Archer Hotel New York’s Foyer Bar // © 2016 Archer Hotel New York
Feature image (above): Archer’s guestrooms are full of luxuries, including five-star bedding, Frette robes and more. // © 2016 Archer Hotel New York
Archer Hotel New York, the first and, at the moment, only property from independent boutique brand Archer, might be the most meticulous place to sleep in Manhattan. It’s clear that someone lovingly, painstakingly fussed over the hotel’s details, never wasting an opportunity to distill the essence of New York City in its design, guestrooms, amenities, restaurant or rooftop bar.
“The design narrative is modern and destination-centric, but immediately welcoming, as if you’re being swept into a great cocktail party,” said Cheryl Gilliam, senior vice president of brands and marketing for LodgeWorks, the privately held hotel development and management company that developed and owns Archer.
The Archer experience is most evident on the hotel’s 22nd floor at Spyglass Rooftop Bar. Spyglass is no basic hotel bar — it’s a happening NYC nightlife spot, which is evident through the number of New Yorkers also enjoying bespoke cocktails, small bites and surreal views of the Empire State Building. Locals also fill the downstairs lobby, where David Burke Fabrick restaurant and Foyer Bar attract lighthearted foodies who prefer to dine on whimsical food in an eclectic space. A guest favorite is the Clothesline Bacon: thick-cut, maple-glazed bacon clipped onto a miniature clothesline.
The hotel’s lively ambiance isn’t necessarily unique for the big city, but Archer’s cool vibes do stand out among the less trendy trappings of its Midtown location (on 38th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenue). This made the property a perfect compromise for me, who had business meetings within walking distance from the property, and my boyfriend, who was on vacation and wanted to soak up NYC’s energy.
So, it’s no surprise that travel agents are booking a mix of leisure and corporate clients at Archer.
“We love to work directly with travel agents who want to wow their clients,” Gilliam said. “It has been important for us to focus on corporate clients and secure acceptance in their travel programs. Once we’re in, our success has come through sharing Archer’s very thoughtful hallmarks including grade-A locations; ultra-personal, highly-rated service; and all the curated extras that add incredible value, such as complimentary arrival treats and daily turndown service.”
Archer is not just a hotel in the city, but an authentic part of it, too. And this — the hotel’s strong sense of local personality — will be what Archer’s oncoming hotels will have in common with the New York property.
Archer Hotel Austin is set to open late summer 2016 at The Domain shopping center in northwest Austin, Texas; Archer Hotel Napa is coming to downtown Napa in spring 2017; and Archer’s first suburban hotel, Archer Hotel Florham Park, is currently under construction in Florham Park, N.J., followed by additional suburban hotels in Burlington, Mass., and Redmond, Wash.
Gilliam says that Archer chooses locations that are desirable or emerging, but not necessarily easy to develop.
“We challenge our architectural and design teams to immerse themselves in the place, the history, the people and the guest’s experience,” she said. “Archer has a DNA of experience, but gives incredible freedom to showcase the destination without constraints of brand standards. It’s an open canvas.”
Indeed, Archer Hotel New York’s 180 guestrooms are oh-so Manhattan: small, but full of the city’s character, allowing for a luxury experience and a competitive price. Though different room types use various fabrics and palettes, my favorite features included white subway-tiled showers, brick statement walls, colorful leather and rich wood tables and paneling — and all of these capture the feeling of the subway, the buildings and the interiors of NYC.
Agents should be sure that clients are not expecting suites. Rooms are designed to waste no square footage through smart-design details, such as under-bed luggage storage, shaving ledges and floor-to-ceiling windows. Close your eyes and take a brief walk, and you’re likely to bump up against a luxury amenity, from Frette bathrobes and Malin+Goetz bath products to complimentary Nespresso coffee and local artisanal treats for turndown service.
I also loved that my room service breakfast was served in a no-frills paper bag, considering that a tray and formal setup would clutter our small room, wake up my still-sleeping boyfriend and probably delay my departure.
The rooms — though beautifully decorated and comfortable — are not meant to be where clients spend their entire day.
According to Gilliam, Archer attracts an independent traveler looking for new, nuanced experiences.
“They crave authenticity and notice sincerity,” she said. “It’s less about a demographic profile and more about a mindset.”
The New York property, which celebrated its second anniversary in May, continues to rank among the top 5 percent of New York hotels on TripAdvisor. But the hotel knows that a travel agent is essential in appropriately matching clients to the hotel.
“Any time they have a client that has booked, we encourage agents to email us with details for that traveler, such as special requests or any opportunities to personalize the stay,” Gilliam said. “We are thrilled to celebrate a special occasion with a personalized note from the hotel and the travel agency as well. Setting guest expectations and then delivering moments that inspire, surprise or delight is what we do best.”