Not many properties can seamlessly fuse minimalism and luxury while avoiding pretension. Yet upon spinning into the simply mod, sizable lobby of AC Hotel New York Times Square—amidst New York’s busiest cross streets—I somehow find myself transported; relaxed, comfortable, and right at home.
The Spanish corporation’s chain of design-driven properties opened at the helm of New York City’s Garment District and Times Square in April 2018. “It’s an oasis at the heart of a bustling city,” says Stephanie Donnelly, General Manager of AC Hotel New York Times Square. “It’s calming but activated; the spaces, the music, everything activates your senses so you feel different walking in here. When you walk outside, you know you’re in Times Square.”
AC Hotels brand prides itself on each property reflecting its locale, and for the Times Square hotel, this means contradicting the chaos of the city with a soothing ambience, while simultaneously embracing the chaos and repositioning it in a discernible fashion. This is portrayed in the property’s northern facing rooms, where floor-to-ceiling windows showcase the Manhattan skyline, which provides guests—or essentialists as the brand refers to their travelers—an immediate sense of place. “Everything is thought out and intentional,” explains Donnelly. “When we travel for work, we don’t often get to take in the views of the city. AC Hotels allows you these moments.”
Everything is simplified, from the natural lighting, neutral decor, and sleek textures outfitting the rooms to the open closet concept, which ensures the prominent clientele of business travelers (usually checking in for two or three nights) won’t leave an outfit behind. “I have such a passion for this hotel and this brand,” says Donnelly. “It speaks to my personal values. I like the opportunity to tie-in local culture and to really curate moments.”
If you’re not sold on the fact that you’re at the heart of Manhattan, all you have to do is buzz up to Castell, the property’s stoic rooftop cocktail bar. The malleable space embodies a cozy chalet in the winter and an indoor-outdoor living space during the warmer months. Order up a specially-crafted cocktail and stare out at The Empire State building to truly absorb the ebb-and-flow of the city.
We caught up with Donnelly to learn more about the brand and the New York property below:
What is the most requested room?
The City View King Room.
What makes it so special?
The amazing views and the space that you have. The floor-to-ceiling slanted windows let you take in the whole city from sunrise to sunset. The City View Rooms are on the 17th and 18th floors so overlook the NYTimes building and its atrium. I love the views when the sun is setting and all the lights are turning on. When we travel for work, we don’t often get to take in the views of the city. You want to see more of the city but you’re so busy; AC Hotels allows you those moments, whether you’re in your room or in the lobby.
What is the rate?
It fluctuates based on special events, busy season, and even from day to day. The demand is constantly changing in this city.
What room is your personal favorite?
We were able to create and curate this fantastic suite with photographer Nigel Barker. He’s such an advocate for AC Hotels and he helped us design an experience with this room. It’s a city view room featuring only his photography which you won’t see elsewhere throughout the hotel. Some of the photographs are negatives turned positives so offer this dark contrast against a white skyline. Getting to experience the art is an immersive experience and being able to trace where those moments were taken is an appreciation for the arts and the skill that Nigel has.
Any fun facts about the hotel or rooms?
There’s really unique hanging installation specifically curated for this hotel in the atrium, designed by Sarah West. We wanted to pay homage to the Garment District and she captured the iconic image of this area with her work. Sarah also has jewelry that she designs in our AC store, and that’s also unique to us.