Firmdale Opens Second Boutique Hotel in NYC

Eight years after the debut of Crosby Street Hotel in SoHo, the company returns to Manhattan.
The Whitby Bar in New York
The Whitby Bar in New York

New York—Opening a property in New York City worked out so well for Firmdale Hotels the first time around that the company decided to do it again. The London-based hotel company recently introduced The Whitby, an 86-key boutique hotel property at 18 W. 56th St. in Manhattan.

The Whitby’s debut comes eight years after Firmdale made its entrée into the New York market with the development of the 86-key Crosby Street Hotel in SoHo. Now the company takes on Upper Midtown. Stonehill & Taylor is behind the architectural design of the 16-story property, while Firmdale Hotels co-owner and design director Kit Kemp put her legendary stamp on the interior, creating individually designed guestrooms draped in color, texture and original art. The lodging destination, a member of the Design Hotels global collection of independent properties, also features The Whitby Bar on the ground level, a 130-seat cinema and private event rooms.

The Whitby Hotel in New York
The Whitby Hotel in New York

The property is the very definition of a boutique hotel, which, as renowned hotelier Ian Schrager said during the Boutique and Lifestyle Lodging Association’s 2016 conference, “has to do with having a single focus, an attitude, product distinction, creating an elevated experience.” He added, “It’s not trying to be a generic commodity to satisfy all people. There’s a singular focus.”

Firmdale’s announcement of the opening of The Whitby was not accompanied by any details on the development cost. However, as noted on the website of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP, Firmdale relied on the law firm for counsel on a $50 million construction financing transaction for the project.

The Whitby joins the sizeable group of hotels that are popping up across Manhattan. “There are still another 40 hotels with approximately 10,000 hotel rooms expected to enter the market in the next two years,” Anne Lloyd-Jones, a senior managing director with global hospitality consulting firm HVS, commented in a December 2016 report. “The good news is that the trends that are putting downward pressure on rate are temporary and can be reversed. The local economy is strong, and demand from all sources is expected to continue to grow.”

Images courtesy of Firmdale Hotel