Hotels are a destination and an inspiration.
Hotel photography is both a job and a muse for lots of artists. For example, Edward Hopper took inspiration from this closed, intimate space in his celebrated painting Hotel Room (1931). I also love the work by Lasse Lecklin discovered in the annual PHPA competition, which brings together artists and Paris Rive Gauche group hotels.
For the artist Sophie Calle, the hotel room is a vector for telling stories. From the point of view of a chambermaid, she tells the story of the guests staying at a Venetian hotel. Read the story in photos and text in Hotel, published by Actes Sud.
The last Tracks of Ghent festival in Belgium celebrated a temporary hotel built around the clock in the Ghent-Sint-Pieters station by Japanese artist Tazu Rous. It was a unique chance to sleep 23 metres up in a room defined by art and history.
The Destination Hotel
I am passionate about hotels. I visit them for my work, but also during free time, most often on weekends. I sometimes also take a plane or train not to see a city, but to go to a particular hotel. The hotel as a destination or as voyage in its own right is a concept I really like!
To get away from it all, I would even recommend booking a hotel for a night or weekend in your own city. You’ll enjoy a small-scale trip that won’t take a lot of planning, but you’ll get a true holiday vibe nevertheless.
Here are 3 hotels I most enjoyed photographing this year: 3 hotels, 3 cities, 3 styles.
Hotel Chavanel – Paris – France
The Madeleine quarter is a neighbourhood famous for its boutiques. A hotel window just like one in a shop, with a door that slides down automatically. I go in. The door closes and I have about ten hours sleep in my nocturnal cocoon at the Hotel Chavanel.
My suite was on the 5th floor, under the eaves. The suite was white, with grey floor, exposed beam, an aery, luminous space. I felt like touching everything…muted tone, wood, lace, wool, silk, porcelain, cotton, metal, leather…tactile. Haute Couture lace, created by the Sophie Hallette design house is the common thread in the hotel, repeating in fabrics and also on wall coverings, carpeting, and floors.
For the Chavanel, I tried to transcribe in photography the eye for detail embodied by the decorators’ choice to mix feminine/masculine through the delicate lace and the bold fabric colours.
Hotel Chavanel **** – 22, rue Tronchet, 75008 Paris, France
Henri Hotel – Hamburg – Germany
Henri is a hotel in the centre of Hamburg, but it could also be the name of an American TV hero. Or maybe some scenes from Mad Men could have been filmed there. My room was on the 6th floor, and it was very bright, with 4 windows looking out onto the back courtyard’s red bricks. A New York vintage atmosphere, “In the Mood for Henri” I tried to depict with gentle colours.
Henri Hotel*** – Bugenhagenstraße 21, Hamburg, Germany
Ekies All Senses – Vourvourou, Greece
The English call it “barefoot luxury” a type of holiday that is cool, but chic at the same time. The Ekies All Senses truly fits the bill. It’s a refined boutique hotel-resort where you can dig your feet in the sand. Pack your sandals and pareo! Beyond wide shots, I wanted to focus in on the various and sundry objects to be found all over the hotel. Everything is bathed in the light of a Greek springtime. If I could have I would have recreated the smooth scent of the Jo Malone basil-mandarin candle that perfumed the lobby!
Ekies All senses Resort – Vourvourou 630 78, Greece
Since 2009 Vagabondes.fr has been showcasing European destinations. Catherine is passionate about short getaways. All she needs is 3 days to find out if
she wants to come back, extend the story, in a sort of speed dating with a city or with a region. It’s the time to capture an atmosphere, colors, just enough time to awaken the senses, a moment of curiosity.
That is what she tries to write when she gets home…her travel impressions, with a focus on art and beautiful hotels.