518 West 27th Street
New York City, NY 10001
56 rooms & suites
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HOT DEALS AND NEW HOTELS
ARCHITECTURE / DESIGN
Architecture: TEN Arquitectos
Interior Design: MCH
In each of their hotels, Carlos Couturier and Moises Micha have prided themselves on finding just the right designers and architects to capture the spirit of both the hotel and of its location. For the brand new Hôtel Americano, they selected award-winning Mexico City-based architect Enrique Norten, who has transformed a former Chelsea parking garage into a 10-story, metal mesh-wrapped boutique lodging. “We’re a neutral space in an area jam-packed with art galleries. Hôtel Americano focuses on architecture, design and gastronomic pleasures,” says Couturier. “For the first time, we’re not integrating art work into the concept.”
Instead, Norten fashioned a sophisticated, quasi-industrial facade that opens to a quietly dynamic space, with 56 rooms and suites, two restaurants, a lobby café and two basement bars. Couturier and Micha, seasoned in running city, country and seaside properties, wanted architecture that would reflect Hôtel Americano’s urban location but still create a sense of escape.
That applied to the interiors as well, which Couturier and Micha created with Paris-based interior designer Arnaud Montigny, famed for his work on Paris shop Colette. At the Hôtel Americano, though, Montigny, who has often collaborated with Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, has added a warmer approach, one influenced by his work in Tokyo. “There’s a Japanese influence and a simplicity to the rooms. You might be surprised that these Mexicans are doing a Japanese room in New York,” Micha laughs. Indeed, guest rooms suggest an urbane ryokan on the Hudson: materials are all-natural, beds are wooden platforms, walls are white. Upholstery is leather, lighting is low, and many of the textiles come from Japanese brand Fog. The muted palette, Couturier and Micha say, is intended to help soothe and pamper guests after a day, or night, of enjoying the city’s energy. Every guest room has an iPad with well-edited listings for the city’s culture, dining, wellness and sports options, and an onsite concierge will contact guests prior to their arrival to arrange hard-to-get reservations. The 42 square-meter suites even come with gas fire places.
That sense of hominess is critical to Couturier and Micha, who have adopted the neighborhood as their own. In truly global style, they are injecting the Americano with both local flavor – guests can borrow from a fleet of New York City-made Bowery Lane Bicycles – and touches of Mexico City flair: an outdoor pool on the roof will transform into a hot tub for the winter, typical perhaps for Distrito Federal but highly unusual in Manhattan. Seeking to play on the indoor-outdoor dichotomy, architect Norten added an exterior, glass elevator that whisks diners from the street to the roof terrace restaurant.
There, too, Couturier and Micha are appealing to global tastes, making the terrace restaurant Greek in the summer and Argentinean in the winter. In Americano’s basement, the bar El Privado is slightly hidden away, requiring reservations, but “not snobby or pretentious.” If their New York debut is anything like the duo’s cult hotels in Mexico City, designers, filmmakers, artists, fashion editors and collectors will be flocking to Hôtel Americano to soak up Couturier and Micha’s cool approach, refined aesthetics and well-trained, warm staff.
“Chelsea is full of art, it’s full of expats, and it’s a very mixed community,” says Couturier, who has an apartment in a cloistered garden just a few blocks away. “We’re close to everything, but we’re not in a touristy neighborhood. When you stay here, you’ll feel like a real New Yorker.”