A flamboyant 18th-century style reigns supreme at this hotel on the Tolentini Canal, with brocades and damask by Rubelli (silk producer since 1858) and chic Fortuny lamps. A 20-minute walk from La Serenissima’s main tourist sights, the spectacular Papadopoli offers unique views from its small or spacious terraces. Venice attracted Corto Maltese, who occupies shelf space in the Salotto Veneziano café-bar bookcase and gave his name to a room and a cocktail. At MGallery hotels, culture and its stories provide a glimpse into a different world for curious souls. In the 19th century, Count Papadopoli built this palace as a summer residence in Santa Croce and had Francesco Bagnara (a stage designer at La Fenice) design its park. There were exotic plants, and an aviary with pheasants and parrots. The birds inspired the new decor at the Giardino d’Inverno, chef Alessandro Lanza’s restaurant. Today the park is somewhat smaller and offers children a playground.
Giardini Papadopoli, Santa Croce, 245. Tél. +39 (0)41 710 400.www.mgallery.com
Pullman Brussels Centre Midi
The Brussels Pullman has opened its doors to contemporary artists. The first is Dutch painter Bas van den Hurk, who is displaying ten mobile silk panels in the lobby. The idea is to blur the boundaries between conventional spacesmuseums, galleries, trade fairsand everyday places. The painter uses a variety of media, and sees his work as a dialogue with a broad audience. In this, he embodies a major trend in contemporary art, one also explored by Daniel Buren, among others.
Centre Midi Place Victor-Horta, I. Tél. +32 252 89 800.www.pullmanhotels.com
The location (100 meters from Piazza Navona) alone could suffice, as could the vast suites with their rough walls. But the G-Rough loves Rome so much, it takes things further, going one step beyond tourist convention: discover Caravaggio’s works with your own personal guide, explore the backstreets with a storyteller, or spend a day with a designer at the Costume and Fashion Academy and create your dream handbag. And head home with a unique creation in Italian leather on your shoulder.
Piazza di Pasquino, 69. Tél. +39 (0)6 68 801 085.www.g-rough.fr
Have you ever seen a work exhibited in an unusual place (a chapel, a palace, a deserted dock) and found the setting just perfect? That it revealed the work in a new light now it was no longer in a museum? This is just what happens when you enter this 16th-century farmhouse bathed in the light of the Gard in southern France. Pierre Beghin and Benoît Hérault have hung the walls with great names in contemporary art. Photographs by David LaChapelle, Erwin Olaf and Georges Rousse, and canvases by Pierre Soulages and Lee Bae (above) harmonize beautifully with the light-colored stone of Uzès, lending their names to the eight rooms and suites. A stopover for aesthetes, complete with spa, a lush garden and an epicurean restaurant.
Chemin de la Lauze. Tél. +33 (0)4 66 03 13 81.www.lartemise.com
Hotell Utter Inn
Captain Nemo’s Nautilus may be more comfortable, especially in its staged version this winter at the Comédie-Française. And the latter’s sea creatures are every bit as good as the ones with scales and bones here in Lake Mälaren, Västerås. Three meters beneath this tiny Swedish hut (Mikael Genberg’s artistic yet spartan creation), the portholes of the 6 m2 room let curious fish peer in at the guestssince fishing from the deck is prohibited! One promising detail: utter means “otter” in Swedish.
Hotell utter inn Lac
Mälaren, Västerås. Tél. +46 21 39 01 00.www.visitvasteras.se/en
Sleep in a creation by one of Britain’s greatest sculptors, in the heart of Mayfair. Antony Gormley was given carte blanche when this 1926 building was being converted into a hotel. Using his own body as a reference, as he frequently does (subject, tool and material all at once), Gormley envisioned a seated man with his head resting on his forearms. Some 8 meters above the raised Brown Hart Gardens, steel cubes are stacked 10 meters high. Nestled within them is Gormley’s ROOM, a bedroom clad in fumed oak, accessed via a flight of white marble steps, theatrically separated by a black velvet curtain. The high window offers only a view of the London sky. The other rooms in the suite are housed in the main building, decorated in Art Deco style and featuring some 1,500 patiently collected artworks. Beneath the cubes is The Cub Room, the bar reserved for guests. A vision of geometry in a corner of Mayfair.