How NYC's Ritz-Carlton NoMad is bucking expectations

A rendering of the Ritz-Carlton NoMad. Photo credit: Marriott International (The city’s second Ritz-Carlton will open in New York’s NoMad neighborhood, but its aesthetic is not expected to be typical of a luxury hotel.)

It’s not every day that a new Ritz-Carlton hotel is announced, and at the end of July Marriott International revealed plans for its second such hotel in New York City. The city’s second Ritz-Carlton is expected to open in 2021 in the NoMad neighborhood—also known as North of Madison Square Park—joining the Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park.

Flag Luxury Group is developing the hotel and residences tower, which will be located at Broadway and 28th Street. The property is being designed by architect Rafael Vinoly and New York-based interior design firm Yabu Pushelberg.

Tim Grisius, global real estate officer at Marriott International, said the location of the property is strategic. After all, luxury hotel developments are few and far between, and in a city like New York where every square foot comes with a steep price tag, it always matters where you plant your flag.

“We’re thrilled to have a more than $500-million Ritz-Carlton under construction in NoMad, one of Manhattan’s fastest growing centers for creative and tech firms that’s also becoming known for intriguing architecture, shopping, dining and nightlife venues,” Grisius said. “We believe the Ritz-Carlton customer is going to want to stay, dine and socialize in this neighborhood in the years to come.”

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The hotel tower will include 250 hotel rooms and 16 branded residences, a composition typical of modern luxury hotel developments and something of an expectation from Marriott. The company recently revealed plans to increase its portfolio of branded residential rooms by more than 70 percent over the next four years, earmarking brands such as Ritz-Carlton, St. Regis, Edition and W for the effort.

In fact, Marriott already has 60 branded residential projects approved for development, signing 13 last year alone. Tony Capuano, EVP and global chief development officer at Marriott, said the signing of the Ritz-Carlton NoMad speaks to the “strong demand we are experiencing for luxury hospitality and branded residences,” so it makes sense to expect more of these combinations to come in the future.

However, branded residences constitute only a part of the whole that is the new property. The hotel also includes a fine-dining restaurant, the Ritz-Carlton brand’s Club Lounge, a spa, a fitness center and a rooftop bar. For public spaces, the hotel will offer a garden and open terraces that will include greenery and trees, as well as two ballrooms for corporate and social gatherings.

While much of the property’s interior design cannot yet be revealed, designer Glenn Pushelberg of Yabu Pushelberg said his team is approaching the property’s aesthetic as something that blurs the lines between private and public spaces, creating an atmosphere that can be private when needed and open when desired. This mentality is common in hospitality, but not for a luxury hotel.

“To us, the NoMad is not about grandness but intimacy,” Pushelberg said. “It will be more residential, more tailored and a little tighter than you would think. The lobby lounge is a more linear space.”

Luxury Deconstruction

Pushelberg said he wants to turn guests’ expectations on their head when they enter the hotel through its use of materials. For instance, he said terrazzo tiles normally never would belong in a luxury hotel, but in this case they are making use of them.

“The great thing about New York is that the city is all about embracing new ideas,” Pushelberg said. “If you have a new concept, it will do great. Is there saturation in the hotel market? Of course, but that’s the way the economy rolls. We don’t want this hotel to be the biggest, we want it to be the best.”

Designer George Yabu said the hotel’s guestrooms are anticipated to be roughly 450 feet, which is larger than the average guestroom size for the city but smaller than a typical luxury room. However, he’s willing to gamble that with the right design mentality this property can bring a residential feel to the rooms that make them feel larger and more interactive.

“If you are there a few days, sure you can tolerate a few things. But the Holy Grail for hotel designers and hoteliers is if you can bear to stay and love it for five days,” Yabu said. “If so, that is a winner.”

Grisius acknowledged that the competition in New York’s flourishing luxury hotel market is fierce.  

“New York’s luxury market continues to grow, and this hotel is the latest example of this evolution,” Grisius said. “The Ritz-Carlton hotel will bring a fresh, modernist take on luxury to a part of the city that is hungry for this type of product and service.”