Desirable art pieces, once the status symbol of a wealthy few, are finding new homes in luxury and boutique hotels.
It’s the new unstoppable trend as guests who crave more personalised travel experiences find themselves face to face with pieces that rouse emotions and conjure up memories.
Art is an investment, and well selected can be worth more than the establishment itself one day. As a cultural treasure, a well-curated collection can help make a hotel about the heritage of its locale.
Linking the past and present
What was once a Dutch home built in 1771, the Cape Heritage Hotel is a place where the past and present come full circle. Owner Victoria Nel is keen to preserve the hotel’s history. Every piece tells a story, from the black and white prints depicting the hotel’s storied heritage to the eclectic mix of contemporary art.
“The artwork is just the cherry on top. It adds that wow factor and gives personality to a space,” says front office manager Kelly Hendricks. All the art pieces are originals done by local South African artists, including acclaimed painter Paul du Toit and artist collective Streetwires.
Art and social media
Grande Provence art curator Pieter Lategan says that, in the age of Instagram, hotels are embracing the free marketing and branding potential. “We invite visitors to take pictures and tag us. It should be important, though, to keep it authentic. If you take a picture, caption it and respect the artist,” he advises.
The gallery houses sculptures and contemporary paintings. The wine farm stays true to its ethos by finding the connection between the Franschhoek scenery and vivid colours found in the artists’ works.
Ellerman House is home to a comprehensive collection of South African art that is a reflection of the people of the country - from the mid-19th century to today. Famous paintings include works by Bowler, Preller, John Meyer, Helen Sebidi, Colbert Mashile and Mary Sibande.
The owner Paul Harris has never, and will never, sell any artwork, so the value of the collection is more than monetary and somewhat irrelevant,” says Lindsy Terry, sales and marketing manager.
She also adds that the collection is the most important in South Africa in terms of quality. The hotel values the impact of art on its guests. “This coincides with the philosophy of what is considered to be the ‘new’ standard of luxury where the status of a hotel goes beyond the facilities and amenities.”