ART AND ANTIQUES enthusiasts and discriminating travelers are making tracks to the growing number of “boutique hotels” opening up across North America. From trendy and tasteful to intimate and impressive, boutique hotels pride themselves on offering luxurious accommodations, superior service and convenient historic locations.
Typically in the heart of the historic districts of major cities, boutique hotels have interesting architectural facades, prestigious histories, themed lobby interiors, meticulously appointed interior suites and restaurants decorated with fine art, antiques and collectibles related to the hotel’s region. More and more, these hotels are becoming showplaces for antiques and period art work, attracting lots of visitors.
Smaller than conventional hotels, boutique hotels have made a significant impact in the hospitality industry since the 1990s. While some remind visitors of historic homes or scaled-down mansion museums, many boutique hotels from Los Angeles to Boston are furnished in a manner consistent with the hotel’s architecture or landmark location. Boutique hotels such as Nashville’s Hotel Preston, The James in Chicago and Fifteen Beacon in Boston are some examples where art, history and design merge.
The famous Don Vicente Inn is a quintessential boutique hotel loaded with art and antiques in Ybor City, near Tampa, Fla. Ybor City was the largest cigar-manufacturing center by the early 20th century. Ybor City’s immigrant population consisted of Spanish, Italian and Cuban workers who produced cigars in some of the city’s 140 factories. Named for the city’s founder Don Vicente Martinez Ybor, the Don Vicente Inn was constructed in 1895 and has been lovingly restored. The Inn’s distinctively classical flair and tropical feel is evident from its bright white/pink stucco fašade and Spanish inspired balconies. The late 19th-century converted gas chandeliers, Victoriana furnishings complete with Tiffany lamps, coiffered ceilings and detailed wood paneling are only some of the southern European-inspired aspects that accessorize the Don Vicente Inn’s lobby.
The renewed interest in the objects associated with the Spanish revival is apparent in the world of art and antiques collecting. Many people collect objects of a particular region close to home or from a beloved, far-off travel locale. For snow birds visiting sunny Florida or homebodies living in the Sunshine state, objects from sights as diverse as Orlando’s DisneyWorld or Tampa’s cigar making center or Sarasota’s circus stronghold are superb collectibles locales with strength in the secondary antiques market.
With art and antiques in your dreams, a boutique hotel may be just the place to rest your head. These superb hotels attract visitors with artistic amenities such as four-poster beds and other period furnishings that keep art and antiques lovers coming back. No matter where you visit, boutique hotels remain true to an area’s flair for the historic and demonstrate a love for a region’s special art and antiques.