The Ritz-Carlton may be a storied name in the world of luxury hotels with more than 100 properties worldwide, but it’s not always known for its design genius. Most of the ones I’ve visited in more than two decades of globe-trotting have been homogenous, lacking a sense of place.
Enter The Ritz-Carlton New York, NoMad, a game changer for the upscale brand. General manager Bastian Germer describes it as the face of the new Ritz-Carlton. “We’re Ritz-Carlton 2.0,” he told me. “We want to attract millennials who typically stay at high-end boutique hotels.”
If that’s the goal, The Ritz-Carlton NoMad is in a prime position to achieve it. The property is appealing in every way, from the buzzy ambiance to the eye-catching aesthetic.
I was immediately drawn to the vibrant colors and biophilic design, created by star architects and firms including Rafael Viñoly Architects, Rockwell Group and Martin Brudnizki. An impressive art collection featuring local artists engages the senses, as do floral installations that pay homage to the hotel’s location near the Flower District. Make no mistake—you know you’re in New York.
From a practical perspective, The Ritz-Carlton offers every amenity that a business or leisure traveler would want. But as this is a reimagining of a longtime formula, guests are lavished with extras that they don’t necessarily need.
Reminiscent of chic apartments, the 250 guest rooms feature neutral colors, hand-knotted rugs and an abundance of natural light. As a fan of the Parisian perfume brand Diptyque, I was thrilled to discover that the toiletries bore their name. This is the first Ritz-Carlton in the company’s portfolio to offer the line, and it comes in a divine Philosykos scent in celebration of fig trees. In addition to hand soap and body lotion, there’s a luxurious shampoo and conditioner.
The dining program was created by the Michelin-starred chef and humanitarian José Andrés. The flagship eatery Zaytinya, serving Turkish, Greek and Lebanese cuisine, is open from breakfast through dinner. I reveled in the tasty meze at night and the best version of shakshouka I’ve ever had the following morning.
Other highlights of the property include the lobby lounge and bar, which offers coffee in the morning and champagne and cocktails after dark. It also happens to be a prime people-watching spot, as is a rooftop venue, Nubeluz, designed by Brudnizki. Another Andrés restaurant, The Bazaar, is opening this winter. For business travelers, the club lounge is impressive and offers five food presentations throughout the day, including a full lunch (the burger is excellent) and desserts and cordials.
And for me, a self-proclaimed wellness seeker, it was all about the spa and gym. The latter is an airy space equipped with top-of-the-line machines, while the spa is a destination unto itself with a Zen-like ambiance, experience showers, sauna and steam areas and relaxation lounge. There’s even a wellness pod that guides guests through a de-stressing journey into letting go. My massage was also restorative, and I’m looking forward to returning to try the facials from Augustinus Bader, the cult-favorite beauty brand beloved by the who’s who. If this latest debut from The Ritz-Carlton is a first glimpse of what’s in store for the brand, I’ll definitely be a loyalist.