Story by Waheeda Harris
Vacay.ca Senior Writer
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA — For a historic hotel, there are many stories that reveal its past. At the Rosewood Hotel Georgia, it’s home to one of the newest modern art collections reflecting the contemporary Canadian art world.
As the venerable hotel celebrates its one-year reopening anniversary in downtown Vancouver this summer, the Rosewood Hotel Georgia has received many accolades for its luxe rooms and service as well for Hawksworth Restaurant, Bel Café and Reflections. For art lovers, the hotel’s collection of contemporary Canadian art is another draw that lures locals and guests.
Working with Vancouver-based art consultants Farmboy Fine Arts, the hotel’s collection of modern art is a celebration of the Canadian art scene and a complement to the unique mix of elegant décor seen throughout the property. As the hotel’s transformation took shape under the direction of Munge Leung, the Hotel Georgia and Farmboy Fine Arts collaborated on putting together the private collection for owners Hotel Georgia Dev. Limited, which features 31 pieces of art.
Todd Towers, president of Farmboy Fine Arts, has seen the change within the hotel industry towards art that is more than a pretty image on a blank wall. “Hotel lobbies are social areas, and smart developers know they’re extending their brand with their choices of art in public spaces,” explained Towers.
For Farmboy Fine Arts, who have worked with major hotel brands such as Fairmont, Four Seasons, W Hotels, Hyatt, Kimpton and Marriott, it was an added benefit to work with the Rosewood Hotel Georgia, since both are based in Vancouver. “Knowing we’re in our own backyard, it was a pleasure to create a visual story of Vancouver for the hotel. The collection is almost exclusively Canadian artists, with a focus on western Canadian art,” says Towers.
And for those in Vancouver, it’s not just hotel guests who benefit. Anyone is welcome to come see the hotel’s art collection, which is mainly found on the main and second floors. The concierge offers a detailed list of the paintings, glass pieces, photographs and sculptures to use as reference when exploring.
The collection starts at the hotel entrances with metal sculptures by David Robinson — and then leads to pieces by well-known names such as Jack Shadbolt, Douglas Coupland, Karin Bubas, Guido Molinari and Takao Tanabe as well as rising stars such as Ray Natraoro, Sonny Assu and Mark Mullin.
One of the favourites of the hotel collection, and incidentally one of the few non-Canadian creations, is “Internity” by Patrick Hughes, an acrylic on wood painting. Located by the hotel’s Howe Street entrance across from the front desk, this three-dimensional reverse perspective draws one’s eyes, and its common to see people walk back and forth in front of Hughes’ art, as the piece reveals itself from different angles.
And although not part of the art collection, one of the unique discoveries of the hotel during renovations was the discovery of a hidden stained-glass window, a colourful example of the hotel’s original crest. Sneak a peek into one of the small meeting rooms on the second floor to glimpse a stained glass window of the hotel’s original crest, a link to the past for this grand old lady of downtown Vancouver, a showcase for modern art.
MORE ABOUT THE ROSEWOOD HOTEL GEORGIA
Location: 801 West Georgia Street, Vancouver, BC (see map below)
Nightly Rates: Rooms start at $290.
Reservations: Bookings can be made through the hotel’s Reservations portal.
Telephone: 888-ROSEWOOD or 604-682-5566
Dining: Dinner entrees at award-winning Hawksworth, one of the 2012 Top 50 Restaurants in Canada, range from $27-$38.
NOTE: Photo courtesy of Rosewood Hotel Georgia