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Actors and other celebrities opening hotels is nothing new—from Robert De Niro’s Nobu brand to Hugh Jackman’s Gwinganna Health Resort on Australia’s Gold Coast. But rockers seem to have their own riff when it comes to the hospitality industry.
These six micro, design-oriented properties of under 100 rooms are in places as varied as central Wisconsin and Stockholm, and all are owned by musicians. Many successfully weave in partnerships with other musicians as well as designers, and all feature a distinct aesthetic. Think Mats Theselius armchairs in the guest rooms at an ABBA member’s hotel.
And while COVID-19 has changed the way we travel in recent months, there are still socially distanced road trips to be had. At the very least, you may want to add some of these properties to your post-vaccine bucket list.
Grammy Award–winning musician Justin Vernon (Bon Iver’s vocalist) is largely responsible for putting his hometown of 69,000 people on the map. The cute city of Eau Claire is home to a downtown splashed in murals and calls itself the Indie Capital of the Midwest. Along with the publisher of a local magazine and director of a local arts center, Vernon opened the Oxbow Hotel in 2016, reviving a midcentury motor lodge as a hip stay with 30 rooms. The space is minimally designed (think headboards born out of tree slabs, thanks to Eau Claire Woodworks) and decorated with screen-printed, numbered, and hand-signed prints from eight regional artists. Partnering with a local company resulted in hand-painted, vintage-like lettering for the room numbers, plus signage throughout. The Lakely, its restaurant, hosts live jazz and music.
Wilco bassist John Stirratt co-founded this 48-room hotel with lodgelike vibes in the Berkshires in 2018. The hotel’s eatery serves breakfast and all-day snacks, plus drinks at night. Two playable chime structures by New Orleans Airlift are on the grounds, and a psychedelic video installation from Chicago’s Luftwerk can be found in the Airport Rooms, which are tucked into an 1813 farmhouse. Musicians bunk for free in exchange for impromptu shows, under the Sing for Your Slumber program. “My personality is reflected in Tourists, in part with the communally inclusive design of our long, linear buildings,” Stirratt tells AD, “as well as the musical atmosphere of the property, and how it lives with the other design and hospitality elements. I want people to feel [how] I feel when checking into a place I love, of serene expectancy and possibility."
Opened by ABBA’s Björn Ulvaeus in 2013, the 49-room Pop House is connected to the ABBA museum. True “dancing queens” will want to book the ABBA Gold Suite or the MAMMA MIA! The Party Room. The Kristina From Duvemåla suite is an ode to the musical written by Ulvaeus and bandmate Benny Andersson. Naturally, Swedish fare is served in the hotel restaurant. “Very few musicians who own hotels have a museum about themselves in it,” says Ulvaeus. “It certainly gives the hotel a lot of personality, and I think our guests get a sense of that the minute they step inside and hear the music. How the staff endures a whole day of ABBA songs is beyond me.”
Kate’s Lodging, Catskills, New York, and Landers, California
“Absolutely every knickknack, tchotchke, painting, and piece of furniture has been personally procured and curated by me,” says B-52’s singer Kate Pierson about two of the three hotels she owns, Lazy Meadow and Lazy Cabin, both in the Catskills. For example: Heissner garden gnomes, macramé owls, vintage pottery, and thrift-store paintings and prints. “My thrill [in stocking Lazy Meadow, built in 1952] was to hit the local vintage stores and auctions where I found a treasure trove of artwork, a lot of which were original Woodstock School of Art pieces,” she says. She combined those with midcentury-modern furniture finds scooped up with bandmate Fred Schneider on tour. For Lazy Cabin (her partner Monica Coleman’s former abode), she honored the Woodstock area’s ’20s and ’30s cabin architecture but added local artwork and comfy couches. Her western outpost, Lazy Desert, consists of six vintage Airstreams, parked near Joshua National Park in California’s Mojave Desert.
While she’s best known for providing vocals to the Miami Sound Machine during the ’80s, Gloria Estefan’s current passion is operating the 41-room Cardozo South Beach with her husband Emilio (the band’s leader). The Art Deco gem, which they revamped last year, is snug on Ocean Drive in the Art Deco District. It was designed by Henry Hohauser in 1939 and features curves and lines in sync with the architectural style, such as shimmery-tiled ceiling-height headboards in the guest rooms and herringbone walls in the baths and on the floors. The couple has also owned the 94-room Costa d’Este in Vero Beach since 2008.
Ulvaeus is not the only ABBA member to become a hotelier. Benny Andersson’s Hotel Rival debuted on right on Mariatorget square on Stockholm’s Södermalm Island in 2003, and is outfitted with Mats Theselius armchairs, a Gunnar Asplund desk chair, faux-fur throws, and offbeat art in the guest rooms. An artfully arranged wall of gold clothes hangers doubles as a functional open-air closet, and enlarged black-and-white photography adorns the walls. Patios flaunt window boxes bursting with flowers, when in season, and faux nailheads adorn the white soaking tub in the bathrooms. Within the shell of a former cinema are not only 99 hotel rooms but also a cocktail bar, a café, a bistro, and bar-friendly food plus live music at Watson’s Bar.
Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest