Rihga Royal Now London NYC

The London NYC officially opened its doors in midtown Manhattan last week, and while the property's innards are brand new, the hotel's address is not. The luxury property is a reflag of the Rihga Royal, a trendy all-suites hotel located just below Central Park. This is a savvy move by developers to redesign an existing property, rather than build from the ground up, which is costly—especially in space-handicapped New York.

The 562-room London NYC, which remained open under the Rihga Royal flag during the renovations, is notable for the names attached to the project, specifically, two renowned Europeans: Irish interior designer David Collins and Scottish chef Gordon Ramsay. Collins, who counts Madonna as one of his clients, appointed guest rooms at the 54-floor hotel with oversized beds, advanced audiovisual capabilities, functional work stations, limed oak parquet flooring and custom embossed leather accessories. "We have reinvented the existing architecture of the rooms to create a certain Anglo-European attitude," says Collins. "Everything from the furniture to the lighting will create an entirely new spin on the hotel that speaks to the ultimate wish list of the very discerning traveler." Of the 562 guest rooms, there are 40 studios and 10 specialty suites, some of which offer sweeping views of Central Park. These are in addition to a 2,400-square-foot duplex-penthouse suite to be finished in 2007.

No luxury guest room, however, is complete without a lavish bathroom. A collaboration with the bath purveyor Waterworks resulted in the implementation of elements such as hand-cut glass tiles, sandblasted glass, double-rain showerheads, marble surfaces, porcelain fixtures and stainless steel fittings.

Jean-Jacques Pergant, co-president of the LXR Luxury Resorts and Hotels collection, with which the London NYC is affiliated, says the hotel is seeking to fill a niche of modern luxury that exudes splendor, but in a manner that steers clear of pretense. "A premier hotel experience must provide the very finest location, amenities and experience in a way that is luxurious, yet not overwhelming," he says.

Yet perhaps the biggest star is Ramsay, known already in the United States for his reality TV show Hell's Kitchen on the Fox network. However, it is his cooking that he is most celebrated for, and which may prove to be a great windfall for the London NYC. Ramsay is one of only three chefs in the United Kingdom to maintain three Michelin stars for his eponymous London restaurant, Gordon Ramsay. The 45-seat Gordon Ramsay at the London, his first Stateside eatery, is located just off of the hotel's lobby, and will offer modern French cuisine. For a less formal dining experience, the hotel also has unveiled the London Bar, which is a 92-seat British-accoutered restaurant for casual dining. The hotel will also offer an in-room dining service for exclusive guests with its Gordon Ramsay 24-hour private dining menu.

While the amenities and design of the property hope to capture the imagination of guests, the hotel is also making sure that each guest's needs are taken care of as well. The London NYC employs the services of Quintessentially, a global concierge service that handles all guests' requests in a similar manner to Starwood's W Hotels' Whatever/Whenever service. This includes procuring tough-to-get show tickets and making reservations at oft-filled restaurants. "Quintessentially will provide guests with unrivaled access to New York City through its extensive global network and proactive around-the-clock service," says Ben Elliot, co-founder of Quintessentially.

The hotel is also installing a state-of-the-art fitness center called The London Club, which should be ready for use by spring 2007.

Travel agents can book the London NYC with the GDS code, XO. The hotel's travel agent liaison is Jeanette Diaz (212-698-8116). Call 866-690-2029 or visit www.thelondonnyc.com.

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