If you prefer a luxurious residential atmosphere reminiscent of a private townhouse with impeccable service and a welcoming warmth rather than the more anonymous charms of a larger hotel, then head for The Lowell, New York. Located in the city’s most exclusive and fashionable Upper East Side in a seventeen-floor landmark building, the hotel offers just 74 rooms including 47 suites: thirty-three of these rooms have wood-burning fireplaces, fourteen have terraces and almost all offer fully equipped kitchens.
Attention to detail and personal, thoughtful service are key elements in The Lowell’s extensive repertoire which unsurprisingly has a repeat and well-heeled guest ratio of 75% – gourmet minibars; custom sheets by Frette; cashmere throws; packing and unpacking service; personal trainers; massage therapists – you name it, they supply it. They can even arrange a private sunrise visit to the Empire State Building! Four footed friends are welcome and the property has a Pet Menu and a dog walking service. On the food side, gastronomic repasts can be enjoyed at Majorelle, Jacques Bar, The Club Room and the Pembroke Room whilst any excess pounds can be worked off in the inhouse fitness facility or at Equinox, just two blocks away.
The Lowell is family owned.
Set on East 63rd Street amidst historic townhouses, The Lowell is located between Madison and Park Avenues, around the corner from the world’s luxury fashion houses such as Chanel, Hermès and Oscar de la Renta. Fifth Avenue with its luxury flagship stores and emporiums such as Bergdorf-Goodman, Barneys and Bloomingdale’s are just a stretch of the legs away. In the other direction, New York’s Central Park is close by as are prestigious cultural institutions such as The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim, MOMA and The Frick Collection.
LaGuardia Airport (LGA) is around 16 kilometres from the hotel at a travel time of around 30 minutes depending on traffic with both Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) and John F Kennedy International Airport (JFK) around 25.7 kilometres distance, a journey time of around 40 minutes to an hour depending on traffic.
For local drivers, parking is available.
The hotel offers just 74 rooms including 47 suites: thirty-three of these rooms have wood-burning fireplaces, fourteen have terraces and almost all offer fully equipped kitchens with grocery shopping available for those store cupboard essentials. All are different and individual.
As with everything at The Lowell, the décor undertaken by noted interior designer Michael Smith is understated, luxurious and comfortable. There are complimentary newspapers; Voss mineral water; valet service; packing and unpacking service; same day laundry, dry cleaning and pressing; complimentary shoeshine and personalisation of welcome amenities, housekeeping requests, food and beverage and room set up.
Room amenities include DDC28 bath products designed exclusively for The Lowell by the owner Dina De Luca Chartouni whilst other luxury items offered include Frette bathrobes and linens, La Botega custom made slippers and custom-designed cashmere throws. There are gourmet mini-bars with goodies from Dean & Deluca; custom bed headboards; spacious closets and wardrobes; oak hardwood floors covered with antique rugs; in-room safes and iPad and laptop on request although many suites feature iMacs and iPads. Marble bathrooms have deep soaking tubs and most offer separate showers with heated floors and there are flowers, fresh flowers – a small touch but increasingly rare these cost cutting days.
Suites offer space, sun-filled rooms and a timeless residential feel. Many enjoy landscaped terraces and wood burning fireplaces with scented firewood menus and views overlooking the Manhattan skyline. Custom décor ranges from oriental rugs and antique silk-painted art pieces to mirrored Jewel Box minibars filled with gastronomic goodies and curated Assouline book collections to full kitchenettes designed by Poggenpohl and bedrooms dressed with exquisite de Gournay wallpapers.
There are five individually designed Speciality Suites with hand-picked furnishings to resemble luxurious Manhattan apartments which are coveted for their corner locations on the hotel’s upper floors. Many feature landscaped terraces with wrought iron seating and dining, water fountains and seasonal flowers. The two-bedroom suites are perfect for family living.
The premier accommodation however is a chic three-bedroom Penthouse Suite with the feel of an authentic pièd-a-terre inspired by the iconic townhouses which it overlooks. On the seventeenth floor with views out over the city, the Penthouse Suite offers wood-burning fireplaces, four private terraces and a gourmet kitchen connecting to a bright dining conservatory perfect for entertaining. Art and antiques; custom furniture; hand-painted de Gournay wall coverings; stylish Selene marble baths and Ralph Lauren opal glass sconces are just some of its special features. The bedroom features a metal four-poster bed set amid the orchid and bamboo hand-painted fabric wall coverings by de Gournay. A 1940s style mirrored dining table by Jean de Merry reflects the room’s natural light and is furnished with Michael Smith chairs with leather seats and wood inlay detailing.
