The new 1 Hotels brand, the brainchild of hospitality innovator Barry Sternlicht—the former Starwood exec behind the luxury upstart Baccarat Hotels & Resorts brand last year—is undeniably conscious. And pretty. Sternlicht took inspiration for 1 Hotels from his children, who are passionate about the environment (one even majored in it in college). Opened in August, shortly after a Miami Beach flagship, the 1 Hotel Central Park is the second in the brand, and it has nailed the idea of responsible hedonism.
As much as we want our lodging choices to care for the planet, many of us just want to have an engaging, uplifting stay in a hotel. And in this regard, the 1 Hotel Central Park, for all its LEED certifications and “green” positioning, succeeds. It wins guests over on its own enjoyable terms.
With some 24,000 plants inside the hotel, and a lot more ivy on the three-story living walls on the exterior (designed by AgroSci), the hotel feels alive in a way that few others do. There are hanging plants and terrariums in the lobby, an eminently Instagrammable piece of living art that reads, “No thing is ever really lost” by the elevators, and windowsills strewn with plants in the 229 guest rooms—a less flashy but much appreciated upgrade from the little pink blossoms in bud vases that hotels traditionally needed to earn a five-star designation.
Many of the building materials are organic, not only in an Ecocert sense, but in a just-sprung-from-nature sense. The front doors are composed of 16,000 twigs. Floors and walls are made from reclaimed wood, which has a weathered patina that’s more appealing than the freshly harvested stuff. The anchor art in the lobby’s compact sitting area is a beautiful piece of driftwood.