March 21st, 2012
Images courtesy of Departures.com. From left to right, Peggy Guggenheim Collection, MALBA, and the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art.
Love art, but hate the long lines and the crowds of tour groups that are inevitably at every major art museum? What’s a true art aficionado to do? Well, this recent article in Departures gives the best advice – skip the marquee museums and seek out some of the world’s most fabulous privately owned art museums.
Experience true luxury – pair a visit to one of these privately owned collections with a stay in an ultra-luxe hotel. By the end of your trip, you’ll feel like royalty.
For the 20th Century Latin American art-aficionados, take a trip to South America’s most popular city, Buenos Aires, Argentina, to visit the Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires. MALBA’s permanent collection showcases towering figures of the Latin American art world such as Diego Rivera, Antonio Berni and Frida Kahlo. Currently, its temporary collection, “Bye Bye American Pie”, features works from artists like Nan Goldin, Larry Clark and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Get pampered like Argentinean royalty while staying at the Park Hyatt Buenos Aires – your personal butler will make sure of it.
For the contemporary art enthusiasts, a trip to the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing, China is in order. Due to the global spotlight on artists like Ai Weiwei, China has transformed into a hotbed of new galleries and museums. Featuring works by China’s most celebrated contemporary artists, this world- class collection, founded by Belgian collectors Guy and Myriam Ullens, strives to fosters a “dialogue between China and the rest of the world”. Housed in a jaw-droppingly fabulous 1950s Bauhaus factory complex, architecture aficionados will be equally impressed. Part of the tallest skyscraper on Chang’an Avenue and a symbol of the new China, the luxurious Park Hyatt Beijing is the perfect home-away-from-home for the most discriminating aficionados.
Perhaps our favorite private art museum, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, is the perfect way to spend a few hours in the port of Venice while sailing with Crystal Cruises. Housed in the former home of lifelong gallerist, art patron and collector Peggy Guggenheim, the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni islocated right on Venice’s Grand Cana land is a work of art itself. Its classical triple arched facade decorated with stone lion’s heads and charming alfresco sculpture garden pay tribute to this romantic city. This private museum features works by the luminaries of the 20th century, including Georges Braque, Piet Mondrian, Robert Motherwell, and Jackson Pollock. In addition to Peggy’s personal collection, the museum also houses works bestowed by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation.
October 19th, 2011
La Réserve Paris
La Réserve Paris sits in the heart of the city at Place de Trocadéro, letting visitors live like a Parisian – and a chic one at that. The stylishly furnished apartments provide all guests the comforts of home, with a view only available in Paris – the Eiffel Tower cuts the sky and behind it is a backdrop of the green Champs de Mars, often speckled with picnickers.
RATES: start at 2,590 euros per night (about $3,564) for a minimum stay of 3 nights.
Le Pavillon des Lettres
The penthouse suites at the new Pavillon des Lettres are a dream for bibliophiles. Each of the hotel’s 26 rooms is dedicated to a letter of the alphabet and a corresponding author. The two penthouse suites, Yeats and Zola, have beautiful views of the Eiffel Tower, the Grand Palais, and Paris rooftops. Gaze out at the lights on the Eiffel Tower while reading Zola’s Nana from the room’s iPad – stocked with novels in several languages – or scan Yeats’ The Wind Among the Reeds that is printed on the wall.
RATES: start at 250 euros per night (about $347).
Victoria-Jungfrau Collection – Palace Luzern
Founded in 1906, the Palace Luzern epitomizes the height of Belle Époque elegance. While embracing the style of a true palace hotel, numerous renovations have brought the hotel into the 21st century with a fresh, modern aesthetic. Overlooking Lake Lucerne, it offers a unique combination of Alpine scenery and proximity to the center of Lucerne, which is host to renowned music festivals, world-class museums, and many charming boutiques. Sailing, golf, and skiing are all available nearby.
RATES: start at $308 for a City View Double Room.
Uma Paro is in the extraordinary Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, sitting atop a tree-lined hill on 38 acres overlooking the town of Paro in the valley below. Situated on the country’s western border, the Paro Valley is one of the main cultural centers of Bhutan. Simply relax and gaze out at the unbelievable view, or join one of Uma Paro’s activities such as hiking or biking to the nearby monasteries or exploring the country through the lens of a camera.
