Upscale hotels inviting curators to fill their walls with art is not uncommon in today’s luxury hospitality industry. But a new wave in hotel art, unprecedented in its scale and ambition, is now bringing the gallery experience directly to guests’ doorsteps.
Rather than being a last-minute add-on, hotel owners have started to treat art as a central component of their offering that enhances the overall character of the hotel. The trend has swept through luxury hotels around the world, whether it’s a three-story Kaws sculpture in a Bermuda beach resort, or a Damien Hirst bronze giant in a Las Vegas hotel swimming pool.
This summer, one of the world’s most exclusive hotels is taking the concept one step further by seamlessly merging the art gallery and hotel experience.
“Imagine waking up in the Louvre or walking through the Tate on your way to dinner,” says hotelier Petros Stathis. “Luxury hotels are themselves a work of art, and by providing a unique setting for the right pieces of art they can deliver a truly distinctive guest experience.”
Few hotels can match the iconic setting, classical romance and vibrant history of Aman Sveti Stefan, Stathis’s five-star resort in Montenegro. Launched in 2010 after years of painstaking renovation, this jewel on the Adriatic coastline is celebrating the culmination of its renewal this summer with an art exhibition of original works by Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall and Joan Miró.
Aman Sveti Stefan is part of the Aman Hotels and Resorts group, ranked number one in the Top Luxury Hotel Brands 2018 according to Luxury Travel Intelligence. And it’s not difficult to see why. With its pink sandy beaches, 15th-century island village, 1930s mainland estate and sublime Aman Spa, Aman Sveti Stefan is widely considered a masterpiece in the hotel industry. The resort’s one-of-a-kind art exhibition, running from 12th July – 8th September this year, will feature masterpieces of the more literal kind in a number of exquisite venues on the property.
More than 60 original lithographs by Picasso, Chagall and Miró will be on display in Villa Miločer on the mainland, in the Pasticceria and Cigar Room on the island’s piazza, and within Arva, the island’s elegant Italian restaurant.
“This is a unique opportunity for guests to experience the finest hospitality and resort experience alongside some of the most beautiful art of the last century,” Stathis proudly proclaims.
Titled “Art on the Island: Les Ateliers, Picasso, Chagrall, Miró”, the exhibition represents a world first in bringing together lithographs of these three fabled modern and surrealist artists. Works include Picasso’s intriguing ‘Deux Femmes’, Chagall’s poignant ‘Les Amoureux’ and Miró’s enigmatic ‘Le Lezard aux Plumes d’Or’ series.
Curated to complement the hotel space in which they are situated, the artworks will be on show to Aman Sveti Stefan guests alone, enhancing the already rarefied atmosphere of this exclusive destination. The resort was a favourite amongst members of the original 1950s jet set, such as Marilyn Monroe and Sophia Loren, and remains popular with celebrities today, having hosted tennis star Novak Djokovic a few years ago.
The hotel has just 58 rooms and suites, with staff outnumbering guests by a factor of three, so those staying can be guaranteed an up-close-and-personal viewing experience at the exhibition.
While diverse in style and subject, the lithographs were selected by curator Migena Hajdari to show common underlying themes in the work of the three artists.
The Picasso works in the exhibition illustrate topics dear to the artist, including his love interests, the Minotaur, bullfighting and politics. The Chagall works tell a personal and evocative story of a remarkable artistic career and his journey towards what poet Robert Marteau calls the “achievement of the innocence in painting”. The 13 Miró prints in the exhibition are some of the foremost examples of surrealism and Dadaism, displaying vivid colors, figures, animals, natural elements, dreams, fantasies and emotions.
“We are honoured to be hosting work of such quality and distinction and to offer our guests something truly special,” says Stathis. “This exhibition marks the continued journey of Montenegro and the Balkans to the highest level of excellence as a world class destination.”
Like his Aman Cavtat resort in neighbouring Croatia, which is currently under construction, restoring Sveti Stefan was part of Stathis’s long-term masterplan to get the Balkans back on the world stage. The countries have experienced a surge in tourism in recent years, fueled in no small part by high-end luxury experiences such as those offered by the Aman group.
“With Aman Sveti Stefan we set out to reignite a star that had faded,” he says, “and the art exhibition will celebrate a job well done.”