It used to be that at New York’s Chelsea Hotel, poor artists could pay for their stay with their art. Now Clarion Hotel in Stockholm is copying the concept. “We’d rather give away rooms than have them empty,” says the hotel’s PR person Tess Mattisson to

While you can no longer pay with art at the Chelsea in New York, Clarion in Stockholm takes it in the other direction. Perhaps as a way to get publicity, as of June 8 it will be possible for visitors to pay with their art work: one work for one night’s stay.


“It was our managing director’s idea,” says Mattisson. “His own father once paid with a piece of his own art work at Chelsea Hotel. Now that they have discontinued that practice, we want to continue the tradition.” The personnel at Clarion Hotel don’t judge what is art and what is not.

“As long as the piece fits on an A4-paper (the standard Swedish document format equivalent to 8.27" × 11.69") you can bring anything. You can even tape lint from your pocket on an A4 paper and be welcome.” Mattisson continues to explain that there’s currently no end date to the experiment. “Perhaps there’ll be no interest at all,” she says. “Or perhaps artists in droves will come. Whichever, we hope to continue this indefinitely.” And the customer paying with art will be just as valued as the customer paying with money. Says Mattisson: “We will save all the art we get, and we’ll see what happens with it. We might create a gallery with the works on our website. The hope is that we in a hundred years have a piece of work by someone who went on to become a major artist."

Want to check room availability? Go to Clarion Hotel, Stockholm