In retrospect, standing outside the Royalton for the first time was a delightful moment. As though hand-carved in high relief out of monolithic stone, the hotel’s façade and bright red double-door, flanked by majestic Ionic columns, signaled perfectly what was to come—namely, a truly transporting experience.
The lobby, recently redesigned in 2007 by the New York design firm Roman and Williams, immediately and simultaneously soothes and excites with its dark and sexy palette of mahogany and midnight blue lit by the comforting orange glow of a huge hand-forged cast-iron fireplace. As sirens call sailors, sunken seating areas called to me to melt into their soft suede, leather, and animal-skin clad couches and chairs perhaps—no, make that definitely—with a cocktail and an urge to meet and converse with the clientele doing the same. A subtle playful yet sophisticated feeling filled the room. From the subtly classical Greek design elements of the façade to the suggestion of Alice in Wonderland via the red door, or the elements of African tribal art in the hand-upholstered leather walls, or the almost Medieval English and lodge-y elements of the décor—all these diverse elements combine into a charming and worldly whole.
This was, however, fashion week with all its attendant obligations, so I somehow managed to avoid the spell, albeit reluctantly, and resolved to return to this wonderful space. Headed to my room, I passed by some of the staff, and they all greeted me warmly and without a hint of disingenuousness. I felt very welcome.
The room itself gave me a smile that would not leave my face for sometime. Bright and spacious, elegant and polished, the suite featured plush wall-to-wall window banquettes and a beautiful view overlooking midtown Manhattan. Putting down my things and taking a seat by the window, I immediately wanted to cancel my plans and invite some friends over to share the space, a bottle or two of wine, and each other’s company. I was starting to feel that wonderful homey feeling. My imagination began to work on the times I could have being here for a more extended stay. I noticed a hotel-provided iPad laid out for me—a nice touch. That was it. I wanted to play! I wanted to order room service -from my temporary hotel room iPad! I wanted to meet some people downstairs at the newly refurbished Fourty Four. Perhaps a Champagne Cobbler or a Singapore Sling prepared by Fourty Four’s seasoned mixologist’s? Throw an impromptu get-together!
All in all, the Hotel Royalton is a superbly-balanced, sophisticated yet extremely comfortable place with all the details carefully thought out and executed masterfully. I highly recommend staying there. Just don’t have too many plans. Once you are under the Royalton’s spell, you’ll want to change them.
44 West 44th Street
New York, NY 10036