A Decidedly Notable New Hotel: The Art House Basel, Switzerland

With what will have been a year-and-a-half of art fair cancellations in its wake, Art Basel Switzerland (the original, founded all the way back in 1970), will actually move ahead in its physical form this September 23 – 26, surely leading the cultural charge out of this long and devastating pandemic.

Curiously, the otherwise glorious little city of Basel, perched majestically along the Rhine and just 37 km from Zurich, has ever been wanting for a proper number of worthy boutique hotels to host its steady stream of art world luminaries. (Old money stays at Les Trois Rois, culture vultures check in at Der Teufelhof – it gets a little tricky after that). But the sleek new Art House Basel (a member of Design Hotels) will certainly go a long way to remedying that situation, with its considerable sense of style, and its worthy epicurean offerings.

Located at the edge of the Alstadt (Old Town), it’s an unapologetically modern affair, with a concrete / granite / black marble facade that is far more Corbusian than it is Swiss Miss. In fact, designers Salomé Fäh and Andrea Caputo have infused the interiors with an understated, almost Japanese sense of serene aesthetics. To be sure, the 33 rooms and suites are done up in soothing light woods and Scandinavian style furnishings, with Hästens platform beds, and Shoji sliding doors leading to scenic terraces. The ones to book are the Club Suite, and the Terrace Club Suite, the latter boasting the largest outdoor space of any hotel room in the city.

Just strolling through the hotel is like a design junkie’s dream, with Caputo and Fäh employing pieces by Vitra, Abacus, Artek, Santa & Cole, KNS, Living Divani and more to museum quality effect.

The smart-looking Souvenir restaurant on site notably serves a “hangover breakfast” every last Sunday of the month, which starts at 3am and goes to 3pm…so you can recover, then come back in the afternoon and start the tippling all over again. Upstairs, the Mirador (private) rooftop bar is done up in a kind of elegant, rustic chic, with captivating Alstadt views (including the 19th Century Elisabethenkirche), especially at sunset.

No surprise, this being Basel, the Art House has also struck up a partnership with the the COLAB Gallery in nearby Weil Am Rhein, dotting the hallways with the work of notable local street artists. And so indeed, this is just the sort of hotel Art Basel goers will flock to – while it also viscerally connects visitors with the artistic soul of the city all year round.

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