RATES: start at $ 330 through December 31, 2011.
Park Hyatt Shanghai
Located in one of the world’s tallest buildings, a bathing experience at the Park Hyatt Shanghai is far from ordinary. Even with the heated floors in the bathroom, you’ll shiver at the thrill as you glance down at the breathtaking city from a window-side deep soaking tub. For the faint of heart, there is always the oversized monsoon rain shower, not a bad trade.
RATES: start at $391 for a Park King room.
Park Hyatt Beijing
Park Hyatt Beijing illuminates the city skyline as a new landmark. Directly opposite the China World Trade Center and the striking new CCTV Tower, the hotel occupies the uppermost floors in the main tower of the Beijing Yintai Center — the tallest development on prestigious Chang’an Avenue in the heart of the capital’s Central Business District. The interiors of Park Hyatt Beijing have been inspired by classical Suzhou architecture and water gardens, and the hotel incorporates these Oriental aesthetics into a sleek, contemporary design.
RATES: start at $288 for a Park King Room.
Park Hyatt Sydney
The iconic Park Hyatt Sydney will reopen in late 2011 after a seven month makeover and complete redesign. Located in the Rocks district of Sydney’s city center, the hotel has been reimagined by Melbourne-based design firm BARStudio. All rooms are being completely redesigned to enhance the guest experience and highlight the hotel’s harborfront location. Views of Sydney Harbor and the Opera House take on new meaning with a series of floor-to-ceiling windows throughout almost all areas of the property, including in The Dining Room, the hotel’s premier restaurant, completing the large-scale redesign.
RATES: opening rates starting at $871 for a City/Harbour King Room.
Shakti 360˚ Leti
U.S. Toll-free: 1 877 637 5665
At 8,000 feet in elevation surrounded by soaring peaks of the snowcapped Indian Himalayas, Shakti 360˚ Leti has some of the best views in India. Each of the four en-suite cabins and the central lodge of this high elevation hotel have floor to ceiling windows, which means the views of the peaks and, in spring, the rhododendrons in full bloom, never disappear. Described as “a contender for the world’s most remote luxury resort,” Shakti 360˚ Leti can be visited as an extension from the Shakti Kumaon Village Experience, or as its own destination. Accessible by car or charter flight from Delhi, the fun getting there really begins with the hour-long trek into the hills. But once you’re there, you won’t want to leave… Forget your Blackberry, power down your iPhone, disconnect, and just breathe in the fresh mountain air while listening to the silence that surrounds you.
Season: October 1 – May 1
RATES: 3-night, 4-day package starts at $1,916 per person, double occupancy. Rates include accommodations; all meals and beverages; activities; English speaking guide and porters; a car at your disposal, and all taxes and return transfers between Shakti Kumaon Village Experience and Shakti 360˚ Leti. Flights are not included. Minimum of a 3-night stay required.
Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara
Liwa Desert, Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.
In the heart of the Liwa Desert just ninety minutes from Abu Dhabi International Airport is Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara, the newly built 206-room resort surrounded entirely by legendary red sand dunes. The Liwa is part of the Rub’-al-Khali, or Empty Quarter, the world’s largest uninterrupted desert. Built right into the sand, the resort is modeled after an ancient Emirati fort that rises out of the desert and evokes the rich culture of the Bedouins, the indigenous tribes people who roamed the desert for centuries. Get away not only from your everyday life, but this century altogether!
The rooms and suites spill off the main lodge like little villages, and all have stunning views of the ocher dunes of the Liwa. Hundreds of museum-caliber artifacts are on display throughout the hotel to provide more feasts for the eye, including the world’s largest collection of camel saddlebags used in desert crossings by the Bedouins throughout Arabia. Offering all the comforts of modern luxury in a superbly unique setting, Qasr Al Sarab is more than just a luxury hotel; it is a window into the history and culture of a nation.
RATES: start at 2,100 AED from October 1-November 30, 2011, and at 1,900 AED from December 1, 2011-January 31, 2012.