Opening in May, the Clocktower extends the very boundaries of luxury in New York City People are changing. New York is changing. Luxury is changing. With The New York EDITION, Ian Schrager and Marriott International respond to this changing landscape by introducing a new luxury for a new generation.
Up to now, the idea of a modern luxury hotel was an oxymoron. Luxury hotels were traditional in design by definition — the more luxurious a hotel was, the more traditional looking it was expected to be. Ian Schrager recognized that this safe approach and “give no offense” design philosophy was itself an offense. Luxury hotels continue to be stagnant. A new generation that has grown up in the age of technology, social media, instant access, the proliferation of global consumer brands, affluence and conspicuous consumption has long craved an alternative to the standardized luxury hotels that feel like a thing of the past and are virtually indistinguishable from one another. People’s priorities have changed and so have their needs and desires.
Today’s modern travellers are now hungry for community and social interaction in the physical world, not just online. They seek to surround themselves with like-minded individuals with common interests, views, aesthetics, tastes and desires. Schrager and Marriott have provided this new generation with the alternative that speaks to they way they live and travel today, which are now one and the same.
The New York EDITION pays more than lip service to being a home away from home. It is truly a “hotel as private home”. The hotel’s residential feel will instantly draw guests in, and the hotel will serve as a refuge in the city and from the city. It is akin to staying in the guest room of a private home, rather than a hotel room. Despite the inherited pedigree of this building, it was essential that the interiors were infused with a modern, sophisticated design vernacular. Not unlike what was achieved with The London EDITION by giving a modern twist and punk touches to the likes of a traditional, aristocratic English country estate and the quintessential London private gentleman’s club, The New York EDITION will possess a similar fusion of old and new.
The New York EDITION makes its debut in the world-famous, iconic “Clocktower” building, otherwise known as the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower. The building was designed by the architectural firm of Napoleon LeBrun & Sons and completed in 1909. It is situated on Madison Square Park in a neighborhood of the city referred to as NoMad.
This new and exciting emerging area has never had a luxury hotel before. As a result, the Clocktower extends the very boundaries of luxury in New York City. The 273-room hotel will be activated by day and by night with a restaurant by London’s hottest young chef Jason Atherton, two bars and a billiard room. Inside, much of the building’s existing design was embraced, retaining and restoring the original dark wood on the walls and the floors on the second floor. But, the old was offset with the new to add a downtown New York City feel. The lobby and lobby bar’s classic Venetian plaster walls starkly contrast the custom cast concrete oversized windows that look out over Madison Square Park.
The restaurant, on the second floor overlooking the park, is where the subtle play of modern and period design continues in new forms. Three intimate dining rooms, a parlor with a billiard table and a library serving cocktails, after dinner drinks and dessert, are separate as in a private home, but come together seamlessly to form a whole.
Above the lobby and the restaurant are the 273 guest rooms. Each is serene, comforting and feels like an oasis from the outside world. There is visual drama, too. The original windows in each room perfectly frame the New York City skyline. Many of the suites have 180-degree views of Manhattan and the penthouse apartment has 360-degree vistas. Each room has a classic, extra-long and deep floating white oak desk, inspired by Jean-Michel Frank, and a bed with a dark walnut headboard and a custom-built walnut platform with bespoke walnut night stands.
The New York EDITION, like every other EDITION, is a custom-made one-off that is authentic and modern, and yet feels very personalized and individualized. It is of its place and of its time and unlike any other EDITION before it or to come. With a New York hotel finally launching and global expansion plans, it is evident that the Schrager/Marriott partnership seeks to not only have the biggest impact, but to have the best hotel product possible. So far, so good.