From the airy architecture of seaside retreat Basico to Distrito Capital's urban focus, Mexico-based hotel group Habita has already made a name for itself for how it introduces high-design without disrupting surroundings. Opening today, 6 September 2011, Hôtel Americano, their first U.S. property, brings this elegantly light touch to New York City. The 56-room hotel both blends well into the scale of its "Way West Chelsea" neighborhood and firmly stakes a claim to its future. Designed for locals as well as out-of-towners, the destination offers a rooftop cafe and pool, basement bars and a street-level cafe in a section of NYC's gallery district that has been one of the last to transform from its industrial past.
Like when the Ace Hotel opened to the East (as well as Habita's property in Mexico City's Condesa neighborhood), Americano's arrival signals a new beginning for the area. With the elevated outdoor park, the High Line, opening nearby and a newly-constructed condo across the street, the new growth promises to reinvigorate an area formerly home to literally one restaurant and generally lacking housing and retail. And just how did the developers manage to balance the needs of the neighborhood with their ambitious new property? Let's start with the building itself.
The work of Mexican architect Enrique Norten, a metal mesh-clad exterior creates a clean and striking facade whose clean lines integrates well with neighboring warehouse spaces while lending contemporary shine. By offsetting this facade from the windows, the size of the rooms inside feel a bit bigger—a welcomed detail for the more petite rooms on that side of the hotel. Across the hall, the larger accommodations feature a sitting area, fire places and bigger bathrooms. All rooms (designed by Arnaud Montigny) house wooden platform beds inspired by Japanese ryokans; beautiful wood cubes hold the beds in the bigger spaces.
For those who aren't staying at the hotel, the Americano has a separate entrance so neighborhood visitors don't compromise the experience for guests. A cafe near the front door provides Intellegentsia coffee (its first NYC outpost) and fresh-squeezed juices. Just behind the cafe, a restaurant will serve three meals a day indoors and on the back terrace.
On the roof, also open to the public and accessible via a separate elevator so as to not annoy hotel guests, La Piscine bar and grill will feature not only a seasonal menu but also seasonal decor—open and airy in the summer, glass-enclosed warmth in the winter.
Below the lobby, Bar Americano—a concrete tube of a bar, feels like a chic, modern subway station. Behind this space is El Privado, a small, warm living room with a bar that feels more like a kitchen, which as the name suggests is reserved for private functions.
A welcomed addition to our neighborhood, Hôtel Americano is now open for hotel guests and cafe customers. The additional spaces are set to open in late September or early October.