Hôtel Americano, West Chelsea, Manhattan, NYC, NY ***

Q: What is it? A: One of the more talked about additions to the New York hotel scene. Friendly staff and some cool features in the rooms but they have another mile or two to go before I’d call it an ”urban ryokan”.

Hotel Americano, Chelsea, New York – the bed area
The kind of quirky interior design that interior design magazines love to put on the cover. Let’s call this the ummm… the… the… bed area. Because a wooden cube isn’t a room. Not even in a studio.

Hotel Americano, Chelsea, New York – the bathroom
This is a rather tiny but functional bathroom as long as you’re not the average young lady with more than three bottles and/or brushes. Bathrooms that come with a tub always deserve an honorable mention, though.

Hotel Americano, Chelsea, New York – the studio with hanging fireplace
This room is called a studio and it’s one of the larger at this hotel. Note the hanging fireplace. And the vinyl bean bag chair. Sadly, the fireplace was out of function, which sort of devaluates such a nifty little addition to your room… ahem, studio interior.

The Americano, Chelsea, New York – the exterior
Exterior by NYC-based Mexican architect Enrique Norten of Ten Arqitectos, recipient of the Mies van der Rohe Award for Latin American Architecture. Note the artful positioning of my silver luggage case by the tree to the left.

This used to be club territory.
People in real estate called it OuCh – Outer Chelsea. Former taxi garages were turned into nightclubs. The street often turned into a zoo. Puff Daddy arrived dressed as a Roman emperor. Royalty held Cristal battles. Cain Luxe was located here on 27th. As was Pink Elephant before they moved. As was Guest House, B.E.D., Home, and Spirit with their hiphop parties. Marquee is still there (just around the corner on 10th Ave). That’s how Club Row on 27th used to be. Now… order on this site! Let’s get back to reviewing hotels, shall we?

Now the area of galleries, art shows and… hotels.
The Mexican Grupo Habita rolled in and on the 6th of September 2011 they opened a converted parking garage as the Hôtel Americano. The facade is funky. Enrique Norten, the building’s architect, encased the entire glass building in a metal mesh. Inside, the hotel stays true to that industrial concept with Arnaud Montigny of MCH being responsible for the interior. Concrete rules. Walls and floors are raw. The lobby isn’t a lobby but a café with the front desk squeezed into the left wall. I’m glad that the staff is much more welcoming than the interior. Chris takes good care of me on arrival and reception is super-friendly. They must have learned from the initial, negative feedback which suggested this hotel was way too cool for simple beings such as guests.

Cosy? Not so much.
First impression: ”Woo, this is different…” A good feeling if you don’t want to stay in a Marriott. A few minutes later I’d like to call that Arnaud-guy up, as I doubt that I want to stay much longer. The bed, encased in a giant wooden cube is cool, but the bathroom is not. The floor is raw and the idea of a bean bag chair in rain-safe vinyl makes me wonder if it was ever designed for sitting (on the manufacturer’s website it says ”suitable for outdoor use”). When looks prevail over function, I start to have doubts. Also, the hanging fireplace can’t be fired up and the iPad with curated playlists refuses to cooperate. As a bonus, I realize that getting a room too close to the elevator isn’t exactly like winning 1st prize, as this building is far from sound proof.

Does it sound like I’m not satisfied?
Journalists and bloggers have been competing to write up this hotel. I can not wholeheartedly join its choir of supporters. What makes me keep the third star is the staff, as they are a happy, friendly bunch who add a much-needed warmth to this establishment. It’s highly likely that I’ll book myself in here again soon, as I a) want to find out more, and b) I’m glad that places like this exist. Well, sort of. The Grupo Habita have challenged various hospitality conventions and for that I applaud them. The Americano also comes with a rooftop pool with enough space for one fashion model. Two if they’re really good friends. Need to try that (with or without models). I’m going to finish this rather lukewarm review now, but I’ll be back soon.

Hôtel Americano
518 W 27th St,
New York, NY 10001
United States

+1 212-216-0000

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