Issue Oct/Nov 2016
State of Design
Three new hotel concepts in New York City offer the modern traveller different ways of experiencing and enjoying the city.
Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Bob Dylan, Mark Rothko, Andy Warhol, Jack Kerouac, Joan Didion, Truman Capote, Patti Smith – this is just the tip of the ice berg when it comes to listing the creative icons that New York City has birthed. For many, it is where one comes to discover, relive and experience the epitome of such creativity – be it in the fashion, design, architecture, art, literary or musical worlds – through its world-famous cultural attractions.
“New York attracts many different talented people from around the world and this makes it extremely exciting and culturally invigorating. There are so many creative destinations from museums, galleries and retail outlets that bring the best of the world to the city,” says Rossana Hu, architect and co-founder of Shanghai-based architecture and design studio neri&hu.
With so many rich experiences the city has to offer, it is not surprising that the modern, cultivated traveller is equally demanding when it comes to the choice of their hotel stays. Agrees Ronnie Baldino, General Manager of The Renwick, one of the newest hotels in Manhattan, “New York City’s high energy is ever-changing. With so much to do in the big city – like being a part of New York’s staple Museum Mile Festival, or checking out renowned fashion artist Bill Donovan’s exhibits throughout the city, or even taking sketch classes at the New York Society of Illustrators – the creativity needed to house business travellers and leisure seekers must [also] challenge the expectations of simple luxury.”
Rightly so, the hospitality industry is not resting on its laurels in offering travellers alternative modes of stay aside from mass-market chain hotels or no-frills business hotels. We pick out three recently opened establishments that will appeal to the sophisticated wanderluster who appreciates good design, fine details and unique moments to take home.
Baccarat Hotel & Residences / A Crystal Palace in New York
Opened in March 2015, the Baccarat Hotel & Residences New York is located just opposite the Museum of Modern Art, and sits within 12 stories of the Midtown Manhattan Tower. Its presence is heralded by a glimmering 125-foot-wide corrugated crystal curtain – a perfect introduction to the first hotel venture by French crystal glassware manufacturer Baccarat, founded in 1764.
“Crystal is playing with light and shadow,” says Dorothée Boissier-Gilles, CEO and co-founder of Gilles & Boissier, the Paris-based firm that designed the hotel. Features such as a light wall made of 2,000 iconic Baccarat Harcourt glasses dazzle within the darkened entrance portal, while hand-painted French doors and mirrored walls lit by Baccarat’s glamorous lamps in the guestrooms, reflect the glamour of the brand in a subtle, sophisticated way. For die-hard fans of the brand, there are 60 residential units designed by Tony Ingrao up for grabs.
New York is the location for the world’s first Baccarat Hotel & Residences
New York’s rich cultural identity offers another perspective to integrate into the brand’s French legacy. According to a hotel spokesperson, it is about the meeting of two different cultures – New York’s boldness, speed and extravagance coupled with a French touch in the layout, the symmetry, the decorative elements create a unique experience.
A unique design
The designers sought to combine the classic elegance of a Parisian hotel with the contemporary aesthetic of its midtown New York City location. They also created an elegant and strong space that pays homage to the Baccarat spirit and craftsmanship.
Setting Baccarat apart
Baccarat Hotel & Residences New York is the only property in the world designed from the ground up with Baccarat’s signature attention to artisanship. This brand, which has for centuries stood for perfection in crystal, has seamlessly created a modern lifestyle hotel masterpiece that is sensual and elegant but still functional, fun, comfortable and not overly formal.
The New York Edition
Facing Madison Square Park in Manhattan’s edgy NoMad district is the newest Edition hotel. Presented by hotelier Ian Schrager and Marriott International, it is housed in the iconic ‘Clocktower’ building, which was the tallest building in NYC when it was completed in 1909 as the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower.
The New York Edition marries the building’s heritage elements with new, modern details. Guests enter into an airy lobby filled tastefully with Christian Liagre-designed floor lamps and furniture inspired by modernist Erik Koling Anderson and Alvar Aalto. Indeed, the entire hotel – guestrooms and lift foyers included – is designed to make guests feel like they are in an upscale 1920s New York apartment. A 30-foot-long hand-forged blackened steel fireplace takes centrestage in the lobby, where a sculptural staircase leads to The Clocktower restaurant run by celebrity chef Jason Atherton on the second storey. Here, framed photographs of the who’s-who in New York’s entertainment scene in the modern past provide a touch of old-world glamour.
About Ian Schrager
American hotelier, entrepreneur and real estate developer Ian Schrager is a true original. His name is synonymous with New York’s famous Studio 54 nightclub that in the 70s dazzled partygoers with its sophisticated, multi-spectacle sets, as well as the Morgans Hotel in 1984, which introduced the world to the modern “boutique lifestyle hotel” as it is known today.
Traditionally referring to small-scale hotels containing ten to a hundred rooms, The term ‘boutique hotel’ according to Schrager eschewed mass-market, chain hotel stays, offering the “cheap chic” experience where affordable luxury came packaged with personalised service and stylish environments, often designed by well-known architects or interior designers such as Philippe Starck.
The Edition brand is the result of his partnership with Marriot International in a quest to create a new type of hospitality experience – one that marries his signature intimate and bespoke hospitality touch with Marriott’s global reach, operational expertise and scale. The Edition Istanbul opened in 2011, followed by Miami Beach, London, and now New York. The next Edition will open in Sanya, China this year.
The Renwick (formerly the Bedford Hotel) is a newly refurbished 173-room hotel that celebrates its history of long-staying artistic luminaries. To ignite guests’ creativity are details such a unique hand-painted artist’s stool and inspirational quotes by well-known creative personalities on the walls of the loft-style guestrooms. Butcher tiles in the bathroom and dark wood flooring match the 1928-built architecture’s red brick façade. The highlight is 33 custom suites that pay homage to F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Steinbeck, Thomas Mann or Ernest Hemingway, including two Creator Suites: one Artist’s Suite with an artist’s easel complete with paint brushes, and a Writer’s Suite with a functioning typewriter and Penguin hardbound classics.
“Overall, the design is eclectic, to look gathered over time, urban apartment casual, with custom detailing and thoughtful selections that all point back to the building’s soul and history,” says Kim Edwards, the interior designer from Stonehill & Tayor, the New York-based architecture and interior design firm tasked to create the atmospheres.
Inspiration for the hotel concept
New York’s crowded hospitality scene makes it a haven for business travellers and leisure-seekers alike. The Renwick brings these types of guests together by delivering a fresh new experience that melds luxury with a modern approach.
An ambience like no other
The ambience of the hotel was tapped to reimagine the space while creating whimsical interiors that pay homage to past residents, and cultural and artistic innovations of the 1920s, through a modern lens.
Novel guest experience
The inventive post card found in the rooms encourages guests to leave their creative mark, which they can mail directly to the hotel by placing into the original mail chute next to the elevator bank for a chance at having their art displayed in the hotel or [featured in] a future hotel postcard.
Where to go:
Baccarat Hotel & Residences
24 West 53rd Street, New York, NY 10019, United States
Tel: +1 212-790-8800
The New York Edition
5 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10010, United States
Tel: +1 212-413-4200
118 East 40th Street, New York, NY 10016, United States
Tel: +1 212-687-4875