Travel trend: Artful accommodations
Hotels offer rooms with Broadway seats, painting classes and art exhibits
May 5, 1997
Web posted at: 11:23 p.m. EDT (0323 GMT)
(CNN) -- Call it the "art" of hospitality.
For years, hotels have promoted the arts by offering packages and promotions, as well as tickets to theaters and museums. Now, big chains and small hotels alike are expanding on that profitable marketing strategy by offering art classes, creating new package deals ... even presenting exhibits in-house.
Cultural tourism flourishing
At the Charleston Place Hotel in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, aspiring artists gathered recently to learn the fine points of botanical painting for one week. Dr. Shirley Sherwood, wife of the hotel owner, set up the art class so students could practice while immersing themselves in the charms of the city.
Sherwood collects contemporary botanical art and is just one of many in the hospitality industry who are initiating successful collaborations between the two worlds.
Radisson Hotels recently launched a nationwide campaign designed to support the arts and lure travelers. The chain expects to spend $250,000 on the program during the next five years.
Brian Stage of Radisson Hotels calls cultural tourism "one of the fastest-growing segments of the tourism industry."
"One of the reasons that tourists are traveling frequently now for leisure purposes is to enjoy cultural activities," he said.
Some travelers may be surprised to see pieces of fine art without even leaving their hotel. The Ritz-Carlton Buckhead in Atlanta, Georgia recently hosted a traveling exhibit of glass-blown art.
Hotels aren't likely to turn into museums anytime soon, but marketing experts say a little bit of culture goes a long way.
Find a deal that's right for you
Since many hotels -- especially in big cities -- frequently offer deals affiliated with the arts, travelers should call in advance to get information on package rates.
If you're headed to New York City for example, check out the Doubletree Guest Suites. From now until the end of 1997, travelers can combine a hotel stay with tickets to the Tony Award-winning Broadway show "Rent" and the acclaimed "Chicago." Prices start at $309 and include (one-night) accommodations for two, and two show tickets.
Many artists and hotel executives say this corporate support for the arts couldn't come at a better time; cutbacks are painting an uncertain picture for government arts funding, which makes hotels like these an especially welcome partner.
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