New York, NY—The Whitby Hotel is the latest property from London boutique hotel group Firmdale Hotels in New York City. The hoteled opened on March 1 in a new 97,000 square foot building in Midtown Manhattan. It features interiors by Firmdale co-owner and designer Kit Kemp and architecture by Stonehill & Taylor.
In keeping with the surrounding architecture of the neighborhood—in particular, nearby Fifth Avenue—the structure has a limestone façade set with steel-framed windows. It was important for both hotelier and architect that the hotel building enhances the area while respecting the existing architectural fabric.
“With hotel architecture, we want to create buildings that support the hotel’s function as a gathering place and cornerstone for communities,” said architect Paul Taylor. “The Whitby has a quiet, understated architecture that fits seamlessly with the neighborhood, but the generously sized windows and numerous terraces offer glimpses of the activity and life within.”
Several suite balconies and terraces lend the 18-story building a distinctive shape that gradually scales back as the building rises. The hotel comprises 86 guest rooms, including ten suites. One suite occupies the entire penthouse floor with two bedrooms and two and a half baths, completely surrounded by outdoor spaces.
Encompassing more than 20,000 square feet of amenity spaces, The Whitby’s design process called for an ongoing conversation between architect and interior designer about how to best suit the needs of the hotel. To accommodate the expansive public spaces, three floors of below ground programming were created, making the site one of the deepest excavations in Midtown Manhattan. The below-ground space includes a Dolby-certified theater and function space that will host public and private screenings.
On the ground floor, the hotelier and architect worked together to develop several distinct, yet interlocking, spaces that would surprise and delight guests as they roam from one to the next. Here, the Drawing Room, a restaurant with an impressive 30-foot-long bar connects to The Orangery, an extension of the restaurant with a dramatic vaulted ceiling, skylight, and floor-to-ceiling glass partitions. A connecting courtyard houses a traditional English garden, hanging lanterns, and a decorative fireplace.
The hotel, located at 18 West 56th Street, marks Stonehill & Taylor’s second collaboration with Firmdale Hotels following their work on the Crosby Street Hotel.