Arts + Culture

Art Hotels

by Mark Ellwood

TOO COOL FOR (ART) SCHOOL

Where: Hotel des Arts, San Francisco

The draw: Rooms that double as micro galleries (and on a micro budget, too)

The scene: Sketch-happy backpackers and cost-conscious art freaks

Picture this: Debuting just three years ago, this bargain spot close to Union Square is a true hybrid of art gallery and hotel: Its very rooms were turned over to emerging local and international artists to renovate as they saw fit. Each has a few common elements (queen bed, TV, microwave, free Wi-Fi, and dorm-style fridge), but otherwise the decor is rather unpredictable. L.A.-based graffiti artist Buff Monster commandeered No. 303 and transformed it with his bright pink, anime-influenced wall art, while Mexican muralist Jet Martinez's gilded landscape, pictured, looks a bit like a whimsical set for Where the Wild Things Are. Anthony Skirvin's installation in 307 is (oddly) one of the most requested: The cluttered, mad scientist–style trinkets turn it from a hotel room into a junk shop with a bed. Of course, if you get a yen to take something home, there's art for sale in the corridors. One caveat: The service is reliably surly, but that only serves to underscore the hotel's art world aura.

Hotel des Arts
Tel: 415 956 3232
Doubles from $109

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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