Whether the MoMA, Louvre or Smithsonian, museums top many travelers’ itineraries. You don’t always have to leave your accommodation to witness art and artifacts, however. This week’s Bucket List brings you seven hotels with onsite museums. There’s an art-filled option in Denver, as well as a resorts with Civil War artifacts in Georgia and Peten and Mayan relics in Guatemala.
Paste Travel’s Bucket List columnist Lauren Kilberg is a Chicago-based freelance writer. Her travels have found her camping near the Pakistani border of India and conquering volcanoes in the Philippines.
1 of 7
QT Museum Wellington is a design-driven hotel that is delightfully quirky and creative. Its tagline is "art, design, curiosities and a dash of the absurd" and that motif plays out around every corner. The hotel's walls display a collection of curated works self-described as both high and low-brow art and the furniture and decor look like they cam straight from the pages of Alice in Wonderland. The rooms beg you to "unleash your inner art critic" as they too are bursting with color and texture. At Hippopotamus, the hotel's French-inspired restaurant, guests can enjoy an impressive menu in an eclectic setting backed by expansive windows looking out over New Zealand's capital.
Photo by Courtesy QT Museum Wellington
2 of 7
The JW Marriott El Convento Cusco stands on the ruins of a 16th-century convent that underwent an 8-year excavation and construction period before opening in 2012. Through the meticulous restoration the hotel maintained parts of the original colonial arches and pre-Inca walls like in the Imperial Suite, which features an exposed original colonial wall from the convent's chapel. Beyond this, the JW Marriott El Convento Cusco offers additional archeological exhibits throughout some it is spaces like the basement and impeccably restored lobby. The hotel also manages to incorporate modern touches like the 70,000-crystal Swarovski lamp that hangs behind the reception desk as an homage to the Inca sun god.
Photo Courtesy JW Marriott El Convento Cusco
3 of 7
Denver's swanky the ART features not one, but two gallery spaces packed with art. The Portico Gallery features works selected by Denver Art Museum curator Dianne Vanderli, while the Welcome Gallery offers a check-in experience surrounded by a variety of works by the likes of Nancy Rubins, Ed Ruscha, Kiki Smith, Deborah Butterfield and more. Beyond these dedicated spaces, artwork fills the hallways, guest rooms and lobby walls of the hotel. The latter features an installation by Leo Villareal comprised of 22,0000 lights, which simultaneously welcomes and mesmerizes guests upon their arrival. At FIRE, the hotel's restaurant, lounge and terrace, kinetic sculptures and additional works of art aren't the only masterpieces on display. The food, drinks and mountain views are masterpieces as well.
Photo by Courtesy the ART
4 of 7
The 21c Museum Hotel group has seven locations across the U.S. including Cincinnati, Durham, Nashville (pictured) and Oklahoma City. "For more than 10 years now, the 21c Museum Hotel experience has seamlessly blended art and hospitality," says its website. This boutique hotel meets contemporary art museum was created by art collectors Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson with the opening of its first location in Louisville. Each location features thousands of square feet of exhibition space with rotating contemporary art exhibits, as well as chef-driven restaurants, spas and more.
Photo Courtesy 21c Museum Hotel
5 of 7
The 19-bungalow Las Lagunas Boutique Hotel in Peten, Guatemala is just a skip from the ruins of Tikal, Uaxactun and Yaxha. Despite its proximity to these famous archeological wonders, you hardly have to leave your bungalow to witness artifacts of the region. The hotel is home to a recently-opened museum, the first of its kind in the region. Just more than 900 square feet are dedicated to Peten and Mayan history and culture and feature a rotating exhibit of 1,000 artifacts dating back to between 450 BC and 900 AD. Guests of the hotel have unlimited access to the museum, while non-guests can visit for $5 USD.
Photo by Courtesy Las Lagunas Boutique Hotel
6 of 7
Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains outside Atlanta you'll find the 3,000-acre Barnsley Resort. The entire property was once owned by Godfrey Barnsley, a 19-century British-American cotton broker and shipping mogul who bought the property for his wife in the 1840s. Before construction of the Southern country estate was complete, his wife passed away. Eventually, Barnsley completed the Italianate villa and its grand gardens in her honor. Today the sprawling resort stays true to its roots with an onsite museum, which features Barnsley family personal belongings and Civil War artifacts. Beyond its historical attractions, Barnsley Resort offers guests a variety of activities like golf, clay shooting, hiking trials, a spa and more.
Photo by Courtesy Barnsley Resort
7 of 7
As much as it's a hotel, the W Minneapolis - The Foshay is also equal parts history and art museum located in downtown Minneapolis in Minnesota's first skyscraper. The 30-story Foshay Tower, which the hotel is named after, was built in 1929. Today, the in-hotel museum chronicles the building's history through a variety of artifacts like newspaper clippings, blueprints, photographs, audio recordings and more. Beyond the history, this art deco-inspired hotel is bursting with color and itself is a work of art from floor to ceiling. The Foshay also happens to be home to an open-air observation deck, the only of its kind in the city. If you're not a guest of the hotel, you can still tour the museum and visit the observation deck for a small fee.
Photo Courtesy W Minneapolis - The Foshay