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New York City hotel opening: Inside the Refinery Hotel

The design of this New York City hotel in the Garment District plays on the building’s industrial and retail roots.


New York City hotel opening: Inside the Refinery Hotel


Though it looks original, the lobby’s groin-vaulted ceiling is a new addition that plays on the building’s neo-Gothic style. The architects commissioned Museum Editions in Tribeca to create the installation of 500 millinery tools behind the front desk.


Screened off from the lobby with leaded-glass panels, Winnie’s Tea Lounge takes its name from Winifred McDonald, who owned a ladies’ tearoom in the building in the early 20th century. Though the decor references the past—with smart plaid-patterned walnut paneling—small plates and cocktails will be on the menu instead of the titular drink.


In the guest quarters, custom-made furnishings subtly reference the garment industry for a look that’s more sophisticated than steampunk: Wall coverings riff on linen fabric, super-soft bed throws mimic burlap, and coffee tables are modeled on early-20th-century factory carts. The oversize floor lamp was inspired by a Fortuny photographer’s light from the same period.


Beltlike straps on the headboard aren’t a kinky accoutrement—in another nod to garment manufacturing, they secure a leather pad to the steel and walnut panel. Luxurious touches like built-in brass reading lamps and Frette linens offset the functional look.


The desks are reproductions of vintage Singer sewing-machine tables.


Bathrooms mix grand hotel luxury—a marble mosaic “bath mat,” old-fashioned brass taps from British company Lefroy Brooks, walk-in showers with room for two—with a more functional aesthetic reflected in the variation on subway tiles and a sliding steel-and-glass door.


Opening in June, the 3,500-square-foot roof is a year-round destination, comprising three distinct spaces: an indoor bar with a fireplace, a semi-open atrium featuring a retractable skylight and a fountain, and an outdoor deck. To lend the space some gritty NYC cred, the architects used wood salvaged from the building’s dismantled water tower to build the ceiling and an interior wall.

Don your vintage fedora and head to this fashion-conscious New York City hotel in the Garment District. Stonehill & Taylor Architects, the firm behind the 1912 building's conversion and design, took inspiration from its neo-Gothic architecture, as well as its former life as a hat-making hub: In the headpiece heyday, garment manufacturers and milliners toiled on the upper floors while the ground level was devoted to showrooms and a genteel tea salon for shoppers. “It created this duality, almost an Upstairs, Downstairs kind of thing,” explains Stonehill & Taylor principal Christina Zimmer. “We thought that was really interesting and brought it to bear on our new hotel.” (The firm’s CV also includes The NoMad Hotel and Ace Hotel New York.)

With exposed pipes, concrete ceilings and oak floors, the rooms have an industrial aesthetic that echoes the former factory space, while the public areas on the ground floor are more—dare we say it—refined. Eating and drinking options include an elegant lobby lounge, American bistro Parker & Quinn and—bumping up the number of great rooftop bars in NYC—a sprawling indoor–outdoor space with a direct view of the Empire State Building. 63 W 38th St between Fifth and Sixth Aves (646-664-0310, refineryhotelnewyork.com). Rates start at $399.