Floor designer

The revival of the Chelsea Hotel – and three other legendary hotels

According to New York stories, the Chelsea Hotelis good enough to have already filled pages. Opened in 1884 as one of Manhattan’s first private co-ops (and, at 12 stories, then the tallest building on the island), it evolved over the course of the 20th century on a wild up-and-down trajectory involving multiple ownership changes, famous tenants (including Allen Ginsberg, Arthur Miller, Jasper Johns, Betsey Johnson, Patti Smith and Bob Dylan), notorious film and photography shoots (Warhol’s Chelsea Girls; of Madonna Sex), and a handful of legendary deaths (like that of Dylan Thomas, in 1953, who allegedly sank an entire bottle of whiskey in his final hours). With hotel guests partially subsidizing long-term residents and grand (if practically dying) interiors, it continued to attract romantics until it was sold and closed – as a hotel, anyway – in 2011.

The dining room of El Quijote restaurant © Timothy O’Connell

Seats at the bar of El Quijote Restaurant at the Chelsea Hotel

Seats at the bar of El Quijote restaurant at the Chelsea Hotel © Timothy O’Connell

In the spring of 2022, the Chelsea Hotel is once again open for business. After yet more ownership fights, tenants’ rights agitations that stalled all work for more than two years, and the pandemic, it quietly and partially reopened under owners Richard Born, Ira Drukier and Sean MacPherson. It’s a formidable New York triad – between them, the three are responsible for the Mercer, the Bowery, the Jane and Maritime Hotels, the Waverly Inn and half a dozen other top Manhattan addresses (MacPherson has been dubbed “the man who shaped downtown”. The New York Times).

The Chelsea Hotel lobby bar

The Chelsea Hotel lobby bar © Timothy O’Connell

A two-bedroom pied-à-terre at the Chelsea Hotel
A two-bedroom pied-à-terre at the Chelsea Hotel © Timothy O’Connell

What have they changed? A few original elements remain: works of art collected in the heyday of the 70s, 80s and 90s, by people like Donald Baechler and Sandro Chia, for example. Fireplaces in some rooms, stained glass windows in others. True to the building’s hybrid hotel-apartment history, these still vary wildly in size, from queen-bed studios to two-bedroom pied-à-terre. But remnants of the past contribute to a masterful overhaul: the Chelsea Hotel monogram is now encrusted in the entrance halls and embossed on the door handles; sheets are custom 400 thread count (also with logo); the pied-à-terre are equipped with hobs and Lacanche stoves in the kitchens.

A bedside table in one of the bedrooms

A bedside table in one of the bedrooms © Timothy O’Connell

Downstairs, the lobby and lobby bar are the beneficiaries of a careful polish. Mosaic floors and inlaid ceiling have been simply but meticulously restored, while luxurious sunrooms have been added to the lobby bar, where hotel guests and all those who book have access to a menu of cocktails and small plates. Rooftop spa and fitness center, check (for summer); semi-private dining room in the original El Quijote restaurant, check. Another, possible French restaurant, check. Depending on nostalgic inclinations, the new Chelsea Hotel is either a parody of history or instantly on the must-see list. From $295; hotelchelsea.com


Vineyard Haven: West Coast Edition

The renovated ranch house at The Madrona in Sonoma County

The renovated ranch house at The Madrona in Sonoma County © Matthew Millman

Healdsburg in North Sonoma County just keeps going from strength to strength, with farmers and restaurateurs, designers and artists contributing to the scene. The most recent company is The Madronaopened last month – a c1880 ranch house-turned-restaurant and inn formerly called Madrona Manor, which San Francisco interior designer Jay Jeffers bought in 2021 and renovated into a collection of super-luxe guest rooms ( in the main house) and private bungalows (scattered over the estate’s eight acres).

The Madrona lounge

The Madrona drawing room © Matthew Millman

Madrona's Palm Terrace Restaurant

Madrona’s Palm Terrace restaurant © Matthew Millman

Jeffers closely espouses the late Victorian bones and aestheticist spirit of the house, with rugs commissioned from local artists, numerous ornate blackened mahogany headboards, and hundreds of antiques (many of which featured in the property when Jeffers acquired it). Another key holdover from its previous iteration: Chef Jesse Mallgren, who carried his Michelin star at Madrona Manor for 13 years, and will lead Madrona’s dining room and alfresco Palm Terrace. From $750; themadronahotel.com


Restoring La Dolce Vita in Capri

A room at Il Capri

A room at Il Capri © Marine Billet

Trying to find empty accommodation on the Amalfi Coast for summer 2022 already has a squid game– as a matter of fact, so little product is availability. Good news for Capri aficionados, where a bit more will go live next month in the form of The Capria high-design update of a soft but resolutely age four star hotel. The new owners – a founder of a French hotel group and his Neapolitan wife, whose family is historically present on the island – have brought a jet-setty and bohemian chic style to the 21 rooms and suites: wicker, soft colors that go from beige to ‑spectrum pink and high windows framed in translucent linen.

One of Il Capri's refurbished rooms

One of Il Capri’s renovated rooms © Marine Billet

But the real ambitions are for public spaces, including a 145-seat restaurant, Vesuvio, and the Caprirama Bar, with plenty of outdoor/garden seating. And we’ve already booked a morning to explore his fabulous retail concept, filled with vinyls from Neapolitan funk label Periodica Records, books published by La Conchiglia, local boutique Caprese and chic collaborations with the tailors of the old Marinella world and the new French. fashion brand Nomasei, among others. From €590; ilcaprihotel.com


90 years young in Bermuda

Cambridge Beaches in Bermuda
Cambridge Beaches in Bermuda © Cavan Images

Bermuda without Cambridge Beaches is, for many, unimaginable. The gracious 99-year-old resort, with four stretches of pinkish-white sand, two private coves and mellow guesthouses (some of them dating from the 17th century) dotting a 23-acre peninsula, epitomizes the charms of the island like almost no other address on it. As with so many places like it, the past two years have put the future in jeopardy.

Cambridge Beaches cottages are spread over the 23-acre peninsula

The Cambridge Beaches cottages are spread over the 23-acre peninsula © Nhuri Bashir

The new owners have made a massive investment and brought in New York talent to shape a new experience without giving up what makes Cambridge Beaches special. Kellyann Hee brings the experience of the Soho House design team to the decor; St John Frizell, the co-founder of Gage & Tollner, Brooklyn’s cult oyster and chop house, and his even cooler second-floor cocktail bar, the Sunken Harbor Club, have opened a Sunken Harbor outpost here . There are new spa menus and water sports programs, but, we promise, all the cuteness of yesteryear is still intact. From $495; cambridgebeaches.com

@mariashollenbarger