The brainchild of hospitality industry veterans David Mitchell and Stephen Hanson, Life is a brand new hotel concept aimed at offering a smartly priced and service-centric experience that blurs the lines between work and play.
The first venue for the brand, Life Hotel, opened in April in New York City’s burgeoning NoMad neighbourhood. Set in a historic 19th century building that was once the headquarters for LIFE magazine, the hotel boasts 98 guest rooms, a lobby bar, lounge and restaurant. A basement bar will also be opened in the coming months, reflecting the building’s rumoured use as a speakeasy during prohibition.
Real estate developer David Mitchell and hospitality veteran Stephen Hanson – who founded and oversaw BR Guest Hospitality for over 25 years – have been long-time friends. To design this first venture for the LIFE brand, Stephen turned to designer and BR Guest alumna Tara Oxley. Juxtaposing original architecture and features with more contemporary elements, the warm and inviting space has already proved to be very popular with guests.
Speaking to Premier Hospitality, Tara gave an overview of the hotel’s design beginning with the public spaces:
“The challenge in the public spaces, especially the lobby and entrance, was that the ceilings are extremely low. From a design perspective we had to make a guest feel comfortable and cosy, not cramped and claustrophobic. We also needed to incorporate a number of the hotel’s elements within this lobby space, including the restaurant, bar and reception.
“It was important for me that this space went back to what it was. With the lobby and bar area the idea was to keep it warm and exciting. The furnishings, a mixture of leather and velvet, are extremely comfortable with really warm tones.”
The lobby bar and lounge has room for approximately 40 people, with the stone bar equipped to seat 18. Guests and locals alike are encouraged to work, socialise and relax throughout the day. Tara continued:
“I find that when travelling around the world, you enter rooms and there’s a lot of fuss to things. When people visit New York, the fuss is outside. There’s so much to do that when you go back to your room it should be calm, quiet and peaceful.
“I took the original mouldings in the rooms and started to recreate them heavily throughout. The idea that these mouldings are present, just painted white, is a nod to tradition while at the same time moving towards the modern.
“Rooms are strictly white, the linens area all white. There’s a sun oak desk with a leather chair, wood floors with exposed concrete and two pieces of original artwork. I find it disconcerting walking into another hotel room and finding the exact same artwork but at the Life Hotel you’ll never have this.”
Avid art collectors themselves, David and Stephen have used a number of young NYC artists to create nearly 200 pieces of original art for the guest rooms while Australian fine art photographer Steven Laxton features throughout the corridors of the hotel. This commitment to art is part of a wider initiative aimed at showcasing new and upcoming talent.
Ahead of the grand opening David Mitchell said:
“The journey we’ve taken from first stepping foot into this building to opening day has been one of passion and discovery; it has been an archaeological dig from day one. There is so much history behind these walls that we were keen to keep intact while creating a hotel that goes far beyond the typical.”
“The Life brand is all about four-star service at a smart and accessible price. You’ll feel that personal touch and value from the moment you walk into the lobby – the buzz and excitement of people working from our communal tables, enjoying a cocktail at the bar or a bite in the restaurant will be enough to convince you that you’re not in an average hotel. And just wait until you experience a night in one of our guest rooms.”
With amenities and services like industry-grade Wi-Fi, Google Chrome Casting, all-natural and socially conscious LATHER bath products, access to a 24/7 fitness facility outfitted with Peloton stationary bikes, and a pet-friendly policy, a stay at Life Hotel is easy.
For more information please visit lifehotel.com.