The historic Lexington Hotel in Midtown is embracing its former splendor. The star-magnet hotel – which today officially joins Marriott’s eclectic Autograph Collection – is going through the final stages of a multimillion renovation that was inspired by its 1920s Jazz age roots.
Led by New York City’s Dash Design, the hotel makeover (which began in 2012 and will wrap up by October 1, 2013) is most evident in the gleaming double-height lobby, with a unique wraparound balcony. The building’s 1920s bone structure –by Schultze and Weaver – was maintained and enhanced with striking interior design flourishes, from giant murals to vintage photographs. The designers tapped Warhol pal Paige Powell to curate the hotel’s art, which includes an Art Deco mural by Ruben Toledo that unfolds from the ground floor to the mezzanine. Jazz tunes fill the lobby and the adjoining bar – the Mixing Room – which was also refreshed with 1920s-style furnishings and art.
Celebrating the hotel’s past makes sense, because it’s an impressive one. Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe lived in a suite on the 18th floor, and actress Dorothy Lamour was a regular guest. The hotel was also host to the shenanigans of the Playboy Club, which occupied several areas of the hotel. More recently, everyone from Roger Federer to Bill Clinton have spent the night here.
Gold elevators emblazoned with songbirds take you up to the 725 renovated rooms and suites where the jazzy theme continues. The rooms feature photographs and drawings from the Lexington’s grand old days, as well as a musical mural inspired by Irving Berlin, with a verse from Russian Lullaby sewn onto the drapery and bedspread, as if the tunes are lightly dancing around the room.
To hear the real thing, head to the Mixing Room, which hosts Jazz and other sultry music. Sip a potent Manhattan, unwind on a lounge chair and take in the tinkling tunes. If Marilyn Monroe were still around, you’d probably find her here. If she wasn’t upstairs in her suite, that is. Her digs with DiMaggio are currently being transformed into the Centerfield Suite, which will salute the two legends.