Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Montreal Hotel Goes Pop!

I like the idea of an Art Hotel, though obviously it has the potential to be pretentious.

If done well, however, the display of art can create something memorably different from the many generic hotels out there. It also provides a benefit to locals, who can enjoy the exhibits in the public areas of the hotel.

I've just stayed in an impressive example of this concept, LHotel (pronounced "lotel") in Montreal, Canada.

It's housed within a grand 19th century bank building on Rue Saint-Jacques. This street was once the epicentre of Canada's financial system, and so is lined with vast neoclassical temples to banking glory.

The banks have long departed the street, leaving numerous high-ceilinged buildings perfect for upmarket hotels.

The point of difference at LHotel is its owner Georges Marciano, former co-owner and designer of fashion company Guess. A serious collector of pop art and other modern art, Marciano has decked out the hotel with a large number of works from his collection.

Here's a random sample of what I spotted during my stay.

This first pic is of the lounge next to the bar. Beyond the compacted metal piece in the foreground is a giant glowing figure and a portrait of Marciano on the wall:

Here's a famous Andy Warhol piece above the ground floor lift door, based on a photo taken by Neil Armstrong on the moon:

Just opposite is this curious arrangement of works, the right-hand piece by Miro. Is that Ronad Reagan in the ad on the left, by the way? Looks like him:

There was a lesser-known Warhol next to the lift on my floor:

And this was the corridor outside my room:

Finally here's the hotel illuminated at night, seen as I returned from the direction of Places d'Armes after attending an outdoor electronic music event on Île Sainte-Hélène in the St Lawrence River (as you do).

It was taken with the aid of the handy Glif tripod stand for the iPhone, which holds the phone steady and connects to a compact tripod (and this mention is not an ad by the way, I bought my own Glif and recommend it!).

LHotel is well worth dropping into for a drink, even if you're not staying overnight, just to ogle the surprisingly accessible collection.

And as the man said, all you need is

Disclosure time: On this trip I was hosted by Tourisme Montréal and the Canadian Tourism Commission.