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Everyone knows the Chrysler building, but not everyone knows of one of the lushest ways to enjoy the New York City landmark. That’s because The Tuscany, a St Giles Luxury Hotel is a new property, marking the global hotel brand’s first entry to North America. Though everything in the rooms — from the crown molding to the furniture — is brand-new, the best features of the building date back to the era of the Art Deco building itself.
The brownstone that houses the hotel, located in Murray Hill in Midtown East, was built in 1927 for use as an apartment building. In the 1950s, it was turned into a hotel. Most recently, it was owned by Starwood and branded as a W Hotel until St. Giles acquired the property in 2009.
The hotel group did soft renovations to the next-door sister property, The Court, A St. Giles Premier Hotel, which caters to a younger demographic with a bar, dimmer lighting and a trendier ambience. The Tuscany, on the other hand, was closed for most of 2012 as it underwent a complete renovation. As a result, the Tuscany has a completely different feel and look than a W property, despite early predictions by hotel critics. During the gutting of the property, several fortunate discoveries were made that have allowed for an improved hotel experience for guests.
One discovery was that there was a lot of plaster and other unnecessary materials on the ceilings of the rooms, so construction raised the ceilings by about a foot-and-a-half, creating a very open and spacious feeling. In addition to providing some of the biggest rooms available in New York, The Tuscany is also well-lit.
“Everyone complains about the lighting and size of New York’s hotel rooms,” said Dayna Castano, director of business transient & international sales at St Giles New York - The Tuscany and The Court. “We installed extra lighting above the headboard, and our smallest rooms start at 350 square feet.”
Another discovery made when inspecting the building’s foundation was the existence of fireplaces, which have been restored and are now included in the property’s suites in the living room areas. Though the fireplaces do not currently work, there are plans to create electric fireplaces in these spaces by the winter time. The fireplace is just one example of the upscale, yet homey feeling of the property.
Designer Jeff Lincoln had only designed luxury homes before working on The Tuscany, and his aesthetic focuses on textures, with rooms featuring rich, luxurious fabrics and deep, dark woods. The use of materials varies from room to room, but some materials include dark oak bed frames, reclaimed white oak floors, leather panels and velvet couches and chairs. The color palette is well balanced and reflects this well-appointed but livable aesthetic, balancing the use of rich colors such as gold, deep reds and browns with light and neutral colors. From the leather paneling around the LED televisions to a chair’s sunken-in polka dots, the materials used beg to be touched and admired.
As a result, artwork is minimal. Each 700-foot loft suite features a Maharam Digital Projects large-scale wall installation, created by one of three artists: Marilyn Minter, Sir Paul Smith or Sarah Morris. The favorite one I saw was a design by Sir Paul Smith inspired by travel, featuring a pattern of international stamps and a map.
And while I loved the art, the extra space, the great lighting, the comfort of my living room’s mini kitchen, wraparound couch and homey fireplace, my favorite part of working in my suite at The Tuscany was my desk-side view of the Chrysler, inspiring my creative energy and imbuing a bit of the city’s spark into my work.
Get to Know St. Giles
Existing St. Giles hotels
Future St. Giles projects include properties in Penang, Malaysia; London; and Sydney
Fast Facts about The Tuscany
Number of guestrooms: 123
Most lavish room: the 17th floor Penthouse Suite, slated to open this fall
Location: East 39th Street
Proximity to LaGuardia Airport: 9 miles