London Preview: South Place Hotel

One only needs to know that conspirators from the late, lamented Great Eastern Hotel (now an Andaz) are involved here to guess that the new South Place Hotel is set to be a magnet for East London’s most unfailingly hip. 

The first hotel from the D&D hospitality group (Bluebird Chelsea, Quaglino’s, et al), South Place has got just 80 rooms and will flaunt two Tony Fleming-helmed restaurants: the mod diner 3 South Place and the rooftop spot Angler for seafood and rapturous views. The 3 South Place Bar will be buzzing into the wee hours. The Conran & Partners interiors are sleek, vintage-modern, with artworks by John Vincent Aranda and Damien Florebert-Cuypers. An annual South Place Hotel Art Prize and Sunday Cinema Sessions series seal the hotel’s cultural cred. Opens September 3rd.

Andaz 5th Avenue Coming Sooner

The highly anticipated Andaz Fifth Avenue hotel wasn’t scheduled to open until this August, but now guests get to check in sooner. The hotel is having a soft opening this weekend, starting on Sunday, July 5th, with rates from $295 a night for an Andaz King room.

The latest Andaz property—one of just five under the Hyatt’s boutique banner—is located on 41st and 5th Avenue, right behind the New York Public Library and Bryant Park. The entry level King rooms are a whopping 322-foot-square—huge by NYC standards—and rooms reportedly also have 12-foot-high ceilings. Another nice touch, common to all Andaz properties, is free Wi-Fi and complimentary snacks and non-alcoholic beverages.

In terms of decor in the 184 rooms, expect the sleek modern thing most boutique hotels have in common—clean lines, careful lighting, platform beds, soothing neutrals with a splash of color. Bathrooms look especially intriguing, with rain showers and black porcelain foot baths. Get it on the cheap while you can. After the intro specials, room rates could climb closer to $400/night.

Nocturnal Confessions: Go East, Young Man!

I promised myself I wouldn’t get wrapped up in fashion week this year. But I am a goddam liar, so this weekend found me scrambling around lower Manhattan, looking for the best of this and the most fun that. Highlights for me included Jeremy Laing, Band of Outsiders, Victor Glemaud and Camila Staerk.

With the exception of Charlotte Ronson’s shindig at Avenue, the party highlights were found closer to Brooklyn than the Boom Boom Room, like Prabal Gurung’s fete at the newly christened Kenmare. After the snowy Sabbath that was Monday, I was looking for something a little different, and made my way down to the financial district to check out the party for Clandestine, Pete Wentz’s line for DKNY.

I have to admit I was confused by the amalgam of fashion, rock and Wentz that was happening at Andaz. I was told to put away my camera on arrival, a strange request, considering the giant chamber was sparsely populated, and mostly by guys who fit in somewhere between my dentist and an MBA. As I beat a hasty retreat, I noticed a side-chamber, velvetly roped off. In a week that centers on exclusivity, it is probably odd that this was the first official VIP room I’ve seen, and doubly odd that it would be at a party that was more FUBAR than rocking. I’ve only heard Pete Wentz’s band on soundtracks to the teen schlock I am embarrassingly addicted to, like Stick It and One Tree Hill, and I only really know of him from the tabloids (to me, he is the John and Kate of music), but judging from the amount of sponsors installed behind the posing “famous” faces , there’s a lot of folks who want to be in the Pete Wentz business. I’ll leave it at this: beware of the party with more sponsors than attendees.

The perfect antidote to this downtown shit show was the intimate and dimly-lit affair that was the Rodarte party at The Cabin Down Below. Nestled underneath the oyster-and-cheeseburger paradise that is Black Market, the movie stars mixed with us normals and danced with their pals. There were Olsens and a smiling Kirsten Dunst in the cabin, while the Rodarte girls held court in a banquet up top. It had a feeling of privacy, without being unwelcoming, or too-cool for school. Really everything a fashion week party should be (for several seasons in a row, the best fashion week jams I’ve attended have been held in the seriously unpretentious East Village). As more and more shows move from the $50,000 per booking Bryant Park tents to the more reasonable and accessible Milk Studios, we can only hope the parties will follow a similar, though more easterly trajectory.

image Backstage at Jeremy Laing.   image Looks from Jeremy Laing Fall 2010.   image A young man being escorted from the Clandestine party, and by far the most interesting thing that happened there.   image An assclown.  At Clandestine.   image Above Cabin at Black Market…   image and Down Below where you could fine models…   image ….hipsters   image ….people sitting and laughing   image …more models   image …fashion bigwigs   image …even Archie and the gang.