The Carlyle New York, one of Manhattan’s most celebrated hotels, has enjoyed an eight year relationship with the award-winning design firm Champalimaud. Over the years, the firm has completed renovations of a handful of suites. Champalimaud’s goal has been to satisfy the high expectations of visiting celebrities and dignitaries who often take up the suites as long-term residences. (In the past, rumored guests have included Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, Jack Nicholson, maybe Mick Jagger, but we won’t confirm.)
When designing the suites featured in this month’s tour, Champalimaud ensured that comfort and usability were brought to the forefront of the designs, so these rooms would feel like a home away from home, rather than impersonal hotel rooms. (A quarter of the hotel’s 239 rooms and suites are occupied by long-term renters or co-op owners.) Senior Designer Craig Mitchell, who leads the firm’s ongoing design work for the Carlyle, and President and Principal Designer Alexandra Chamalimaud explain how they were able to keep history and classicisim alive in this Manhattan landmark located on Madison Avenue, while also moving the design into the 21st century.
SUITE: 3001 • Says Craig, “Each suite at the Carlyle is unique in its design. When we were asked to renovate Suite 3001, it was decided the vision for this suite would be to exemplify contemporary classicism. We had 10 weeks to complete it. We searched many antique stores and showrooms. We mixed contemporary art with vintage lacquered furniture in beige and soft grays, with accents of orange. I will never forget frantically installing the finishing touches mere minutes before the guests checked in.
The guests have all responded very positively to the design. The Carlyle receives several requests from their VIP guests to have pieces of furniture duplicated or sourced for guests homes, such as the living room chairs by Hollywood Regency and the 1960s Italian alabaster lamps. In the hospitality world, having a guest love a hotel’s style that much is truly a mark of success.”
SUITE 2209 • Alexandra says of suite 2209, “The Royal Suite is the New York home to numerous film and rock stars. Many guests are drawn to this particular suite for the extravagant views of Central Park, the East River and the New York skyline. When renovating the Royal Suite, our goal was to revive the faded decor and return it to the stylized and highly luxurious feel The Carlyle is known for. Rather than entirely redoing the work of former famed decorators Dorothy Draper and Mark Hampton, we decided to refresh the existing Empire and Federal-style furniture in this two-bedroom, two-bath duplex, incorporating period elements and restoring the Art Deco touches.
The floor-to-ceiling Art Deco black glass fireplace, complete with quartz logs, is a perfect example of this. The black glass was used to reflect the light and create a striking focal point in the suite. For the furniture, we decided to use the original Carlyle antiques. We added a Steinway piano, Christopher Spitzmiller lamps and our own custom-designed carpet.
SUITE 507 • The Carlyle purchased two separate apartments from private owners in order for Champalimaud to completely gut and renovate the spaces into one large suite, number 507. This contemporized classic suite, is furnished with deco-inspired custom designed carpets, bold silk Bergamo draperies, Nancy Corzine lamps and a sycamore panelled living room with ebony accents. Soft creams, rich emerald greens and sophisticated oranges lend a fresh element to the traditional style of the furnishings.
My challenge for all of the spaces was to make them younger while retaining the feel of The Carlyle. I asked myself, ‘What do people want to feel when they’re here?’ They want to get the sense that they are part of New York. You come to The Carlyle because you want a glamorous Upper East Side experience that connects the present with the high-society past. That’s what we’ve accomplished in our designs and will continue to do as long as we work for the hotel.”