Think of an archetypal New York design aesthetic and no doubt you’ll conjure up images of bare brick walls, Mid-Century lighting and neon graffiti. This is a New York as we’ve seen immortalised in Seinfeld, Friends, Sex and the City and Mad Men.
The Roxy Hotel in Tribeca packages this all up, and more, for the modern millennial traveller. Once known as the Tribeca Grand Hotel, it has been reborn as The Roxy, and utterly encapsulates the feel of downtown New York in its design ethos.
Local designer Briana Stanley has an eye for the minutae and so rooms have interesting details: mid-century bedside-lights, contemporary honeycomb-print wallpaper in the bathrooms, curvy walls and Tivoli radios. The mushroom-taupe palette of my room was lifted with metallic-gold flashes on the curtains, a teal velvet chair and a bulbous, orange 70s lamp. While it’s all very original and on-trend, luxury is not skimped on – expect Frette bathrobes, Egyptian cotton bedlinen and iPads pre-loaded with a curated Neighborhood Guide. Toiletries from C.O. Bigelow are a nice quirky touch, too.
Downstairs, in the large communal lobby-come-lounge, is where the hotel comes into its own. Its aim is to become the ‘ultimate living room’ for the area’s vibrant arts world with a series of hip collaborations with in-the-know names. It’s a veritable paradise for people-watching.
Here, hidden away, is where you’ll find the private Paul’s Cocktail Lounge, for example. It is open Wednesday to Saturday but be warned – entry is down to the doorman’s discretion and attracts NY’s coolest of the cool. It’s owned by Paul Sevigny, brother of Chloe, and is inspired by a 1950s-style Palm Beach. The cocktail menu is courtesy of noted mixologists Jeremy Oertel and Natasha David, and waitresses are dressed in flamboyant Chloe Sevigny-designed outfits. Hipsters dance to a soundtrack played by some of the city’s most in-demand DJs in a wild coral and emerald room with floral wallpaper and patterned mirrors.
Back in the rough-luxe communal lounge, jazz is playing. In fact, jazz is the backbeat here with live bands on stage every evening and later in the basement jazz-club, The Django. Based on classic Jazz Age Parisian boîtes, this will take you back in time, with its supper-club feel: think vintage lighting fixtures, vaulted ceiling and French furniture.
Once a 1920s movie theatre, the hotel references its past throughout the ground floor with its bare-brick walls, red velvet curtains, decorative tin-clad ceilings and worn-out leather sofas. Service is friendly and helpful and cuisine is simple and hearty. The all-day eaterie is headed up by chef Joseph Abbruzzese, formerly of the Breslin, and offers an all-American menu, with locally-sourced and organic ingredients. Bringing in a cool, laid-back crowd are the oysters, bucatini lobster, black sea bass, lemon chicken – all perfectly executed. Sunday brunch is a highlight with a baked ham carving station, black raspberry coffee cake, house-made waffles and omelettes made to order.
For something a tad more intimate the Roxy Bar, tucked away beside the restaurant, is a sleek, Art-Deco space with a short-but-sweet craft cocktail list (it does a mean Dirty Harry).
Film buffs are in the ideal location here, not just because of the Tribeca Film Festival (April) but also as there’s an in-house cinema. The hotel has again called in expert help with film curators David Koh and Dan Braun, of Submarine Films, championing independent and foreign films.
The most recent collaboration is with Jack’s Stir Brew Coffee, NY’s home-grown coffee company, famous for its custom espresso specials (the East Village opening was one of NYC’s first fair-trade coffee shops).
The final flourish is the soon-to-open branch of Blackstones. This first outpost of the innovative East Village hair-salon will offer blow-drys and barber-shop services. Due to open this month (May), it will have an eccentric 18th-century mood with powder-blue walls, wall-mounted wild-life and antique grooming tools. It’s New York, but perhaps not quite as you know it.
The Roxy Hotel, 2 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10013; +1 212 519 6600. From $299 per night, room only, excluding taxes. For more information, visit www.roxyhotelnyc.com.