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7 of the best art trips

Villa La Coste, France

If Frieze London has left you hungry for further art-inspired beauty, why not surround yourself with world-famous paintings and eye-opening exhibitions at these global creative hotspots? By CATHERINE FAIRWEATHER

Lifestyle

VILLA LA COSTE Provence, France

Villa la Coste is the hotel within the 600 acres of Chateau la Coste, a vineyard and contemporary art and cultural centre that includes a pavilion by Frank Gehry for summer concerts, a Renzo Piano exhibition space and an art center by Tadao Ando. Installations by a range of artists – from Louise Bourgeois and Alexander Calder to Hiroshi Sugimoto – sit serenely like meditation aids in this epic, ancient landscape of vineyards and lavender fields. In the hotel itself, museum-quality art adorns otherwise minimalist spaces in the rooms, restaurant and bar. Outside is a pool surrounded by cypress trees, while the on-site spa uses local, 100% natural and organic ingredients for mud wraps and balancing massages. villalacoste.com

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MINIMAL LUXURY
Each room at Setouchi Retreat Aonagi occupies a whole floor, giving guests space and privacy

SETOUCHI RETREAT AONAGI Matsuyama, Japan

A lofty, modern structure containing just seven suites, Setouchi Retreat Aonagi is a sensational hideaway, an art installation and an architectural wonder. Built high on a forested mountain overlooking the islands of the Seto Inland Sea, the double-towered building was designed by the great Pritzker Prize-winning architect Tadao Ando. Staying here is all about experiencing the beauty and drama of the ever-changing ocean light through the prism of the surrounding bodies of water: sea, pools and waterfalls. The light bounces off the glass and concrete structure, giving it the fluidity that is a signature of Ando’s work. Inspired by the architect’s brilliant Chichu Art Museum on the nearby art island of Naoshima, Aonagi, a few hours’ drive away, is the obvious next port of call. Works by artists such as Reiko Kawabe and Frank Stella, for instance, hang in the library above the jade-colored pool table and give Aonagi its unique identity. Book with remotelands.com

NORTHERN EXPOSURE
This ’50s concrete box is the unlikely home of some truly cutting-edge artworks – and the breathtaking views from its windows are finer still

KAVIARFACTORY Lofoten Islands, Norway

Tucked inside the Arctic circle in this rugged community of cod fishermen, you wouldn’t expect to find Caribbean-like white-sand beaches or cutting-edge art collections. KaviarFactory is a private museum of edgy and provocative contemporary art housed in a gleaming cube squatting on the waterfront of the picturesque town of Henningsvaer. Close to part of the Skulpturlandskap Nordland project and art trail, which links artists’ installations in outstanding wild location across Nordland County, this former factory was built in the 1950s and is all poured concrete, industrial features and glass floors. It’s also the home of Venke and Rolf Hoff’s provocative contemporary-art collection and an exhibition space. Bespoke dinners can be organised in the private appartment on the top floor and in the couple’s nearby picture-book-gorgeous restored lighthouse, while a charming wooden boathouse plus sauna, used to house artists-in-residence, is available to rent on request. No artwork can truthfully compete with the views, however – both from the lighthouse and framed in the floor-to-ceiling windows of KaviarFactory, looking out over the fishing boats, mercurial skies, pewter seas and jagged teeth of the snow-capped mountains beyond. Book with pelorusx.com

THE FIFE ARMS Braemar, Scotland

Nestling in the Cairngorms National Park beside a river that rattles around giant rocks and ancient forest, The Fife Arms is a multi-gabled granite pile that has served as an inn for locals and travelers since the 19th century. The hotel was recently overhauled by new owners Manuela and Iwan Wirth of art dealers Hauser & Wirth, who lease a large estate nearby and are passionate about this corner of Scotland. Each room is individually decorated with antiques, artworks and curiosities that were obsessively sourced by the Wirths and interior designer Russell Sage, including a watercolor of a stag’s head by Queen Victoria and a dramatic mahogany and pine chimneypiece carved with scenes from the work of poet Robert Burns. Tartan and tweed furnishings sit well beneath a Picasso, and exuberant chandeliers by Subodh Gupta and others. There’s an artist-in-residence program that has produced a poetic guide to the Cairngorms by Alec Finlay, a gallery of drawings of Braemar’s residents, the hotel’s striking coat of arms and the logo for The Flying Stag, the pub that is the beating heart and soul of the place. thefifearms.com

GREAT SCOT
Antiques, artworks and curiosities are the order of the day at The Fife Arms – there’s even a watercolor by Queen Victoria herself

INHOTIM, Brazil

The most exciting, if not controversial, open-air art museum in South America is Inhotim, with its grand botanical gardens, forest and lakeland several times the size of Central Park. Scattered throughout is an extensive collection of artwork and installations from artists such as Matthew Barney, Yayoi Kusama and Olafur Eliasson, amongst others. These are artists who explore the spatial relations and harmony between art and nature, an aspect of their work rendered more poignant by the fact that this land has been plundered and exploited for its riches for centuries. Ouro Preto is a picturesque university town under a two-hour drive away, where you can stay at Solar Do Carmo, a guesthouse owned by Marcia Litchfield, the Anglo-Brazilian former editor of Vogue Portugal. Her 18th-century townhouse has a garden with views over the city and offers homemade cakes for breakfast. Litchfield holds the keys (literally) to many of the essential cultural happenings in the area, with private access to the home of the late poet Elizaeth Bishop and the opera house nearby. Book with i-escape.com

45 PARK LANE, London

Park-side hotel 45 Park Lane is a cultured and cultural haven, with artworks including Damien Hirsts hanging on the walls and complimentary bikes on which to explore Hyde Park and head to the nearby Serpentine Galleries. There is also an ever-rotating line-up of exhibitions in the hotel lobby: as part of the ‘Emerging Artists’ art series with Ackerman Studios, guests have the chance to see rare single editions from sold-out print runs, as well as purchase one-off pieces. dorchestercollection.com

PARK PERFECTION
An ever-rotating selection of covetable artworks awaits at 45 Park Lane
CULTURAL CREDENTIALS
A stay at New York’s Peninsula also offers after-hours tours and last-minute tickets to galleries and art events

THE PENINSULA, New York

The Peninsula hotel group has its finger on the pulse of city life worldwide, with exclusive access to a wide variety of art happenings and shows, but its New York property really wows with its major cultural credentials. The hotel is currently hosting an exhibition entitled Home, which honors the notions of home, identity and community, and features a curated selection of original works by artists including Do Ho Suh, Catherine Opie, Angel Otero, Ashley Bickerton and Heidi Bucher, among others. And when Frieze comes to town (at the beginning of May), the Peninsula can track down last-minute passes for guests, not to mention offering the services of its illustrious Peninsula Academy and slick concierge, who can even arrange after-hour tours at the Museum of Modern Art and the Frick Collection on a whim. peninsula.com

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