Top Five: Arty Hotels

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2. Modern B & B

If you're looking for something on a more intimate scale, Modern B & B is located in the heart of Montrose on Hazard Street near the Menil Collection and The Rothko Chapel.

Lisa Thompson, owner and operator of Modern B & B, designed and built the modest four-story bed and breakfast in 2001, originally as townhomes. In 2004, she made the decision to repurpose it. She wanted a design that was "in-your-face modern" yet quality-built.

Modern B & B has a charming array of rooms for singles and families. Our favorite is the fourth-floor room, nestled above the treetops with a perfect view of downtown. The rooms all connect to a contemporary and comfortable shared living room and kitchen.

Thompson is an avid collector and figure within the arts scene. Some of her favorite pieces were done by Houston architect and artist David Guthrie. The living room features a huge overhead freeway photograph--definitively Houston. She also features photo montages by Scott Mutter that seamlessly combine opposing landscapes and city scenes.

She is constantly on the lookout for unexpected art as well. A vibrant figurative painting hangs above her oval kitchen table next to a tall, red structural sculpture. "The painting is actually a tabletop I spotted at Blue Bird Circle. They wouldn't let me buy the top by itself, so I had to buy the chairs as well. Fortunately, I had a guest at the time who commented on how much she liked the chairs, so I sent them home with her when she left. The sculpture was student work left out for trash. I had to have it, so I painted it red and it's been in that space ever since."

Thompson lives on the property and boasts that it's an easy job "when you're doing something you love." She enjoys getting to know her guests and introducing them to Houston. Her business is primarily word-of-mouth, but it's far reaching. "About 20 percent of my business is international. We get a lot of Australians and recently we had a group of businessmen from Uzbekistan." Thompson also hosts quite a lot of New York artists and artists in general. Sarah Oppenheimer most recently stayed at Modern B & B during her installation of "D-17" at Rice Gallery.

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Kaylan Tannahill