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A temple of glass

Boutique hotelier Provenance Hotels opens its newest art-themed spot in March, Tacoma's Hotel Murano. FSB arranged a sneak peak at the hotel's glass art treasures.

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Glass-bottomed boats
Glass-bottomed boats
"Art is sort of my drug," says Gordon Sondland, president of Provenance Hotels, a boutique chain that is opening its fifth art-themed location in March, the Hotel Murano in Tacoma. "I wanted to share that with our guests. What we try to do is install interesting and controversial works that people will react to."

Because Tacoma is at the center of U.S. glassmaking, Sondland, 50, and curator Tessa Papas filled the hotel with glass sculpture. There are 46 artists represented, from Seattle's Dale Chihuly to Greece's Costas Varotsos to Denmark's Vibeke Skov, whose glass Viking ships are seen here.

"I wanted different examples from different parts of the world - different glassmaking techniques," Papas says. "I wanted well-known artists and up-and-coming artists." Each floor of the Murano features work by a different artist, plus a portrait and biography. And the rooms, which start at about $175 a night, include sketches of the artist's inspiration process.

Click through for a peek at the creations of some of Hotel Murano's glass artisans - and a glimpse of their other themed properties, such as the Hotel Preston, where Elvis lives on.


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Last updated February 29 2008: 5:21 PM ET