Hotel Americano

New York City Hood: Chelsea Genre: Designer Price: $$

Ever since we unwittingly stumbled upon some photos of the beautifully nostalgic  La Boca Chica in Acapulco a few years ago we’ve been watching the Grupo Habita hotel group to see what they would do next… The Mexican group’s latest ventures is situated in the heart of NY’s Chelsea art district, the hotel was designed by Mexico City-based architect Enrique Norten with interiors by Frenchman Arnaud Montigny (best known for his work on the Paris concept store Colette).

The Hotel

The hotel’s steel exterior presents a hard shoulder to its gritty urban environment but inside an industrial aesthetic is softened by Danish-style leather sofas in the lobby and communal areas, wooden sleeping platforms a la  ‘urban ryokan’ (as the marketeers would have it) in the rooms, soft Japanese textiles and homely touches such as gas fireplaces (in suites). We like the occasional splashes of bright lime -yellow that brighten up the neutral tones and remind us of New York’s iconic taxis. Perks include a roof top swimming pool that converts to a hot tub in winter. Guests can cement their hipster credentials by borrowing a bicycle from reception. Rooms priced from US$255.

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Downtown King at the Americano Hotel NYC (Photo © HWL)
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(Photo © HWL)

The Neighbourhood

Situated in the heart of the Chelsea art gallery district the hotel is right by the Highline and ideally placed for gallery hopping. Additionally the area is fantastic for eating and drinking – providing you don’t mind doing it in a neighbourhood that appears to be a light industrial zone complete with pot-holes, dark streets and endless buildings sites.

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(Photo © HWL)

What We Love

The hotel is beautiful and elegant with a palette of hard surfaces – steel and marble – softened throughout with soft textiles: leather, felt and wool. The rooftop pool is certainly a dramatic spot for a dip and the bar area is lovely in the evening. (We approve of the flattering use of candlelight throughout the communal spaces!) The Latino-influenced breakfast menu is terrific – you can spend a whole week working through it without getting bored or having to repeat yourself.  The in-house music selection (supplied on an I-Pad in each room) is great for setting the mood for your stay. Staff are efficient and friendly without being omnipresent. Oh, and we liked the Aesop products.

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NYC likes to mix it up: Latin heart with a hint of modern Japanese at Hotel Americano.
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(Photo © HWL)

Room to Improve

Too often hotel designer’s fail to consider how the space will react in the event that guests turn up with luggage. A few shelves and four coat-hangers may be sufficient for somebody arriving with a suit carrier and change or underwear. For everybody else (even carry-on packers like ourselves) storage at the Hotel Americano a little short on supply, particularly if you are sharing the room with a partner. Space is particularly a problem in the standard room bathrooms where designers have neglected to allow for so much as a toothbrush!

The amazing views over the New York skyline from the hotel is one of it’s greatest assets – for this reason we have to wonder why rooms were designed so the beds have their back to the view and look inwards towards…the bathroom!? We suggest somebody turns them towards the windows, or at least sideways, whenever a refresh is scheduled.

Noise: yes, we love a buzzing hotel but not if the party is keeping you up at 3am.

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(Photo © HWL)
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(Photo © HWL)
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(Photo © HWL)

Tips

Note if you are a sensitive sleeper there are a few large building sites opposite the hotel – so if you are sensitive to noise request a room at the back (unfortunately this probably means you will lose out on the view.)

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(Photo © HWL)
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Girl not included, smoking not allowed.
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Lullaby

Drift off – or not – to Lazy Lover by Brazilian Girls.