By Coleman Bentley
In a city that wants for no luxury, the absence of a Viceroy was an undeniable blemish.
That fact couldn’t have resonated with more clarity than it did as I stepped off 57th street and into the double-height lobby of the nearly completed Viceroy New York. If its adjacency to Central Park, Madison Avenue boutiques, and the Theater District didn’t already make it clear, the commanding, steel-etched map of Gotham hanging above the lobby desk did: Viceroy belongs here and, when the haute haven opens its doors on October 9, it is sure to prove it.
After being introduced to charismatic and oft thrill-seeking CEO of Viceroy Hotel Group, Bill Walshe (just ask him about the time he scaled the rock climbing wall at Viceroy Anguilla), Walshe then introduced me to Viceroy New York’s signature bar and restaurant, Kingside, which runs the length of the lobby, welcoming guests with it’s retro black and white motif and the inventive new American cuisine of chef Marc Murphy. Also boasting a Gerber Group-developed cocktail program, a globe-trotting wine list, and a variety of small-batch spirits, Kingside is sure to offer the perfect icebreaker for all that lies above it.
Which is a great deal, of course, for it is in the hotel’s 240 thoughtfully appointed guestrooms and suites—spread across 29 park view-packed floors —that the stunning Roman and Williams design motifs truly begin to take hold. “We were inspired by noir, as in film noir; notoriously stylish, a collision of the old world and the new world.” Robin Standefer, one of the firm’s principles, has said of the design, and Walshe echoed her sentiments throughout, using one word, “modernity”, as a boilerplate from which to build the Viceroy New York’s identity. And while the hotel certainly keeps up with its downtown competition in terms of the times (amenity controlling smart phones and Beats By Dre sound in every room being prime examples), it still retains a quiet sophistication with rich brown leather, glinting brass accents, and minimalist design that puts the true art—Central Park’s chameleon expanse, visible through the floor-to-ceiling windows—on full display.
The Viceroy New York’s social spaces unfurl in similar fashion, with a combination of custom-designed and vintage appointments turning meeting and board rooms, function spaces, and an underground fitness center and swimming pool into veritable collisions of old and new. Throughout these areas, figured stone, a common visual element of early 20th century NYC, revives the jazz-age glamour for which the city is architecturally renowned.
“The New York market has been waiting for the Viceroy name for some time, and we have wanted to be there,” said Walshe, summing up the theme of our sneak-peek.“Our first Viceroy branded hotel in the city has to be exceptional, and this development is quite simply perfect.”