Where Do Hotels Get The Art for Their Guests’ Rooms?

by SharonKurheg

When you’ve stayed at hotels, you’ve undoubtedly noticed the art on the walls. Some of it may be nice, but sometimes it’s, well, sometimes it’s pretty ugly. Like this one from a Super 8:

a painting of deer in a snowy forestSometimes the art simply makes no sense whatsoever. This one was discovered in a Marriott in Canada:

a screen shot of wordsWhere DO they get their art?

Where hotels get their art, and what type of art it is, all depends on the hotel.

High-end branded hotels

If the hotel is a higher-end brand, such as Park Hyatt or Conrad Hotels & Resorts, they typically have to do what Corporate tells them to do. Design personnel on a corporate level are meticulously specific about property amenities, layouts, fixtures and, yes, artwork. They want each of these hotels to have a specific “look.” So the property is often given a purchasing package with preferred vendors. They’re often even told specifically which artwork to purchase via item number.

The guestroom artwork will most likely vary from hotel to hotel. So the Park Hyatt Washington D.C.’s artwork, which includes black and white photos of cherry blossoms, is very different from that of the Park Hyatt in NYC – but those two hotels have very different “feels” that were developed by Corporate.

Mid-level branded hotels

Mid-level hotels owned by the “big brands” are known to be similar from one hotel to another. If you’ve stayed at one Hampton Inn, chances are a good part of it is going to look a lot like all the other Hampton Inns.

However, the management of those hotels has a little (teeny tiny little) more freedom than the higher-end hotels. Corporate still tells them what style of artwork to look for, and all artwork packages must be submitted to the design team for review and approval prior to purchase. But at least they’re not told to buy 330 of “this photo, in this type of frame,” for all 330 rooms.

Lower-end branded hotels

When you’re staying at a lower-end hotel, the art isn’t as much of a priority. Managers of Motel 6, Super 8, etc., are able to find art more cheaply, and on their own. If the hotel used to be another brand of hotel and the artwork is still in the rooms, it may even be upcycled to the “new” hotel.

But if “new” art is needed, there are companies out there that have the sole purpose of mass-producing art. Prices will vary based on the medium and, of course, the number of pieces.

These hotels may also consider local artists, who may be willing to sell at a lower price point.

“Local” and one-off hotels

If you’re staying at a local hotel – say, a place that’s family-owned, or one that’s one-of-a-kind and got bought out by one of the larger brands to become part of, let’s say, Marriott’s Autograph Collection, Hyatt’s Unbound Collection or Hilton’s Curio Collection, chances are the artwork is going to be as individualized as the hotel.

These are the hotels that work with local artists who are able to get their art – painting, photography, etc. – mass produced. So a hotel in NYC might have artistic photos of the Brooklyn Bridge or Times Square in each of the rooms. A family-owned hotel in Southern California that has 60 rooms may commission a local artist to make framed works of local attractions and sites. And there’s more than one hotel in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, Tennessee, that has artwork of bears all over the property.

Perhaps not so much in the rooms as throughout the hotel, but when we stayed at the Hyatt Place St. Paul, I was impressed with how they used salvaged pieces of the building (it had previously been the Customs House) as artwork.

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1 comment

Alex June 6, 2024 - 4:00 pm

Where you got this info?
The high end properties mostly have the ugliest and cheapest art – you can see much better at any given city festivals.
It’s just puzzling…


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