The renovated New York hotel has suites to match its enviable location, writes Christopher Silvester.
Located at just the right level on Park Avenue at 61st Street, Loews Regency New York Hotel has 379 rooms, including 58 suites. Six of these suites are Signature Suites, which were designed by various designers including Rottet Studio, Meyer Davis, Haynes-Roberts and Nate Berkus. Meyer Davis also designed the Regency Bar & Grill and the Julien Farel Restore Salon & Spa and JF Men, which occupies part of the hotel’s first and ground floors. Fifty-four of the standard rooms are twin doubles. The suites contain custom-made furniture, some of it with marble tops or covered in faux stingray skin.
Originally opened as a hotel in 1963, it closed in December 2012 for a 54-week renovation that cost $125 million, reopening in January 2014. The overall tenor of the decor used to be super-masculine, with lots of dark wood on display. Jonathan Tisch, the CEO of Loews Hotels & Resorts since 1989, approved a new design scheme that was inspired by Art Deco and is reminiscent of the staterooms on a 1930s cruise ship (though with modern flat-screen TVs).
There are four suites with outdoor terraces and views on to Park Avenue, but their vista is
somewhat curtailed by buildings of equal or greater height immediately across the street. My preference was for those suites on the north-west corner of the building, with views
across lower adjacent buildings, with their picturesque rooftop water towers (a delightful New York phenomenon), the lush treetops of Central Park in the middle distance, and beyond that the turreted residential blocks of Central Park West.
The suite at 1620, ‘The Glamour Suite’, is a pied à terre that was inspired by Marilyn Monroe and designed by Lauren Rottet, who also designed the hotel’s lobby and guest rooms and two out of six signature suites.
The Julian Farel Restore & Spa has a separate entrance on 61st Street but can also be reached from within the hotel, enabling guests to migrate to and from their rooms in bathrobes. Julian Farel’s flagship salon moved to the Loews Regency from around the corner on Madison Avenue. (Its other location is in that destination resort for the American super-rich, Los Cabos in Mexico.) Farel has a stalwart celebrity clientele and will charge up to $1,000 for a woman’s haircut. (He cuts Jon Tisch’s hair — well, back and sides.)
You can treat yourself to the power breakfast at the Loews Regency Bar & Grill, a renowned institution which regularly fills all 200 of its covers on weekdays, or you can have a lighter breakfast at the hotel’s coffee shop on 61st Street.
From 61st Street it is easy to enter the designer shopping stretch of Madison Avenue, and if you need swift, expert advice, the concierge will arrange for personal stylists to assist you.
You can also visit the Met Breuer on Madison Avenue and 75th (named after the brutalist Marcel Breuer, who designed the building), a new destination for lovers of Modern and Contemporary art. Early morning bespoke tours are available (8.30-10am) before the museum opens to the public.
It is a short hop to the Museum of the City of New York, which, apart from its permanent collection of portraits of prominent New Yorkers and other Americans, offers a number of smaller exhibitions. On the day I visited, there were exhibitions devoted to the Gilded Age, Yiddish theatre, radical protest movements in the city, and the work of New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast.