Upper East Side, New York, US
The Stylish Hotel
A stay at The Surrey will give you the feeling that you are staying at the private residence of a fabulous male designer. Since the first step to the lobby area up to the room and even to the oh-so-Coco Chanel Pleiades bar, I cannot stop thinking how sexy yet subtle is the whole ambience in this hotel. Located in one of Manhattan’s most exclusive addresses, the Upper East Side, and literally perched on the edge of Central Park, The Surrey is definitely a place where sophistication meets good taste.
Nestled inside a Beaux-Arts building built in pre-war times, The Surrey was treated to a more than $60 million beautification by renowned architect and interior designer Lauren Rottet, FAIA, IIDA. Different to other areas in New York, the Upper East Side is known for its residential townhouse characteristics. At The Surrey, we got to experience this ambience through the use of a refined palette of textures and hues of cream, silver, gray, light tobacco and black that creates a contemporary yet timeless appearance.
The hotel showcases coffered ceilings, limestone walls and moldings, and marble archways and floors in the lobby. Adding a sense of personality to the overall design is an array of eclectic pieces such as the front desk made of hand-tooled leather, and an antique oriental carpet in mosaic tiles that seem to have been acquired through worldly travels. However, it is Rottet’s artistic approach to feature a stunning collection of modern and contemporary works from a variety of renowned artists here that gives The Surrey its solid, stylish identity.
The art collection in this hotel is quite serious. From the obvious big tapestry featuring Kate Moss by Chuck Close as the focal point at the lobby, Jimmie Martin’s graffiti armoire, to even Mel Bochner’s one-of-a-kind, 50-foot print can be found at various places at this hotel. My advice is to ask the hotel staff to take you on a mini-tour to see all the art here, including some located inside the presidential suite and penthouse (including the work of Richard Serra).
The Surrey’s design really gives you a flair for the drama that goes entirely from the lobby to the rooms (known as salons). The continuity of pattern and texture in cream, silver, gray and black that goes to the salon is interpreted in art deco custom-designed furnishings such as hand-painted armoires, walnut cabinets and nightstands with burled wood insets. Again, the prints of 1700s etchings that Lauren Rottet found while traveling in Milan, as well as black-and-white photos of New York scenes form a balancing accent that gives you a residential feeling.
Additional facilities such as the discreet Cornelia spa on the 2nd floor, a roof garden overlooking Upper East Side and Central Park, and a Michelin Star Café Bouloud by the famous Chef Daniel Bouloud, are key elements that add up to the hotel’s overall fine style. The Surrey on the Upper East Side is the best example for those of you who are curious on sampling the ambience of New York’s prestigious society.