Photos by Eric Luc; Styling by Nick Whitehouse;
Hair and makeup by Annamarie Tendler;
shot on location at Hôtel Americano in New York.
Hôtel Americano’s Carlos Couturier | Interview
Thursday, May 10th, 2012
By Laura Neilson
Despite being the destination for New York’s art and design crowd, west Chelsea maintains a relatively quiet existence after the galleries shut their doors. Its gritty, industrial character, cool and stylish by day, often goes unseen at night. And while many a hotelier have understandably avoided this remote part of town in favor of higher-traffic locales, Carlos Couturier of the newly-debuted Hôtel Americano is quick to articulate that this was precisely what appealed to him.
“We like the fact that we’re in our own world, and yet, things are changing so swiftly,” he says. “We wanted the hotel to be an emblem, a foundation, before the neighborhood changes into something else.”
Visitors to Mexico may already know of Couturier’s hotel group, Grupo Habita, and its various assortment of ten-and-counting properties, ranging from Mexico City’s sleek Hôtel Habita, to Maison Couturier, a tropical farm estate nestled away in Veracruz. Hôtel Americano, however, is the group’s first enterprise north of the border.
Couturier and his team enlisted Enrique Norten, now based in New York, to mastermind the design. Having worked with Grupo Habita before, Norten’s participation tempered the daunting nature of an international project, while his understanding of Chelsea’s landscape appropriately shaped the hotel’s aesthetic.
“We agreed on a metal façade because there’s a lot of industrial aspects in the neighboror collector, or whatever. This is a neutral space, where they can almost disconnect from that.”
Room rates aren’t inexpensive per se, but they are affordable. And yet, Americano doesn’t skimp on hospitality. Here, the notion of luxury is rooted in offering the same level of service to all its guests. Providing luxury that’s attainable, but without devaluing its very definition has always been a top priority for Grupo Habita, now more than ever.
“In this economy, guests are much more focused on value. They want to be accommodated individually, regardless of whether or not they’re staying in the smallest room or the biggest—everyone should be treated like they’re staying in the best room,” says Couturier. “And that’s what we do.”