A decade ago, hotelier Alex Ohebshalom returned to New York after a year-long solo backpacking trip around the world. Back in his hometown, Ohebshalom eventually channeled his curiosity for travel and design into The Fifth Avenue Hotel, which opens to visitors this fall.
"It's been a bit since a proper elevated, super luxe, highly intimate bespoke independent brand has come to New York," says Ohebshalom, several weeks before the property's September debut. The Flâneur Hospitality founder has spent the past 10 years bringing his vision of a new independently owned luxury hotel in NoMad to life.
More than a century after the original Fifth Avenue Hotel — which was located a few blocks south of the current 28th Street location — closed, Ohebshalom is resurrecting the concept with hopes that the property will become one of the city's greatest, internationally known hotels.
"We wanted to do something that we could be proud of for the next hundred or so years," says Ohebshalom, whose family has owned the Renaissance-style building since the late '70s. "We're deeply rooted in New York as a family. And that was another huge reason why we decided not to put a big brand flag on this project," he adds. "There was too much to honor."
The new hotel includes the original landmarked mansion designed by McKim, Mead & White, one of the most prominent architecture firms at the turn of the 20th century, along with a new high-rise glass tower designed by Perkins Eastman and PBDW Architects. Ohebshalom enlisted Martin Brudnizki to design the hotel's interiors with the approach of mixing opulence and modernity, while paying homage to the building's Gilded Age history.
"His genius is in making intimate and residential spaces feel very vibrant and almost whimsical," says Ohebshalom of Brudnizki, whose past projects include Annabel's in London and The Beekman in downtown New York. "He is the master of the modern grand fantasy."
The mansion part of the hotel features 40-foot ceilings and arched windows, along with antique mirrors, marble flooring, and cabinets of curiosities. The 153 guest rooms and suites channel a "romantic bohemian" vibe with a design palette of greens, pinks and yellows. Design details include antique furnishings and colorful Murano chandeliers.
Ohebshalom orchestrated the hotel with a specific guest in mind: a flâneur, described by poet Charles Baudelaire in the late 1800s. "It's a character that's traveled all over the world," says Ohebshalom. "An erudite worldly traveler, a highly curious aficionado of all things art, food, experiences, and gastronomy."
Flâneur descriptives aside, Ohebshalom has envisioned the hotel as a space for everyone and anyone looking for some enchantment in the city. "It's all about tasting and trying new things and being open and present with that [experience]. We're trying to enliven all the senses," he adds.
A gastronomic experience awaits visitors to the Fifth Avenue Hotel in the form of a new Andrew Carmellini restaurant, Café Carmellini. The chef, known for downtown mainstays like Locanda Verde and The Dutch, is leading the hotel's flagship F&B program. The new restaurant will tap into Carmellini's French and Italian fine-dining background, marrying the grandiosity of the dining room with an elevated menu.
250 5th Ave
New York, NY 10001