Located in Midtown Manhattan, just a few blocks south of Central Park, The Whitby Hotel is an extremely eclectic property. Its 86 guestrooms each boast a unique color scheme and floor-to-ceiling windows, and some of the rooms have terraces or balconies offering views of Manhattan. It’s also more than it appears, with three subterranean levels that house a 130-seat theater, conference rooms, and a pre-function area.
A trendsetter, The Whitby took an unorthodox approach to the popular city hotel garden—instead of sandwiching an open-air garden between skyscrapers, its enclosed area on the first floor, called the Orangery, has a 50-foot skylight that dramatically brightens up the space. Paul Taylor, president of the architectural firm behind The Whitby, Stonehill & Taylor, says, “In this area of the city, a green space wouldn’t be pleasant as a rooftop garden. Instead, we have a very dramatic space that really draws in the guests.”
Stonehill & Taylor also put careful consideration into the exterior of the property, aiming to make it complementary to its Midtown surroundings. The Whitby is the second New York City property for London-based boutique hospitality group Firmdale Hotels—the first being the Crosby Street Hotel in SoHo.
Clear as Day
The steel-framed windows are an essential element of the Whitby’s structure, and are beautiful from both the interior and exterior of the building. Taylor says, “The windows are the property’s most popular feature.”
Sculptures and unique furniture pieces—like a modern grandfather clock—make the lobby come alive. Decorative columns line the lobby and highlight the diverse design of the space. Taylor says, “The columns are related to the layout of the rooms above, and they fall in ways that, when you’re there, feel very natural.”
To best fit in with the surrounding area, Stonehill & Taylor went with an all-masonry, limestone façade. “We felt the limestone was most compatible with the Midtown aesthetic,” says Taylor.