Hard-Hat Tour: Conrad New York

Patrick Roy, the Conrad New York‘s director of sales and marketing, took me on a hard-hat tour the other day. “Hard-hat tour” is right up there with “hotel-style bedding” and “wraparound terrace” in my book, although I was bummed (but not surprised) to learn I couldn’t take any photos inside. I shall endeavor to paint a picture with my words….

••• As we knew already, what had been the check-in part of the lobby, to the left of the front door, is now North End Grill. As you can see if you walk up the glass façade on North End and peek inside, where there used to be a lobby sitting area is now a heck of a staircase. Its size isn’t the most dramatic factor; the whole thing is a bit askew, with railings that aren’t parallel. There’s even a chance that an inebriated guest—one too many single malts at NEG?—might wander in between two railings that end up converging in a V. There are escalators, too.

••• The hotels’ main public area is all on the second floor, and it’s still dominated by the giant Sol LeWitt mural, although what you’ll notice first—what you’ll notice before even the kooky railings—are the “veils,” organically-shaped lighting fixtures that hang from the ceiling (designed by the person/firm who did the lighting at the High Line). [Update: Roy sent over a better attribution: “L’Observatoire International in collaboration with MPDL Studio were the main designers of our public space, including the veils.”] You can sort of see the veils—and a bit of those railings—in this rendering:

••• Click to enlarge that image for a better glimpse of the 150-foot-long (total) serpentine sofa. I was hoping it’d be bright green, an homage to the benches that used to be in Federal Plaza, but it appears not. The hotel’s three-meals-a-day restaurant and bar, Atrio, is to the near right as you walk up the stairs; the gym is to the far right, with windows on North End Vesey; the event spaces are to the rear left of the lobby. You can keep walking right through the lobby to another staircase—grander than before—that leads down to Goldman Alley. People leaving the Regal movie theater will still be able to enter the hotel on the second floor and scoot down the stairs. (“Or stay for a drink,” said Roy.)

••• The event spaces, much of which are where DSW was, sit around a great staircase that resembles a suspension bridge contracting in on itself. The ever-changing colored lights on Goldman Alley are in some of the meeting rooms. The lights’ purpose remains unclear.

••• The hotel will have 463 rooms, same as the Embassy Suites did. I was worried that the long, dark, low-ceilinged rooms of yore would be tough to turn high-end, but the 420-square-foot one we checked out, the smallest in the hotel, certainly felt nice. It felt more cozy than tight—a result of finer materials, I suppose. You enter the rooms from the hotel atrium into a living room, with the bathroom in the middle (most rooms will have two-room bathrooms, and the one we saw had a walk-in shower), and the bedroom is on the building’s perimeter. The windows along the atrium are gone, as one might have expected, and the new design makes the hallways much less motel-y. I assumed that noise from the atrium was a concern, but Roy said that the complaints on TripAdvisor about the Embassy Suites had been mainly about noise from adjacent rooms. The workers discovered only one layer of sheetrock in between many rooms; naturally, the Conrad added soundproofing. Two renderings:

••• Those make it look more boring, less cocoon-y than in real life. When we entered the room, I was surprised to see art by Elizabeth Peyton on the walls. It’s a remnant of the Embassy Suites days (who knew?). The Conrad will have around 2,000 pieces of contemporary art, said Roy—not just LeWitt and Peyton, but also Sara Sosnowy, Pat Steir, and Mary Heilman.

••• The rooftop bar isn’t ready for a peek yet.

••• The ground floor’s southwest corner remains undecided and/or unannounced.

••• As we knew, the hotel is taking reservations for March 1 and beyond. If they can swing it, they’ll open sooner—and with opening weekend rates of $229, it’s worth paying attention to see if that happens. Pajama party, anyone?


1 Comment

  1. Wow. The Conrad looks gorgeous — and Danny Meyer looks increasingly more savvy by the moment. Talk about a never ending stream of people into his new place — especially given Floyd’s name recognition after “Top Chef Masters”.