway vibe of Los Cabos.

Quirk Hotel, Richmond VA

Quirk Hotel, Richmond VA

Quirk Hotel, Richmond: The Sly Sophisticate

Barbie fashion prints in bathrooms and a T-rex at concierge are just a couple of the smaller delights awaiting guests of Quirk Hotel, a converted department store in the middle of Richmond, Virginia’s, burgeoning arts district. The bold design in public spaces and original art in each guest room allow Quirk to live up to its name without compromising refinement A subtle whimsy abounds, but the atmosphere is anything but kitschy. You can sample art right on the premises at Quirk Gallery, which exhibits primarily local artists, or grab one of the Quirk bikes and venture out to the many nearby galleries and museums. As an added bonus, Quirk Hotel stands out in its embrace of LGBT guests to its pink-paletted, pooch-friendly property in a city already on making waves on the radar of gay travelers.

Last modified: July 11, 2017