The design brief required the reconfiguration of the basement, ground and part first floors of the existing luxury Lowell Hotel on East 63rd Street. The brief was to create much needed public areas for the hotel, including a new bar, restaurant, reception lobby, and guest club room, it also required the interior character and nature of the existing hotel; known for its timeless, elegant interior and boutique feel, to be translated into these new public areas. This was to ensure that long standing and loyal guests retained their appreciation of the hotel’s atmosphere and service, whilst new guests could experience the exceptional quality of the hotel, not only in the rooms, but also in the public areas. The reconfiguration was made more complex and challenging by the fact that the works were required to take place whilst the hotel was fully operational, with three existing entrances on the 80ft frontage also being maintained.The principle challenge of the brief was to utilise space freed up by the closure of the Post House Restaurant and associated back of house areas at basement and ground floor levels. Mark Pinney Associates wanted to create a rational sequence of interrelated but individual spaces which would provide guests and visitors with a new and unique experience in this exceptional, upper east side Landmark Hotel, located just off Madison Avenue. The new plan arrangement creates a series of ‘classically’ configured rooms and spaces, each one linked on axis to the next with framed vistas, drawing guests through from the street to the new courtyard at the rear.This layout of spaces and their interrelationship is key to the success of the project. The three existing entrances could not be altered, but otherwise the plan layout of the ground level was almost entirely reconfigured. An external roof area previously used for plant machinery was lowered, creating an external courtyard linked to the new restaurant and club room; covered by a glazed roof that opens hydraulically, allowing for year-round use. Each space or room has an individual character created by both the architectural layout and detailing, and in the internal decorative finishes and furniture selected by Michael Smith. The oak panelled bar and painted panelling to the club room, both manufactured by Feau & Cie in Paris, give these spaces an individual character specific to their use. Whilst the public areas and restaurant with its vaulted ceiling, neo classical marble columns and faux lime stone walls create a theme carried through into the new lobby.
The result provides the hotel with exceptional public areas as well as a restaurant and bar which matches the luxurious standard and style of the hotel’s rooms and suites. This creates new opportunities for the hotel, raising its profile and facilities to new levels, whilst maintaining and extending its core values of exceptional quality and service to these new areas.