Selfridges, Liberty and recently John Lewis hold exhibitions; restaurants and cafes champion new talent and now hotels are getting in on the art act.
And one of the most forward thinking, inclusive and creative offerings is from the stylish InterContinental, which has recently undergone an eye-watering £76 million refurbishment.
Think of a Park Lane hotel and the image that immediately springs to mind is luxury and indulgence; tanned guests with piles of Louis Vuitton luggage and a concierge who can organize anything their hearts desire.
But the InterContinental ( which already has a special partnership with the Royal Academy ) as well as being all of these is now a showcase for both established and emerging art; has an artist in residence ( currently contemporary watercolourist Jeremy Houghton ) and offers Insider Culture packages.
The current exhibition in the hotel’s impressive lobby – where once there were blank walls - is a selection of graphic prints by Sir Terry Frost, which follows on from the stunning show by Bruce McLean. Anyone can walk in and have a look at the work, and buy prints and postcards from the attached shop ( which is also run by an artitst.)
Across the lobby, by the bar is Colourspace for Shoes bv Donald Smith. The artist has created a showcase with reflections and light, inside which are iconic Terry de Havilland shoes customised by artists from Chelsea Arts Club including Stella Vine, Brendan Neiland and Donald Smith. Soon, in this space, will be customised handbags… the ultimate in “It” bags.
In the Theo Randall restaurant two striking works by the artist commonly regarded as the father of British Pop Art, Sir Peter Blake, beautifully dominate the bar and private dining room.
And upstairs on the seventh floor guests can buy Jeremy Houghtons watercolours, and sign up for his guided art tours of London – an insider view of the London art scene. He’ll even give guests a studio tour and lead lessons on how to capture London’s landmarks on paper.
Why is the hotel doing all this? Because they’ve cleverly realized that London arts and culture is exciting and in-demand; and that people want to do more than scratch the surface.
Says the General Manager Roland Fasel “Our aspiration is to be ‘in the know’. Being ‘in the know’ means that through everything we do, we share with guests what makes the local culture where they are staying unique.”
And even if you’re not a guest, this hotel could soon be a centre for both art and indulgence. Now that’s a good combination.
Coriander and Ackerman present an exhibition of prints by Sir Terry Frost RA, InterContinental, One Hamilton Place, Park Lane, London, W1J 7QY, until 9th October, Admission – Free.
Room rates at the InterContinental London Park Lane start from £239 per night on a room-only basis, excluding VAT.
The Insider Culture package is £300 + VAT for up to two people. In addition to their time with Jeremy Houghton, guests will receive complimentary access to the Club InterContinental during their stay. www.intercontinental.com