Officially opened yesterday after a $270 million-dollar renovation of an iconic 1960s Albert C. Ledner building, Dream Downtown is situated on the cusp of two of Manhattan’s most exciting neighborhoods for art and design – Chelsea and the Meatpacking District. The 190,000 square-foot property marks a reinvigoration of the Dream brand by Vikram Chatwal Hotels, a collection of upscale lifestyle properties in coveted locations worldwide, from New York to Miami and Bangkok. Presided over by internationally renowned architecture firm Handel Architects and leading design partner Frank Fusaro, the hotel offers 316 guestrooms and suites, a lobby restaurant and VIP penthouse lounge both operated by TAO/Strategic Group, a fine dining restaurant concept by internationally acclaimed Dr./Chef Miguel Sánchez Romera, as well as an expansive pool deck, contemporary beach club and extensive fitness facilities with spa services.
Fronting both 16th and 17th Streets, Dream Downtown marks Chatwal’s fifth hotel opening in New York, with existing properties The Time, Night, Dream New York and Stay. all sharing uptown locations in Manhattan’s theater district.
Architecture & Design
With Dream Downtown, Frank Fusaro of Handel Architects has successfully captured and modernized the surreal aesthetic that has become synonymous with the Dream hotels brand. The original building – designed in 1966 for the National Maritime Union by Albert C. Ledner – has enjoyed a storied past as a union annex and, during the 1980s, a halfway home managed by Covenant House. Fusaro worked to preserve the building’s distinct character, including its unique block-like structure and portal windows, while revealing a potential for new expression and function in its current standing as an upscale hotel.
To make the exterior suitable for its newfound hospitality purposes, Fusaro and the Handel design team added additional maritime-inspired windows of varying dimensions, thereby creating a façade that respects the essence of the Ledner vision while transforming it to accommodate the hotel’s guestroom program. The resplendent façade, newly clad in stainless steel, is inspired by modern artist Anish Kapoor’s installation Sky Mirror, and creates stunning celestial reflections when light hits the exterior, making the circular windows appear as though they were floating. The design team also used the sloping façade on 17th Street as an opportunity to offer the hotel a wide variety of room types, as well as a different experience each time guests visit.
Interiors & Guestrooms
Throughout the interiors of the property, Handel Architects captured the essence of another downtown legend, the visionary Andy Warhol and his Factory of artistic personalities. Influenced by the gritty yet sleek aesthetic of The Factory – the walls of its expansive loft space adorned with reflective aluminum foil – Dream Downtown transports the metallic theme to the modern day, with layers of silver serving as the shimmering backdrop to the guest experience and advancing the feel of limitless space. The palette of sparkling silvers, grays, purples, glass and chrome complements the hotel’s remarkable 17th Street façade.
The spacious guestrooms are loft-inspired, reinvented with Ardex cement floors featuring a slight sheen and deconstructed patchwork Tabriz rugs positioned under the beds, flanked by contemporary pieces such as a butter-leather Chester love seat and an oxblood Safari chair. Custom-chrome FX headboards mimic the hotel’s façade, while customized Etro amenities bedeck the bathroom. Gorgeous teak honor bars feature 375 sized bottles of select liquors, custom stemware and purple spot lighting with a peek-a-boo “window” into the bar’s offerings. Elemental materials – particularly warm teak woods – balance the industrial-chic aesthetic in a natural and sophisticated manner, while carefully curated details add a sense of the handcrafted at every corner.
For optimal views, many of the guestrooms feature Juliet balconies, while several of the suites even feature private pool deck patios.
Pool Deck, Beach Club & Fitness Facilities
Newly created by Handel Architects and brimming with stylized Côte d’Azur glamour, the exclusive pool deck is located between the southern and northern wings of the property and resides directly above the lobby lounge, with a translucent glass bottom peering down below. The whimsical outdoor terrace and garden stand as the central focus for the hotel, featuring a chic lifeguard staff, day-lit outdoor bar and grill specializing in gourmet burgers and hand-crafted cocktails, and a dedicated beach club – complete with white sand and plush lounge chairs – ideal for sunbathing.
Perched above the outdoor pool area, with magnificent views of the surrounding neighborhood, is a 1,500 square-foot fitness center with state-of-the-art Cybex equipment and spa treatment rooms.
Dining & Nightlife
Just off of Dream Downtown’s 16th Street entrance and adjacent to the sleek concierge and reception area is Marble Lane, a contemporary steak restaurant with an international touch courtesy of Executive Chef Miguel Treviño, formerly head chef at Lavo and a celebrated Top Chef alum. Operated by TAO/Strategic Group, the powerhouse behind successful nightlife and dining ventures TAO, Avenue, Lavo and Marquee, Marble Lane is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as 24-hour room service. At dusk the restaurant-lounge becomes the ideal spot for early evening cocktails and socializing. Décor elements include sumptuous black leather banquets, low-slung seating and European-inspired white marble tables.
Also operated by TAO/Strategic Group is Manhattan’s latest social hive, PH-D Rooftop Lounge, or “Penthouse at Dream.” Evoking the early ‘80s era of excess when Wall Street jet set mingled with New Wave cool, PH-D features a spacious dance hall, elevated DJ booth and state-of-the-art sound equipment housed between two floor-to-ceiling glass walls. One of the walls opens onto an expansive outdoor terrace offering magnificent views of the Manhattan skyline.
Opening fall 2011, Romera New York, an intimate 65-seat venue with a dedicated entrance on 16th Street, will be the first project from Dr./Chef Miguel Sánchez Romera in the United States. Romera New York offers an introduction to Neuro-gastronomy, a culinary style pioneered by Chef Romera. Neuro-gastronomy embodies a holistic approach to food, addressing the relationship between the purity of ingredients, the taste-memories evoked through food, and the ceremony that is fine dining. The restaurant will offer a 12-course tasting menu that allows diners to explore this completely unique style of cuisine in an ethereal and elegant setting.
Rounding out the hotel’s superb entertainment venues is a 4,500 square-foot exhibition space located on the ground floor, available for private events and functions.
In-season room rates at Dream Downtown start from U.S. $395, based on double occupancy. For more information and to make a reservation, contact 1.800.336.4110 or visit www.dreamdowntown.com.