Luxury Hotels

Art attracts

See above (image David Parry © Royal Academy of Arts, London).  This is Antony Gormley’s Lost Horizon I, 2008.  Each of the 24 cast-iron bodyforms is 189 x 53 x 29 cm.  The show, lead supporter BNP Paribas, was on, physically, at the end of 2019 but find it and other Royal Academy specials virtually at royalacademy.org.uk  Coming up, by the way, are outstandingly tempting shows, really: Tracey Emin and Edvard Munch starts 2nd December 2020, and David Hockney 27th March 2021 (Girlahead ignores an intervening show by Francis B whose works should, frankly, be sandwiched between two slices of soft white-bread toast and eaten as a breakfast sandwich).

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Girlahead started thinking of art in hotels. In New Delhi, nothing beats the 19th-century Anglo-Indian collection at The Imperial.  A full-time curator lovingly cares for well over 6,000 paintings by officers and the families, many escaping the city’s heat by escaping to the hill country. There are also fascinating photos: Art Deco suite #268, for instance, has black-and-white images of Lord and Lady Curzon arriving on elephant for the 1903 Coronation Durbar, plus, from the same event, the marvellously bejewelled and beturbanned HH Thakur Saheb of Limbdi KCIE. Downstairs, in Daniell’s Tavern, there are paintings by artists Thomas Daniell 1749-1840 and his nephew William.

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In Europe, have ‘afternoon tea with Tiepolo’, sitting under the priceless giant paintings in the lobby of the privately-owned Rome Cavalieri Waldorf Astoria. Drive two hours from Munich for a memorable art tour as you overnight at Schloss Fuschl, a Luxury Collection treasure 20kms from Salzburg (the 170-plus Old Masters were collected by the late Stefan Schörghuber and his family, and curated by Konrad Bernheimer). In England, head for Heckfield Place, where the myriad of experiences include an art collection assembled by Morningside Group, owners of this sprawling country-house retreat set in 162ha of epitomal traditional landscape with, miraculously, not another building in sight.

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Forward to the 21st century, and let us finish in Hong Kong.  There, Girlahead’s immediate highlight is the sculpture at, and especially outside, The Murray, a Nicolo Hotel. See here a favourite piece on an outside terrace looking down over Cotton Tree Drive. This shapeless shape, if that is not an oxymoron, is a glitter stainless sculpture by the President of the Hong Kong Sculpture Society, Mok Yat San, born in Guangdong in 1968.

The Murray, a Niccolo Hotel that has just become a member of Leading Hotels of the World, is a treasure in the Wharf Hotels’ portfolio.  In case you missed it, listen, below, to Wharf Hotels’ boss, Dr Jennifer Cronin, on the 15-minute MARY GOSTELOW GIRLAHEAD PODCAST, below.