NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - Aug 14, 2012) - Boutique hotel brand Affinia Hotels has reinvented the hotel lobby with the redesign of the lobby at Affinia Gardens, an all-suite hotel on Manhattan's Upper East Side. The result is a uniquely intimate and communal residential environment.
"Because we view our guests like family, we wanted to design public spaces that make them feel at home," said Betsey Moser, interior-design project manager for Affinia Hotels.
From the moment guests cross the East 64th Street threshold they enter a lobby that resembles a contemporary living room. Facing the entrance is a handmade fireplace set in a wood-paneled wall lined with shelves of gardening books from around the world and repurposed garden tools as accents. Upholstered chairs flank the hearth, accented by four leather ottomans that serve as a coffee table. Two arched floor lamps complete the inviting tableau done in rich earth colors of nutty brown, golden rod yellow and warm grey.
"We were inspired by the idea of an Upper East Side garden to create a modern and comforting reception area where guests could feel immediately home," said Christina Zimmer, principal at Stonehill & Taylor, the firm responsible for the renovation.
Influences of the hotel's garden theme are visible in the Living Room through the use of color and natural materials, including woods and stone, which create a uniquely communal residential environment. The floor is honed marble. The reception desk was inspired by a potter's table, made of rich walnut and zinc, accented by overhead lights fashioned from upside-down copper pots. The limited color palette keeps the intimate space cohesive and not busy feeling; making the check-in area part of the Living Room. Prints of heritage begonias, created by the design team, grace one wall, and the pattern on the seating area carpet was recreated from a photograph of a garden path, an initial inspiration for the room.
Yet another new feature of the Living Room is The Cupboard. Aptly named after one of the most-visited places at home, and with a contemporary take on the general store, it offers grab-and-go food, beverages, sundries and fun, whimsical merchandise displayed artistically with moss, a playful nod to the garden theme. Instead of putting The Cupboard in a separate room, Stonehill & Taylor placed it on open shelves that run along the wall between the entrance and the check-in desk, further enhancing the residential feel of the room.
To the left of the Living Room is the newly designed Tea Lounge. More casual and intimate, it features two chocolate leather chairs and a leather couch framed by black wood end tables and bronze table lamps with oversized shades. An area rug in creams and espresso warms up the conversational area and complements the dark-wood flooring. A long black wood communal table serves up a Mac computer for all to use. Guests may also catch up on the news on a large, flat-screen TV or borrow a book from the rotating library. All are invited to help themselves to coffee and tea, including a custom Affinia tea blend by Harney & Sons, from the coffee maker on the polished travertine countertop.
"The new first-floor space, whether you are in the Living Room or the Tea Lounge, is as functional as it is warm and inviting, giving people a reason to stay, mingle, work and relax," added Moser.
Affinia Gardens offers business and leisure travelers spacious suites (up to 900 square feet) with fully equipped kitchens, and some featuring fully furnished, private patio terraces. As part of the redesign Affinia Gardens now has complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the public spaces. There are also two entrances, one directly into the lobby and one closer to the elevators, which affords guests additional privacy when coming and going. All Affinia Hotels provide Tender Loving Comfort® (TLC), rooted in exceptional customer service and encouraging guest feedback, which includes evening Comfort Hour, for mingling with hotel staff, and a Comfort Cart, from which guests can sample and provide feedback on new amenities, free of charge.