The Hamilton Hotel is ready to unveil the final pieces of its multi-million dollar renovation downtown at the corner of 14th and K Streets NW. An Italian restaurant specializing in Neapolitan pizza and a glamorous, postage stamp-sized bar serving cocktails and caviar are both scheduled to open tomorrow.
Following a full lobby transformation and guest room refresh, the historic 318-room hotel is replacing its outdated 14K restaurant with an all-day osteria called Via Sophia. A dark, library-themed bar called Society is hidden off the lobby.
The anticipated two-part venture is helmed by an all-star hospitality cast that includes Via Sophia executive chef Colin Clark, who’s amassed an impressive East Coast resume by working under several James Beard Award Winners (Marc Vetri, Jeff Michaud, and Fabio Trabocchi). He was also part of Le Diplomate’s opening team in 2013. Most most recently, Clark was chef de cuisine at Trabocchi’s Georgetown Harbor darling, Fiola Mare.
Via Sophia (1001 14th Stree NW) will open with breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There’s also an weekday happy hour for apertivos and a late-night pizza menu. Weekend brunch will join the mix later this summer.
In Clark’s new post, he hopes to breathe new life into the same block as The Washington Post’s headquarters overlooking tree-lined Franklin Square.
“We are going for upscale — this is 14th and K and we are trying to make it a dining destination,” Clark tells Eater.
Since wood-fired Neapolitan pizza is Via Sophia’s star attraction, the staff went the extra mile to elevate their pie-making skills. Clark and sous chef Cameron Willis trained under master pizzaiola Roberto Caporuscio, owner of New York City’s Keste Pizza & Vino and Don Antonio (named “#1 Pizza in New York” by New York Magazine).
Five seasonal pizzas at Via Sophia include a classic Margherita — with San Marzano tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, and fresh basil — and Fra Diavlo (salame picante, fresno chiles, red onion, buffalo mozzarella, San Marzano tomatoes).
Even the staff floating around will be dressed to the nines. Ashley Blazer Biden, Joe Biden’s daughter, designed the hotel’s new stylish black-and-white uniforms in collaboration with Livelihood.
Atlanta-based Art Consulting Firm, Amy Parry Projects, helped curate a custom art collection that weaves old and new elements across Via Sophia. Think nostalgic antique metal pizza peels juxtaposed with modern photography and abstract art pieces.
Clark’s most recent cooking stint at seafood-focused Fiola Mare is evident across its underwater section of dishes. A grilled Norwegian salmon features a traditional Spanish romesco sauce, alongside charred broccolini, pine nuts, and black garlic dressing. A minimalist presentation of black bass, accented with baby squash, asparagus tips, morels, and a golden beet border, lets the fish shine.
Southern Italian-inspired dishes include bruschetta built on a house-baked semolina loaf; tagliata di manzo (sliced steak) with charred spring onion, confit cherry tomatoes, balsamic reduction, arugula, and barolo jus; and monkfish ossobuco, with sauce livornese, clams, olives, capers, fennel, and potatoes.
“This is very in line with my background — the whole idea is a balance between rustic and modern,” Clark says. “We knock the rustic element out of the park — it was a decision early on to make bread, pizza, and pasta in house.”
Chicken al mattone (crispy artichokes, guanciale, peppers, maitake mushrooms, chicken jus) is “as old school rustic as it gets” he adds.
Carb-driven entrees include ravioli finochietta, with asparagus tips, fava beans, morels, and fresh parmigiana. Pappardelle comes with rabbit ragu, ramps, pecorino and Castelvetrano olives.
Antipasto orders include caponata-toasted eggplant with San Marzano tomatoes, golden raisins and pine nuts. Meat and cheese boards feature prosciutto di parma aged 24 months.
Wines and spirits hailing from Italy largely make up the drinks section, with some 120 wine bottles available. Local makers from D.C. and Virginia also contribute to the craft beer and spirits selection.
Society, inspired by Prohibition-era secret societies and private clubs from the art deco period, features just 14 seats. Fancy bar snacks include caviar with panna cotta, nuts, and Sicilian olives. Zack Faruki, an alum of Michelin-starred Fiola, is leading a mixology program.
Wines by the glass start at $20, and big spenders can also peruse from a rare collection of reds with a few bottles dancing near the $700 mark.
Society is an ode to renowned French-born architect Jules-Henrí de Sibour, who originally designed the hotel in 1922. The Prohibition-era architect was a member of Yale’s Skull and Bones Society. Framed hand drawings and photos taken from his time at Yale line the walls.
Hours are Tuesday and Wednesday, 5 p.m. to midnight; and Thursday through Saturday until 1 a.m.
AP Projects has been working on a plethora of new projects as we transition from Winter to Spring. This March Inspiration Board is a collection of things that have stuck with us along the way.
Click to see cool assemblages, lovely layers and all the colors of the rainbow.
