Not far from Bryant Park and Grand Central Terminal, on East 39th Street, a six-storey brownstone exterior barely hints at the surprises within – that is, until you arrive under a bright indigo-lined awning and glimpse similar shades inside the foyer. This is not a white-washed, minimalist experience, to say the least; the interiors of The William were developed in collaboration with artist William Engel, whose brightly coloured canvasses were created for the project in a shared studio with In Situ Design and Lilian B. Interiors. The designers pulled from Engel’s palette to develop a unique theme centred around his work, which is displayed prominently throughout the hotel.
Monochromatic and strategically contrasting walls and furnishings (many of which are mid-century Scandinavian) present an unabashed exploration of colour, from the richest blood red to bright teal and turquoise, with accents of orange, yellow, fuchsia, spring green and, naturally, plenty of white, grey and black to complement the intensity of hues. Each level features a distinct range of tones, but without being overly predictable; different shades are mixed and matched creatively and often unexpectedly. White resin floors create continuity and airiness, while custom area rugs tie into the colour palette of each room.
The 33 suites – in two connected brownstone buildings that formerly housed an alumni club for Williams College – are available to guests who need a home-away-from-home for a month or more. A restaurant and a pub are supplemented by in-suite kitchenettes, and several suites offer outdoor terraces. The unconventional hotel also touts its employees as “Culture Curators” who will guide out-of-towners to some of the best attractions and assist with grocery shopping or other day-to-day needs. While catering to business travellers or relocating professionals, The William boldly breaks free from typical hospitality trends – and might even start a few of its own.