The Lowell is committed to making its property, amenities and services accessible to all guests, regardless of abilities and/or disabilities. Many of the rooms also offer a connecting option, perfect for anyone travelling in a group or family.
This is a hotel that understands its guests, customising their stays to suit individual quirks and wants with welcome amenities, housekeeping requests, food and beverage and room set up.
Nearly every guest room offers a kitchen which is a nice touch because all of us have those days when only beans on toast will do so thank goodness grocery shopping and delivery is available too. There is valet service for packing and unpacking; same day laundry, dry cleaning and pressing; complimentary shoeshine; personal trainers; massage therapists and in-room beauty treatments available on request.
The Concierge can arrange the impossible, time and time again. There is even an opportunity to enjoy a private sunrise at the Empire State Building for a Lowell Experience just as the new day begins – that is pretty special.
Dogs are welcomed and there is a dog walking service to keep Fido out of mischief. The concierge can arrange everything for your furry friend from veterinarian and grooming services to suggestions for activities in the city, to pet friendly restaurants, stores and activities. The in-room dining menu also features a special pet menu or alternatively, the property’s Chef de Cuisine will create tailor-made food and snacks to a pet’s liking. On arrival, a pet bed and special treats are placed in the guest room for Fido’s pleasure.
The Lowell Fitness Center is located on the second floor overlooking East 63rd Street. Top of the line exercise equipment includes treadmills; Stairmasters; rowing machines; stationary bikes and free weights. Fitness guests may take advantage of complimentary bottled water and fresh fruit from the snack station.
Given the awe-inspiring 75% repeat guest ratio – it is definitely a boutique bolthole for the travel cognoscenti who know a good thing when they see it.
Coco Chanel’s oft repeated phrase “Fashion changes but style endures” is a very apt description for The Lowell which for many will also earn the epithet, old-school. It is so discreet that you may hear that movie stars, musicians and statesmen have stayed here but they won’t disclose who they might be – and that’s just how it should be in an ideal world.
It is almost as though that although every modern convenience is available, time has stood still awhile here at The Lowell – old world courtesy; impeccable service; understated; luxurious comfortable surroundings scattered with antiques and artworks; polished oak flooring; wood burning fireplaces; a feeling of returning home and seeing old friends – I can see and appreciate the warm appeal of this property and why so many return time and time again. It is unsurprising to hear that the rooms are designed by no less a person than President Obama’s White House decorator, Michael S Smith.
It opened its doors almost a century ago in 1927 and I can’t see any reason why it won’t be here in another hundred years, adapting subtly to the future yet retaining its enduring charm and courtesy – and with that thought, all is well with the world.
There are four food and drink options at The Lowell. The Pembroke Room located on the second floor enjoys large French doors that open onto a European-inspired salon where high tea is served to perfection.
The Jacques Bar is where cocktails are perfectly orchestrated by skilled, white-jacketed bartenders who will innovate or serve the classics with verve and style. Light snacks and signature dishes made from seasonal ingredients are available. The bar itself is a classic with bar chairs, velvet banquettes, antique mirrored ceilings, light oak panelling, mosaic marble floors and a bank of spirts showcased behind the staff.
The Club Room is a sumptuous hideaway for hotel guests seeking a quiet corner to unwind with selected artworks, deep sofas and wing backed chairs. Parquet floors, elaborate crown mouldings and a library of curated vintage books create a warm and welcoming oasis to enjoy a relaxing read, a nightcap or a light meal.
The Majorelle is the pretty feature restaurant, run by celebrated restaurateur Charles Masson and his creative culinary team with a menu of French classics with Mediterranean influences from the Riviera to Morocco. The design element is furnished by Mr Masson himself with gorgeous statement flower decorations refreshed on a daily basis.
The 24-hour In-Room Dining Menu includes a Health Menu and a Pet Menu.
The Lowell follows sustainability practices that are standard at luxury hotels today such as a comprehensive recycling program throughout the hotel including in guest rooms, all take away food packaging is made from recycled materials and they do not use plastic, guests can determine the frequency in which their bath and bed linens are changed.