More and more we are honoring requests to show art options with greater depth and texture. For this last Inspiration Board of the year, we would like to share a “few of our favorite (dimensional) things.”
There is so much to love about three-dimensional art; how it can punctuate a space and accentuate the overall design. Please click through these options in wood, glass, metal, fiber, porcelain and even just thickly applied paint.
AP Projects had the pleasure of working with experienced Art Consultant Catharine Auger this year.
Please enjoy this latest Inspiration Board, put together exclusively by Catharine.
ILLUSTRATION: COURTESY OF PHASE:3 MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS
Hotel Clermont is due to reopen next year.
"Hotel Clermont welcomes guests in March after an extensive renovation that merges the building’s classic 1920s features with punk-rock style. In addition to a restaurant and a rooftop bar, the property’s infamous Clermont Lounge remains and, though it got a freshen-up too, retains its gritty glory—and its black-duct-taped bar."
(Garden & Gun Magazine, November 15, 2017)
Another inspirational spring trip to NYC means another post about boutique hotel excellence, this time an overview of Hotel Eventi (A Kimpton Hotel) and The Beekman Hotel (a Thompson Hotel). What these two hotels do well is offer a complete immersion into the feel of the NYC neighborhood in which they are situated. They also boast new and incredibly impressive art packages, put together by some of the best curators out there. To snag a tagline from Hotel Eventi, both of these hotels are “redefining hotel art.” And while art is just one aspect of the visual luxuries you will encounter walking into each of these hotels, the quality of the art is what elevates them to the truly high-end.
Hotel Eventi is as hip as it gets - it feels very much like you just stepped into a wealthy collector's city apartment. The work is sort of nonchalantly placed around the main level, yet many of the works are instantly recognizable. Eventi's collection is made up of contemporary work, which is fitting since the hotel is right in the heart of Chelsea, arguably one of the most influential, art rich districts in the world. Reunion Goods & Services is who we have to thank for the impressive design, and the art was selected by curator (visionary) Kyle DeWoody. The hotel effortlessly carries an "artful atmosphere" and despite the high caliber of work, it all feels accessible. Just in and around the lobby you will see work by Barbara Nessim, Alex Katz, and Augustus Thompson. Highlights were the incredible hand-altered mirror by Tony Matelli, the commissioned light fixture/sculpture by Kwangho Lee, a gorgeous Lorna Simpson and a powerful photographic abstract by Mariah Robertson. The Ernesto Leal piece behind the reception desk is also very swoon-worthy. All in all the Reunion Team along with DeWoody have created a thought-provoking, comfortable space in a superior art location in the city. The art and city views you will find in the guestrooms are nothing to sneeze at either.
THE BEEKMAN HOTEL
Down in Lower Manhattan, another absolute gem is The Beekman Hotel. Built in 1880, this Queen Anne style building was the first public library in Manhattan; the Mercantile Library Exchange. Recently transformed into an outstanding boutique hotel, great care was taken to preserve some of the original features including a beautiful 9 story atrium. The elevators, staircases, and ironwork transport you back in time. Although the art package is comprised of brand new works, they blend seamlessly with the hotel's classic features and old NY atmosphere. Katherine Gass, Founder of James Company (Contemporary Art Projects) and curator of The Beekman Art Collection says "hotels are community places and art offers an important expression of the community - one that has an innovative, creative and economic return." Each piece was commissioned with the literary history of the building in mind. Works by Jane Hammond, Cathy Cone, Catherine Howe, and Nathalia Edenmont are inspired by an Edgar Allan Poe poem entitled "A Dream Within A Dream" and are installed throughout the elegant lobby and bar areas. Besides the amazing over-painted historical portraits by Cone, another favorite would be two tiny Patrick Jacobs dioramas which are inset in the passageway between the reception and concierge desks. Seen through tiny glass lenses, the imagery is of a field of dandelions and weeds - giving a glimpse of a time before high-rises took over the city. To stop and peer into these lenses is unexpected distraction within an already breath-taking experience.
These two hotels have made a conscious decision to pour time, attention and money into the art they have hanging on their walls. It is inspiring to see so many commissions of local and international artists, and such a thoughtful blend of styles and non-traditional media when that is obviously not the easiest way to go. The Beekman offers a printed booklet for interested guests to read about the collection (and it's printed like an old-timey script) and will host ongoing events and collaborations with art and cultural partners. The employees at Hotel Eventi were able to explain exactly where Ernesto Leal is from and were eager to do so despite the accumulating line of guests wanting to check in or out. Caring so much about the art shows how much these hotels care about the experience of their patrons because to snag another line: "lasting memories are defined by unforgettable moments." No matter how much you travel, you wouldn't mix either of these hotels up with another. You would wake up knowing exactly where in the world you were.
Boutique. Sophisticated. Perfection.
