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06.06.2014
Hospitality Case Study> The Viceroy Hotel
Roman and Williams hearkens back to the glamour of old New York.
Christian Horan

Manhattan’s West 57th Street has drawn considerable attention for the spindly glass skyscrapers now rising there. But set within this crane-dotted corridor is a new 30-story tower that stands apart for its rigor and refinement, both inside and out.

Completed last fall, the 240-room Viceroy Hotel was designed by Roman and Williams, the renowned firm behind such influential projects as the Ace Hotel and The Standard, High Line. Founded in 2002, the firm is led by the husband-and-wife team of Robin Standefer and Stephen Alesch, former Hollywood film set designers who have a remarkable talent for producing deftly curated, atmospheric spaces. The Viceroy, for which they envisioned the interiors and the facade, marks the duo’s largest project to date.

   
 

Unlike the shiny, modern towers cropping up nearby, the Viceroy harkens back to glamorous old New York. Standefer and Alesch drew inspiration from varied sources—ocean liners, artist lofts, and film noir among them. Their overall vision was to create a hotel that feels “industrial and creative” yet still emits an air of confidence and sophistication. “There is nothing shy or humble about this project,” they said.

Slipped into a narrow lot, the masculine tower is faced with a grid of blackened steel struts and muntined windows, establishing an aesthetic the designers refer to as Neo-Miesian. Once inside, however, the Miesian reference quickly fades. In the warmly lit, double-height lobby, no surface was left unadorned. Walls are sheathed in dark-toned wood and heavily veined marble; on one wall, an imposing mural inspired by the Regionalist painter Thomas Hart Benton lends hues of red, blue, and orange to the opulent space.

 
 

 

Efficient yet elegant, the standard guest rooms are reminiscent of ship cabins. Beds are set within tambour-paneled wall units made of iroko, an African hardwood; the units contain clothing storage, nightstands, and a mini-bar. The rooms are fitted with custom lighting fixtures made of perforated brass and aluminum. In the bathrooms, the designers employed a color palette based on American currency: olive greens, blacks, and ivory.

The nautical theme is continued within a rooftop bar, which features ipe flooring, brass detailing, and walnut-and-leather sofas. In contrast, the Kingside restaurant at street level evokes an upscale diner, with its red stools and black-and-white checked floor.

While the Viceroy has properties around the globe, from Aspen to Istanbul, this is the company’s first hotel in New York. CEO Bill Walshe said Roman and Williams has redefined interior landscapes within the city. “Partnering with them on a ground-up project felt like the perfect entré into New York,” he said.

Jenna M. McKnight