In the midst of some of the world’s most dynamic cities and enchanting resort destinations, Raffles Hotels & Resorts provide an oasis of calm and charm, and also renowned, sublime service.
Raffles’ concierges are an invaluable resource for discovering all that these locations, rich with culture and teeming with history, have to offer. Several hotels even have the exclusive services of a dedicated Art Concierge, to provide guests with recommendations, insider tips and access to artistic and cultural highlights.
Recommendations for arts and culture lovers from Raffles’ destination experts include:
Le Royal Monceau, Raffles Paris’ Resident art concierge, Julie Eugène, suggests private visits to the most well-known museums, like the Louvre, Orsay or Picasso, for a VIP experience. To discover the capital’s street art, visit the Beaubourg district, or tour the 13 arrondissement. Fashionistas shouldn’t miss Palais Galliera, the Museum of Fashion of Paris, or Acte2 galerie and A. galerie, to purchase the works of famous fashion photographers. Families with children will enjoy workshops or exhibitions at the Musée du Quai Branly or thePompidou Center, or exhibits at Le Musée en Herbe or Art Ludique. The hotel, which is located on the prestigious Avenue Hoche, also has its own gallery, Art District, which showcases contemporary Parisian art. Here Eugène also advises new collectors about young, French contemporary artists and galleries.
Up and Coming: Don’t miss Picasso Mania, at Grand Palais, from October 7, 2015 to February 29, 2016;Warhol – Unlimited, at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, from October 2, 2015 to February 7, 2016; or the Anselm Kiefer exhibition at the Centre Pompidou, from December 16, 2015 to April 18, 2016.
Raffles Jakarta celebrates and pays homage to iconic Indonesian artist Hendra Gunawan, showcasing his works within the hotel. The hotel’s resident art concierge, Mr. Ivan Nurvalah, conducts tours of these art pieces and provides insight into his fascinating and spirited life. Adjacent to the hotel is the Ciputra Artpreneur, a complex dedicated to art with a gallery, museum and theater, which highlights Indonesian art from the modernism period to the present day. It features the works of Dr. Ir Ciputra as well as Gunawan. Further afield, it’s worth a visit to the Kemang neighborhood, an expat district and art destination where one can take in galleries, art activities, traditional craft retailers, and where an annual festival with clothing, art and food is held.
Up and Coming: The Annual Bazaar Art Jakarta, held every year in August, is a series of special events, lectures and discussions with international experts and curators, focused on contemporary works. Jakarta Biennale 2015 is a contemporary art event from November 15, 2015 to January 17, 2016 at cultural institutions and public spaces, featuring more than 80 local and international artists and groups.
Manila’s art scene is undergoing a resurgence, reclaiming its 19th century title as “Paris of the East” and acting as a crossroads of Eastern and Western arts and culture. Raffles Makati supports this with an impressive collection of over 1,600 artworks and sculptures, individually commissioned from among the country’s finest artists. The hotel’s dedicated art concierge, Rey Moraga, keeps guests apprised of the city’s arts offerings and events and acts as a guide showcasing Philippine culture. He recommends exploring the Ayala Museum, just across from the hotel, which features the contemporary works of Fernando Zobel, as well as the Gold of Ancestors exhibition, celebrating the cultures of the country prior to its 16th century colonization. Moraga encourages modern art lovers to visit the Pasong Tamo district for contemporary galleries. A private visit to theFine Arts Gallery of the National Museum can also be organized, for viewing art pieces from the 18th to 21st centuries.
Up and Coming: Design Week Philippines runs from October 12 to 18, 2015 at the SMX Convention Center, as well as the third week of March each year, celebrating Filipino ingenuity and design breakthroughs. The Manila FAME, Asia’s longest running trade show of arts and design, is held at the same time. Art Fair Philippines runs from February 18 to 21, 2016, and is set in an alternative urban venue, bringing together exciting modern works from the city’s leading contemporary art galleries. Art in the Park is the country’s most significant, affordable art fair offering a visual feast of paintings, photographs, sculpture and new media art. It is held in March in the financial district.
Kaan Özkan, head concierge at Raffles Istanbul recommends starting an exploration of the city’s eclectic art scene “at home”, with a tour of the hotel’s art collection. It features over 200 local and international artworks, specially commissioned for the hotel to complement the “Dream of Istanbul” theme of this remarkable hotel’s interior design. Another hidden gem is the Performing Arts Center Art Gallery in the Zorlu Center, just a minute’s walk from the hotel and home to some of the artworks in this year’s 14th Istanbul Biennial (September 5 to November 1, 2015). Balat and Karaköy are older, industrial districts that are good for exploring streets that have been turned into colorful artworks by local and international artists. The Rahmi Koc Museum in Hasköy is a unique, retro museum close to the Golden Horn that is not always known to international visitors. It features a vast collection of classical cars, a retired public ferry, and a submarine from WWII.
Up and Coming: Autumn is a great time to visit Istanbul with major art events taking place, including the Art International Fair from September 4 to 6, 2015 at the Halic Congress Center; the Istanbul Biennial, a contemporary art exhibition displaying works from over 80 international artists across the city from September 5 to November 1, 2015; and Contemporary Istanbul, the leading international art fair in Turkey, from November 12 to 15, 2015 at the Istanbul Congress Center.
Sahan Sameera, assistant chief concierge at Raffles Dubai has seen an increased interest in visual expressions and notes that the art of calligraphy has made great strides throughout the city. Longstanding and pop-up collections are exhibited in galleries and halls, with a strong focus placed on classical and modern-style Arabic calligraphy. Guests interested in local history should visit Khan Murjan in Wafi Mall, which replicates a 14th century souk selling bespoke art, textiles and crafts. The Al Quoz art district houses the best art galleries, such as Art Sawa and the Ayyam Gallery, with contemporary art exhibitions by promising artists from the region. With the creation of the Dubai Design District (d3) in 2013 to nurture emerging local talent and offer a home to the region’s creative thinkers, there are sure to be exciting developments in the local art scene for years to come.
Up and Coming: Raffles Dubai hosts internationally renowned photographer Peter Sanders’ new collection ‘The World is but a Moment’ until September 15, 2015. The fine art photography exhibition, taking center stage at Raffles Salon, features 10 large-scale original pieces from Sanders’ much anticipated release. Widely recognized as ‘one of the world’s leading photographers of the Islamic World’, the exhibit showcases a selection of Sanders’ most refined photos taken over the last thirty years. These reflect his passion for the Muslim culture and highlight places like Morocco and the Holy Cities of Makkah and Madinah.
Other notable artistic highlights in Raffles destinations include:
Raffles Praslin, Seychelles features the colorful works of local artist Raymond Du Buisson on room keys and welcome cards, giving every guest an introduction to the local spirit of the destination. Those whose interest in local art is piqued can visit nearby Rita’s Art Studio & Gallery, which displays works from local artist, Rita Morel, depicting a range of Seychellois landscape and marine scenes, as well as creations from other island artists. Encouraging guests to find their inner artist, easels and pencils are also provided in guestrooms for sketching, should guests feel inspired by the local works and the stunning Indian Ocean views.
Raffles Makkah Palace welcomes pilgrims to the Holy City, where they may wish to discover the intricacies of the Kiswah. Kiswah is the cloth which covers the Kaaba in Makkah, and it is draped annually on the 9th day of the month of Dhu al-Hijjah, the day pilgrims leave for the plains of Mount Arafat during the Hajj. Visitors can learn about the process of making the Kiswah, with its mixed art of needlework and calligraphy, and study about its history at the Kaaba Kiswa exhibition and factory.