Rising above mid-town Manhattan like a medieval castle out of a Flash Gordon film, the Bryant Park Hotel is the place to go in New York City if you want to fast-forward to the 22nd century and lose yourself in luxury.
A spawn of the Art Deco period, the set lending to the hotel’s majesty is the 1924 landmark American Radiator Building on West 40th Street, plonked between Fifth Avenue and Avenue of the Americas overlooking Bryant Park. Its stateliness splendour inspired Geogia O’Keefe’s famous painting Radiator Building - Night, New York and spurred her lover, photographer Alfred Steiglitz, to include the building in his cityscapes.
Philip Pilevsky, a former partner of Ian Schrager, is the mastermind behind the building’s luxurious transformation into a 129-room hotel and renowned British architect David Chipperfield is the man to thank for the plush interior. Chocolate leather headboards, B&B Italia chaise lounges, lipstick-red leather panels, lacquer in the lobby, white walls standing naked like a blank canvas in the bedroom and marmalade-coloured Tibetan rugs declare Chipperfield’s austere aesthetics.
The stylish surroundings are matched with technology to make every guest feel like James Bond. When visitors rock up to the hotel the bellboy quickly whizzes them into their room with a PDA register that cuts out the nasty scene of angry luggage laden lines at the front desk. It’s no wonder the roster of people who’ve already sunk into the designer beds and thrown the cashmere blankets around them like a cloak reads like a Who’s Who of the music and movie industries.
A stunning 70-seat screening room is the hotel’s crown jewel, offering a director’s console and sound system that any movie mogul would envy. Baz Luhrmann utilised the facilities to premiere Moulin Rouge. Screenings are equally impressive in the rooms. If you’re not feeling up to the crowds on Broadway, you can laze in bed watching Sunday in the Park and Damn Yankees.
If you’ve yet to feel like you’ve died and gone to heaven, Bryant Park’s restaurant ‘Ilo’ (Finnish for ‘bliss’) will soon transform your state of mind. Head chef Rick Laakkonen (of New York’s River Café fame) follows an award-winning script. He is of a rare breed of chefs who is solidly grounded in the fundamentals of flavour, texture and harmony, yet at the same time is effortlessly inventive. Beyond the pudding, happing endings can be found in the Cellar Bar, one of New York’s trendiest haunts that lures the Big Apple’s techno-smart, cinematically savvy, fashion-forward crowds.
The Bryant Park - Manhattan’s obvious choice for metropolitan chic.