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A Tale of Two Cities

2 minute read
JEFF CHU

How do you capture the essence of a city like London? And how do you embody that essence in a hotel? David Collins’ answer: the new London NYC. The Irish designer has transformed the former Rihga Royal, long a business traveler’s stalwart in New York City, infusing it with what he calls the “Anglo-European attitude” of Britain’s capital. Collins’ vision of London is modern and understated — no bellhops in Beefeater costumes here. England’s garden mazes inspired the lobby’s black-and-beige Travertine floor, while the meanders of its giant silk tapestry nod to the pathways of London’s parks. The London NYC’s guest rooms feel palatial — averaging 42 sq m, they’re atypically large in a city of closet-like accommodations. Collins leaves his materials — limed oak, rich leather, creamy cotton — largely unembellished and judiciously uses lush color, like the paisley-patterned wallpaper that could be 21st century William Morris. His best touch combines beauty, comfort and whimsy: the sleek white rocking chair moves like your grandpa’s but looks like modern sculpture.

What Collins has done with the hotel’s design, Gordon Ramsay has striven to achieve in its kitchens. The London NYC is home to the British chef’s American debut. Between his formal eponymous restaurant and the more laid-back London Bar, I’d opt for the buzzier, less stuffy bar. Its small-plates menu includes clever interpretations of traditional dishes; try Ramsay’s BLT — bacon and onion cream, chilled lettuce velouté and tomato gelée in a martini glass. Come to think of it, it’s a good metaphor for the hotel — a playful, beautiful twist on the time-honored. In other words, it’s very London. www.thelondonnyc.com

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