Hyatt Hotel Holograms

IMG_5903Hotel lobby art is a special kind of art. It has to be large enough to work in a cavernous, high-ceiling space, yet likely to be inoffensive to the vast majority of patrons shuffling by on their way to their rooms or the concierge desk. Most hotel lobby art blends unobtrusively into the background; it’s rare to see something that is interesting enough to demand a second look.

The lobby of the Grand Hyatt in New York City, next to Grand Central Station, is an exception to that rule. It features two striking statues of the heads of sleeping women by artist Jaume Plensa. Made of white marble and created with horizontal lines, the two statues have a peaceful, ethereal feel and look like gigantic holograms. You feel compelled to walk around them just to make sure that they are tangible.

It’s nice to come to a hotel lobby that makes you think, even for a moment, about the wonder of art.

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Ruffles And Flourishes At Cleveland’s Hyatt Arcade

Whenever I have to spend the night in Cleveland, there is one hotel that is my hotel of choice:  the Hyatt Arcade.

It is not just because this hotel is staffed by friendly, capable workers.  It is not just because the hotel is reasonably priced, and you can get a nice, very spacious room for an eminently affordable price.  It is not just because the hotel is centrally located a block or so from Public Square, near everything in downtown Cleveland, and just a stroll out the Euclid Avenue exit directly into the uber-cool East Fourth Street entertainment and restaurant district.  And it is not just because the ground floor features excellent hat shops that may well offer the best porkpie selection in the Cleveland metropolitan area.

No, in large part it is because this place has . . . gargoyles.  Seriously, how many hotels have you visited recently where you can look up and see dozens and dozens and dozens of griffins and dogs and eagles and every other imaginable kind of totem, lurking silently just under a beautiful skylight ceiling?

And not just gargoyles, either.  Everywhere you look this late 19-century gem has an abundance of extraordinary architectural flourishes and touches that you would not see anywhere else.  Just ahead you notice a caduceus on a shield, framed by fierce lion heads, on one of the lintels.  Why is it there?  Who knows?  And really, who cares?  What is important is that some 19th-century craftsman thought it would be a striking touch . . . and it is, just like virtually everything else in this wondrous building.

If, like me, you like to take the stairs — especially when you are going downhill — you also will appreciate the beauty of the graceful lines, and swirls, and facings of the stairwells.  This isn’t a place where the staircases are grim, dark areas hidden behind closed doors; instead, they are an important part of the interior design.  What a pleasure to turn the corner to the next flight of stairs and see the lovely decorative touches that make even an entirely functional stairwell into a real feast for the senses!

It probably seems silly to be so enthusiastic about a hotel.  But that is precisely the point.  We all do enough in our lives that is cookie-cutter, uninspired, and humdrum.  If you have an opportunity to spend a night in a place that is unique and memorable, why not seize that opportunity and enjoy it?