This Micro-Room Hotel in New York’s Flower Market Channels a Decadent Garden of Eden
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This Micro-Room Hotel in New York’s Flower Market Channels a Decadent Garden of Eden

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By Jenny Xie
With rates starting at $159 a night, Moxy Chelsea offers young jet-setters an affordable stay with a big personality.

Take a stroll through New York’s Flower Market, and you might miss the entrance to Moxy Chelsea, a recently opened hotel towering 35 stories above the plant-lined sidewalk—its entrance, after all, doubles as Putnam & Putnam Flower Shop, the only retail space of celebrity floral designers Darroch and Michael Putnam. Developed by Lightstone and the second collaboration between Yabu Pushelberg and Rockwell Group, the 349-room "secret garden" has a bit of a mischievous streak, wryly weaving together botanical and Italian influences.

Moxy Chelsea’s Cor-Ten steel columns and loft-style windows references the neighborhood’s industrial vibe, while the street-level Putnam & Putnam Flower Shop and Feroce Caffè and Ristorante draw visitors into a lush, playful interior.  

Billing itself as micro-room, macro-amenity, Moxy Chelsea is all about efficiency, cutting the fat while amplifying the essentials so that the overall experience still feels posh—opulent, even, if you focus on its more unrestrained spaces like its sensuous rooftop bar (more on that later). Rooms are about half the size of what you’d typically find in New York, but high ceilings, refined details, and clever planning ensure that guests don’t mix the square footage.

Guests enter the hotel through the Putnam & Putnam Flower Shop, meant to be a "botanical library" of sorts with planter boxes climbing a 15-foot wall. It’s the first retail space for owners Darroch and Michael Putnam, a couple whose clients include Gwyneth Paltrow and Bergdorf Goodman.

Ample common areas encourage guests to get out of their rooms, and spaces are designed to transform throughout the day in terms of both use and vibe. Instead of an entrance lobby, guests are greeted at butcher-block check-in kiosks, then ushered upstairs by an imposing concrete staircase to the spacious second floor, which holds co-working lounges, Bar Feroce, Bar Feroce’s Backyard, and the oft-Instagrammed Conservatory—a three-story glass atrium with a Little Shop of Horrors-inspired living wall.

Next to the flower shop is Feroce Caffè, which joins Feroce Ristorante and Bar Feroce at Moxy Chelsea. Italian brothers Francesco and Lorenzo Panella—who own the famed trattoria Antica Pesa in Rome—are the boisterous personalities behind the three venues, and also a driving reason behind the hotel’s slightly irreverent Italian design. Oversized terrazzo floors line the bar, while cork vaulted ceilings recall Italian architecture. "There's exquisite craftsmanship and unexpected details at every turn, starting with Feroce, which feels like a fresh interpretation of a secret Roman trattoria, to the Fleur Room, which offers a lush, romantic interior landscape with enthralling art installations nodding to the Flower District," says Greg Keffer, partner at Rockwell Group, who oversaw the design alongside project manager Brad Zuger.

Because of its hyper-efficient planning, rates start at $159 a night, affording the millennial set a trendy night’s sleep at a reasonable price. Keep scrolling for a tour of the lively property.

To save on cost, check-in kiosks made out of butcher blocks—a nod to the nearby Meatpacking District—replace the traditional lobby, while a wood-formed concrete staircase draws guests up to the shared spaces above.

Rockwell Group designed a flexible second-floor lobby with a co-working space and meeting rooms with transformable furniture, allowing them to double as lounges. "In a typical hotel, you can’t use a meeting room or other daytime spaces at night, and nightclubs sit empty during the day," says Mitchell Hochberg, president of Lightstone Group. "We don’t have the option of doing that here." In the seating areas, images of classical sculptures, warped by digital glitches, are in keeping with the tongue-in-cheek mood; miniature sculptures on the shelves cheekily take selfies or don leopard-print Speedos.

On the other side Bar Feroce on the second floor is the light-filled Conservatory, which occupies a three-story, glass atrium hugging the building’s street-facing side. Across from the glass, a teeming plant wall inspired by Little Shop of Horrors allows the Flower District to infiltrate the hotel. By day, it’s a refreshing space to hold meetings or have an afternoon snack; by night, it’s a cocktail lounge complete with a DJ booth that descends from the ceiling.

Also on the second floor, Bar Feroce’s Backyard features a terra-cotta pizza oven and a made-for-Moxy bocce drinking game. Vinyl artwork inspired by the garden of Eden, designed by En Viu, screens the windows.

In the Yabu and Pushelberg-designed bedrooms, rolls of wax-dipped canvas replace traditional headboards, and a muted color palette creates a cozy, nostalgic retreat. "There's a sort of Father Knows Best honesty to the rooms, a sweetness that makes you think of childhood, and of comfort," says Glenn Pushelberg. Smart, space-saving solutions include under-bed storage and a peg wall on which hangs a writing desk and a fold-up chair.

The lava-stone sink and vanity is placed across the bathroom, maximizing space. The faucets, fashioned after hose reels, tie back to the Flower District. Cheeky phrases like "Some Regrets" and "Get Wild" adorn the tiled shower and bathroom stalls, and other lighthearted Easter eggs like custom ASMR videos on the television and celebrity-told bedtime stories on the telephone lie waiting to be discovered.

The bunk rooms exhibit the same attention to detail. "There's a huge benefit to bringing luxury hotel designers like Yabu Pushelberg to an affordable hotel project," says Hochberg. "It's not just about creating an efficient space that looks good. What you end up with is a room with personality and character. It's a room that tells a story."

Located on the 35th floor, The Fleur Room is a raucous rooftop bar. Rich, textured details like a copper-clad bar, embossed leather seating, floral-patterned velvet, and a chandelier shaped like water droplets cement the hotel’s florid, unabashed style. On the opposite side of the bar, guests take in views of the NYC skyline from a glass lounge with retractable wall, and a funky disco ball salvaged from 1980s L.A. nightclub Vertigo presides over a hip, art-school crowd.   

Moxy Chelsea opened in February 2019 after the success of Moxy Times Square, and Moxy East Village is set to open this fall. 

Related Reading:  Barcelona’s Hottest New Hotel Draws Inspiration From a Rebellious Female Author

Project Credits:

Architectural Design: Stonehill Taylor

Owner/Developer: Lightstone

Interior Designers: Yabu Pushelberg, Rockwell Group

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