“Distilled” is the operative word when describing the new Sister City hotel. The latest offering from the Ace Hotel empire, this new lodging takes on a sober and functional yet comfortable aesthetic that harkens back to simpler times; a welcomed respite from the hustle and bustle of the gritty Lower East Side neighborhood that surrounds it.
Though the design of this new boutique hotel draws inspiration from as varied a source as Finnish saunas, Japanese bento boxes, prehistoric rock-cut cliff dwellings, and deconstructivist musician’s John Cage’s seminal and silent 4’33” composition, Sister City’s use of lattice-wood wall structures, planes, and build-it furniture pulls it all together. Sharp terrazzo, geometric tile, indoor plants, and white-wall accents make for a striking mise-en-scene.
The 200-room property rises discreetly behind New York City’s storied Bowery and is at a stone’s throw away from the towering Public Hotel, and the Citizen M+ Hotel. These flashy venues have transformed the neighborhood by fostering a scenester and fashionista clientele. Adhering to a “less, but better” philosophy, Sister City offers a far less imposing or stressful experience.
“We wanted our guests to be granted a bit of nourishing serenity,” Atelier Ace Chief Brand Officer Kelly Sawdon explains. “It’s a notion inspired by the simplicity and generosity offered in the natural world, but brought into the center of a frenetic metropolis, where it’s needed most.”
Sawdon and the in-house Atelier Ace team developed the new hotel by favoring necessity and intuition over “loud design moves.” The overall scheme champions quiet, purposeful, and honest architectural and interior details; all in the service of those who experience it. There are no artworks on the walls of the micro-bedrooms. Instead, each furnishing has been carefully crafted to standalone. Whether its Noguchi Akari lanterns, Italian cherry-wood bed frame, and tables, or terrazzo vanities, every finish has a deliberate purpose.
“For Sister City, we wanted to see how technology could elevate compassionate hospitality as an extension of design.” Sawdon explains. “We developed self-registration kiosks, an intuitive website for personalizing your in-room amenities and worked with Microsoft Music x Technology and musician Julianna Barwick on an ever-evolving, generative Lobby Score.”
The hotel is complemented by the soon-to-open Floret restaurant, on the ground floor, and the Last Light rooftop bar. The 11th-floor watering hole has a sweeping, unobstructed view of New York and is one of the only points at which guests interact with the city staying in this secluded retreat.