This past June, plenty of industry luminaries hopped in taxis in New York City and headed downtown. They were anxious to see the soon-to-open Dream Downtown hotel, the brainchild of prominent hoteliers Sant and Vikram Chatwal of Chatwal Hotels & Resorts. They weren’t disappointed.
During a preview party and a subsequent star-studded grand opening celebration, invited guests got a look at an innovative design, complete with a rooftop swimming pool visible from underneath, a hot new rooftop club scene, and a minimalistic yet modern design. Already, Dream Downtown has become one of the hottest spots in New York City and one of the top hotels in Manhattan.
But one of the truly innovative aspects of the hotel is the Chatwals’ choice of location for such a high-end, high-profile property. Rather than placing its new flagship property for Dream in Times Square or East Side Manhattan—always fashionable locations—they chose the Albert C. Ledner building on West 16th Street.
“With this being the brand’s new flagship property, we looked for a location that would fully embrace the eclectic energy of the brand and be the right location for our target guests,” says Sant Singh Chatwal, chairman and CEO of Chatwal Hotels & Resorts. “Additionally, we looked at key need areas in the city for new hotel rooms. Standing between two of New York’s most vibrant neighborhoods, Chelsea and the Meatpacking District, Dream Downtown’s guests have immediate access to shopping and entertainment unlike anywhere else in the city.”
A different type of location worked well with the diverse nature of Dream Downtown’s target guests. “Because the public has become increasingly savvy with their travel decisions, the nature of our target guest has expanded immensely. We host a variety of ages and backgrounds but the common thread amongst them is a bold desire to try something new,” says Vikram Chatwal, who developed the hotel with his father under the umbrella of Vikram Chatwal Hotels. “Dream Downtown’s chic, industrial interiors and nightlife offerings, such as the rooftop lounge PH-D, draw a following that is more often than not employed in a creative industry, on the pulse of latest technologies, and more likely to be found at a boutique than a big-box department store.”
Many people are also talking about the design of the hotel, particularly the round windows. “The exterior porthole windows were part of the original Albert C. Ledner building and became an important design element throughout the property,” Vikram Chatwal says. “The exterior, which was adorned in stainless steel during the renovations, inspired the use of the porthole ‘constellations’ all over the hotel. The tone-on-tone circled wallpaper, penny tiled bathrooms, and glass-bottom pool evoke the whimsical and almost ethereal energy of the Dream brand.”
Designed by Handel Architects, with Frank Fusaro, a principal at the firm, as the lead architect on the project, Dream Downtown’s unique design elements continue to the guestrooms. “The largest inspiration for room design was drawn from the industrial chic attributes of Andy Warhol’s Factory,” Vikram Chatwal says. “The reflective elements on both the interior and exterior are reminiscent of The Factory’s aluminum adorned walls as well as inspired by the grays and purples of Anish Kapoor’s resplendent installation Sky Mirror.”
And then there’s that swimming pool, a rooftop oasis in the middle of Manhattan’s bustling skyscrapers. The underneath view from inside the hotel is something to be seen. “Both of these spaces bring the daring design philosophy that the Dream brand is known for together with the high-rise lifestyle of New York City to create unparalleled destinations. The view from the lobby into the glass-bottom pool has become the focal point of the hotel lobby, giving guests a sense of the playful designs even during check-in,” Vikram Chatwal says.
To market the hotel, the Chatwals teamed with Wyndham Hotel Group. Wyndham will franchise and manage the Chatwals’ Dream and Night brands. “Wyndham Hotel Group will take the development of the Dream and Night brands to the next level by leveraging Wyndham’s global distribution system, Wyndham Rewards loyalty program, and extended reach of development professionals. Chatwal Hotels & Resorts will continue to own the Dream and Night brand trademarks and intellectual property,” Sant Chatwal says. “The relationship with Wyndham will unlock the true potential of our Dream and Night brands, which have proven their success in key markets like New York and Bangkok during the last six years and are prime to further expand globally. Working to leverage Wyndham Hotel Group’s scale and reputation as a global brand leader will benefit the future of these inspired brands.”
Having built a successful flagship in downtown Manhattan, the Dream brand has a bright future. “Each hotel in the Dream brand really draws from its surrounding culture and creates a unique energy in each property. Recently, my travels to incredibly vibrant locales like Côte d’Azur, France; Mexico; and India have been great inspirations for the future of the brand,” Vikram Chatwal says. “There are so many rich flavors and vivid cultures to be found all over the world and now, the Dream brand can be a part of that. With the great success of the domestic properties and our relationship with Wyndham flourishing, the next steps for Dream are definitely to grow on an international scale, bringing our contemporary mix of daring and yet serene designs to guests around the world.”
Vivek Shaiva, Executive VP and CIO, La Quinta Inns & Suites
DESIGN & CONSTRUCTION
Stonehill & Taylor, Designers, Hyatt House
Peter Frantz, President, JCF Marketing; Marketing Director, Vantage Hospitality Group
Harith Wickrema, Owner, Eco Serendib Villa and Spa
Motel 6, Accor North America
Yobot, Robotic Luggage Concierge, Yotel
Ayelet Weinstein, CEO and President, B Hotels & Resorts
JoAnna Abrams, CEO, MindClick SGM
FOOD & BEVERAGE
Frank Widmer, Executive Chef, Park Hyatt Zurich, Switzerland