Art Wayfinding

Belmond Hotels Is the Latest Luxury Destination To Bet Big on a Partnership With Contemporary Artists

Daniel Buren surveying his work. All images courtesy of Belmond.

What could make an Italian holiday even more enchanting than it already is? On top of the food, the wine, the Cyprus trees, and the decadent palazzi, luxury travel brand Belmond—and a host of other like-minded hotels—have added yet another enticing element to luxury European travel: contemporary art.

Although Belmond has incorporated art into its properties for years, 2024 marks the first time the brand invited one artist to create new works at a host of its hotels worldwide. This spring, the brand is unveiling six works created by the 85-year-old French artist Daniel Buren at properties in Cape Town, Rio de Janeiro, Florence, Venice and Mallorca. Each one pulls from the visual language that has defined Buren's storied career—solid colors and striped motifs—but is uniquely tailored to its context.


At Villa San Michele in Florence, the artist replaced the ceiling of the hotel's central vestibule with a series of vibrant glass panels arranged in the alphabetical order based on each color's name in Italian. During the day, the colors shift with the passing of the sun, turning the space into a veritable kaleidoscope. “The basis for the project was the original architecture of Villa San Michele,” Buren said.

Meanwhile, the work at Castello Di Casole—a 10th century complex about an hour south of Florence taken over by film director Luchino Visconti in the 1950s—takes the form of three portals (a circle, a square, and a triangle) rendered in Buren's calling-card stripes. Each one frames a view of the landcape, which includes a nearby natural reserve filled with birds, wild boars, and the occassional Tuscan wolf. 

Galleria Continua co-founder Lorenzo Fiaschi and Buren.

The series with Buren marks the third edition of Mitico, a collaboration between Belmond and San Gimignano-based contemporary art gallery Galleria Continua. The brainchild of gallery co-founder Lorenzo Fiaschi and Belmond’s Arnaud Champenois, the program set out to animate the brand’s properties with site-specific contemporary art. “When we opened our gallery 34 years ago, it was our mission to bring beauty to the world,” said Fiaschi. “And I think bringing contemporary art to places like this is one of those ways.” Previous projects include the installation of a sculpture by Arcangelo Sassolino at La Residencia in Mallorca and a Subodh Gupta home out of pots and pans at Hotel Cipriani in Venice.


Long-term partnerships with contemporary art galleries are becoming more and more common for luxury hotels, particularly in Italy. Recently, the Hotel Rhinoceros in Rome, owned by Alda Fendi of the famous fashion family, partnered with Paris’s Galerie Kreo on its long-running Jean Nouvel-designed in-house gallery. The first collaborative exhibition, of the work of French designer and artist Ronan Bouroullec, showed new work in ceramic alongside his beloved line drawings. Some hotels are even snapping up curators. Monteverdi Tuscany in Val D’Orcia recently opened a new gallery space under the guidance of Sarah McCrory, the director of Goldsmiths Center for Contemporary Art in London.

It’s rare for an artist—even one of Buren’s towering stature—to be able to see their vision play out on a global scale. And it's even more rare for their work to be experienced by a large audience outside the context of a museum, gallery, or collector's home. The only cost of admission? An Italian holiday.