Platinum List 2018: Best Hotels Opened In Past Year
Mondrian Park Avenue, The Ned, NOPSI Hotel
From London to New York to New Orleans, these properties have caught the attention of travel connoisseurs everywhere.
New York City, New York, United States
“Philippe Starck likes to say, ‘Give me the box I have to work with,’ ” says Joe Faust, president of Dakota Development, which made significant changes to a 1918 office building at Park Avenue and 30th Street before the French designer began work. “At that stage, Philippe basically doodles out his sketches, and transfers that to our architects. He develops a theme, and in this case the theme was art.” Painter Ara Starck, his daughter, created the gold swag murals lining the mirrored ceiling of the hotel’s lobby. The eight-foot log is not really a place to lounge—it’s a sculpture. In the glass vitrine: a reproduction of Marsden Hartley’s 1936 oil painting The Old Bars, Dogtown—the original is at the Whitney. Indeed, art can be found throughout the 189-room hotel, including in a vestibule that separates the lobby from Danny Elmaleh’s Mediterranean restaurant Cleo.
The folks at Soho House have a talent for decor that is comfortably retro without feeling dusty. This aesthetic is brilliantly articulated at The Ned, the 250-room London hotel and club that is a collaboration between Soho House and the Sydell Group. It occupies Sir Edward Lutyens’ 1924 Midland Bank building, a Grade I-listed structure so vast there are eight restaurants on the main level, which retains the original checkerboard floor. “The faded glamour of a 1930s transatlantic ocean liner was the starting point for the design,” says Soho House design director Linda Boronkay. “We were inspired by the great ships, including the Normandie, as well as by the Orient Express.” Throughout, guests encounter velvet loungers, pleated lampshades and leather chairs. The most striking interior architectural features are 92 columns covered in green African Verdite, as seen here at The Nickel Bar. Each contains thousands of small shards. “From a distance they look like big sheets of stone,” says Boronkay. “You only discover the meticulous craftsmanship of them fitting perfectly together when you go up close.”
New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
“People went there to pay their utility bills and buy streetcar tokens,” says Prem Devadas, president of Salamander Hotels & Resorts. He’s referring to the NOPSI (New Orleans Public Service, Inc.) building designed by Louisiana architects Favrot and Livaudais in 1927 in “modern Renaissance style,” with 21-foot-tall vaulted ceilings and terrazzo floors. Salamander—whose CEO is businesswoman and BET co-founder Sheila Johnson—re-opened the building, which had been empty for 25 years. Now, the fully renovated NOPSI, locted in the Central Business District, showcases the grandeur of the structure while adding 21st-century touches. In the lobby, a rug replicates the signature floor designs, and copies of the original sconces—only two survived—enhance the walls. A connecting building houses the industrial-chic ballroom, with arched windows and exposed brick. “Sheila refers to it as the double bottom line: success in business and giving back to the community,” Devadas says. Throughout the hotel, guests will find framed utility statements and glass cases filled with memorabilia, including power-company cookbooks and issues of Riders’ Digest, a vintage newsletter handed out on streetcars. —Linda Lee