Boutique hotel brand Affinia Hotels reinvented the hotel lobby with the redesign of the lobby at Affinia Gardens, an all-suite hotel on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.
From the East 64th Street threshold, the lobby resembles a contemporary living room. Facing the entrance is a handmade fireplace set in a wood-paneled wall lined with shelves of gardening books from around the world and re-purposed garden tools as accents. Upholstered chairs flank the hearth, accented by four leather ottomans that serve as a coffee table. Two arched floor lamps complete the tableau done in rich earth colors of nutty brown, golden rod yellow and warm grey.
According to Christina Zimmer, principal at Stonehill & Taylor, the firm responsible for the renovation, inspiration came from the idea of an Upper East Side garden to create a modern and comforting reception area where guests could feel immediately home.
Influences of the hotel's garden theme are visible in the Living Room through the use of color and natural materials, including woods and stone, which create a communal residential environment. The floor is honed marble. The reception desk was inspired by a potter’s table, made of walnut and zinc, accented by overhead lights fashioned from upside-down copper pots. The limited color palette is said to keep the intimate space cohesive, making the check-in area part of the Living Room. Prints of heritage begonias, created by the design team, grace one wall, and the pattern on the seating area carpet was recreated from a photograph of a garden path, an initial inspiration for the room.
Another new feature of the Living Room is The Cupboard. Named after one of the most-visited places at home, and with a contemporary take on the general store, it offers grab-and-go food, beverages, sundries and merchandise displayed with moss, a playful nod to the garden theme. Instead of putting The Cupboard in a separate room, Stonehill & Taylor placed it on open shelves that run along the wall between the entrance and the check-in desk, further enhancing the residential feel of the room.
To the left of the Living Room is the newly designed Tea Lounge. More casual and intimate, it features two chocolate leather chairs and a leather couch framed by black wood end tables and bronze table lamps with oversized shades. An area rug in creams and espresso are also in the conversational area and complements the dark-wood flooring. A black wood communal table serves up a Mac computer. There is also a flat-screen TV, and a rotating library.
Affinia Gardens offers business and leisure travelers suites of up to 900 square feet, with fully equipped kitchens, and some featuring fully furnished, private patio terraces. As part of the redesign, Affinia Gardens now has complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the public spaces. There are also two entrances, one directly into the lobby and one closer to the elevators, for additional privacy.
Affinia Hotels is operated by Denihan Hospitality Group, a privately-held hotel management company with more than 50 years of hospitality management expertise.
Stonehill & Taylor is an architecture and interior design firm based in New York City. The firm’s projects include: The Ace Hotel, The NoMad Hotel, Crosby Street Hotel, Hilton New York, Hyatt Regency Minneapolis, The President Hotel and the new Hyatt House brand. Stonehill & Taylor has designed the highest number of LEED certified hotels in New York and the first LEED Gold hotel with the Crosby Street Hotel.