One of the great points of pride for Amy Parry Projects is that we have worked in boutique hospitality since our inception. We understand the guest experience and the desires of our clients. We love that the consumer drives the developments in our business, and that hotel trends we admire and exemplify in our projects flourished in 2016 and will continue to do so in the coming year...
OLD BUILDINGS RENOVATED INTO NEW HOTELS
There is no greater way to offer a unique visual experience for a hotel guest than by welcoming them into a space with built-in history and character. Although chain hotels are some of the ones choosing old properties for their new concepts, each renovated hotel is able to convey an independent feel. Each hotel is set apart by the unique architectural elements which developers choose (or are forced) to keep during renovation. This trend “straddles history and hospitality,” allowing guests to stay in old offices, warehouses, hospitals, etc. The art and furnishings provide the throwback and often pay tribute to the buildings’ rich past. What we love most about this trend is that the older buildings are typically situated in urban epicenters. We are thrilled by the resurgence of downtown and their abundance of interest-generating landmarks. When you stay on a bustling Main Street or in an established, beautiful downtown neighborhood, you are immersed in the city’s culture. Your choice of hotel helps tremendously in that by providing you proximity and carrying the authenticity of a place throughout.
INTENTIONAL ART EXPERIENCES
Going along with intentionally putting hotels in context-filled old buildings, hotels continue to strive to offer spaces with a “lived-in” feeling. Larger hotel companies competing with the Airbnb experience are turning to the immediate resources to achieve this local flavor. Even West Elm, a furniture company, is entering the hospitality business, set to open a handful of boutique concepts in 2018. These companies are giving people more than just a place to sleep. Nowadays, when a guest stays at a great hotel, they can expect to be served local wine and coffee, hear local bands in the bar on weekend nights, take yoga in a studio also frequented by city residents, and play games with other guests in the lobbies. And at the top of our list, their guestoom might feature artwork by the city’s best artists and the first floor may boast a legit, museum-quality collection. As art consultants, it is so much more fun to pick art to complement a hotel’s character, rather than it’s couches (although we can do that too).
Amy Parry Projects is honored to provide art for boutique hotels.
The entire hospitality experience should be curated to make each stay memorable, comfortable and fun for the guest. Here’s to a great 2017 - we look forward to amplifying each project with awesome, intentional art (like the commissioned Jesus Perea seen below).
IMAGE 1: Jesus Perea, customized print for upcoming hotel (inserted local imagery)
IMAGE 2: AP on Site: "Cloud" being built in the ceiling of a historic boutique hotel designed to cover pipes required to stay through renovation.
On this most recent NYC visit, we made a stop in the Lower East Side to see this boutique hotel gem which was completed in summer of 2014. Hotelier Sean MacPherson (also known for the Bowery and Maritime Hotels among others) turned an empty, concrete building into an effortlessly cool and comfortable hotel offering 184 rooms in 10 different types. While the spaces of the Ludlow look great, what the entire hotel offers most importantly, is an amazing, whole-picture feel - like you’re staying in NYC as a local. You can really slip into the feel of the neighborhood and MacPherson’s impression of it from the gritty, glory days of the 1980s. In fact, MacPherson has gone on record explaining his wish that the lobby serve over time as a living room for the neighborhood. The mix of new and vintage furniture in mahogany and cognac leathers, printed tweed, purple velvet, animal hides and fur seem inherited down many times from a favorite relative, and no detail (hand-stitched curtains, worn and whimsical tchotchkes, Indian rugs, tiny iridescent tiles) seems the least bit out of place, contrived or curated. It all just works.
What to notice...
1) Check out the custom reception desk and admire the old school drawers behind it.
2) Enjoy the legit, word-burning limestone fireplace, flanked by burnt out brass sconces and Marshall speaker cabinets hanging down from chains. Look around for a Ron Gorchov painting and freak out a little.
3) Try to think of a place in your house you can work in one of the vintage de Sede Snake Non Stop Sofas and how you would ever be able to afford one.
4) Imagine the past life of the recycled factory windows separating the Lobby from the Dirty French restaurant and all the stories they reflect.
5) Order a $16 Lilikoi cocktail at the zinc coated bar in the corner and enjoy it sitting under the hotel’s greenhouse structure that is apparently pleasant year-round.
6) Covet the black and white brushstroke pants of the cocktail waitress.
7) If you stay the night, you’ll sleep on a four poster bed from Portugal, surrounded by inserted and white-washed ceiling beams and even more amazing brass fixtures (including Hollywood style vanity lights in the bathrooms).
8) Marvel at the museum-quality guestroom art, curated by the NYC magnate, Vito Schnabel.
9) Witness the room literally expand after dark as the city view becomes the centerpiece of the small, simple space.
10) Enjoy the authentic, surprisingly low-key street, capped off by the iconic Katz’s Deli on your way to the F or the 6 and the rest of the great city where unique experiences are the norm.