I recently enjoyed a weekend getaway in New York, where I stayed at the incredibly inspiring hotel & spa, “The Surrey”.

I love to stay there because of its beautiful architectural detail, design and décor elements. I very often draw my inspiration for my design projects from wonderful hotels where I have stayed. The Surrey recently underwent a $60 + million dollar renovation which brought the hotel up to a very high standard of luxury that reflects the neighbourhood where it’s tucked away. Marble flooring and archways, coffered ceilings, limestone walls and mouldings and an antique oriental rug made from mosaic tiles (yes, mosaic tiles!) are just some of the finishes used to create this lavish accommodation. While I was there, I counted my top ten favourite design features of the destination (and it was hard narrowing it down to just ten!) that I am going to share with you and it will make you want to visit the hotel if you go to NYC. Introducing these features into your own home can have it too looking like it’s worth $60 million bucks!



1. Creating a “Recessed” Wall     
 Having recessed niches in interior walls are great architectural attributes for creating depth and interest into a space. They can be a wonderful way of displaying art or a great area to push a prized piece of furniture into. Not every space is built with them, but The Surrey has come up with a great solution that is not only easy but affordable in creating your own. Using a grey shade of paint similar to the one in the image (such as Benjamin Moore’s HC-172 Revere Pewter), paint a square or rectangle on your lighter coloured walls in the size of your choice to create what looks to be like an alcove. These “niches” would look great spread out down a hallway. Paint 1-½ foot squares, having the middle of the square at about eye level. Hang artwork in the greyed areas and you’ve instantly got your own home gallery!


2. Sculptural Furniture
Who says furniture can’t also serve as art? Look at this amazing decagon shaped coffee table? The detail in it is just so unexpected, with its carved top and mirrored base. This could easily be the focal point in any room – and the best part is, a table like this doesn’t even need to be accessorized. It’s perfect just on its own.


3. Air-conditioned Artwork
You would never think that behind this lovely wood cabinet with its beautiful geometrical detail would be an unattractive air conditioner. The Surrey has really thought of every last detail when it comes to hiding imperfections. This unit also serves as storage space where you see the mirrored doors. I appreciate the thought that goes behind the way they have designed the space, because I do the same when creating my designs.


4. Handsome Hardware
The Surrey did a wonderful job in choosing the hardware throughout the hotel;  See these knobs that are each intricately detailed. Though these are minor details, they really create a lot of drama within the space. Check out their bathroom fixtures as well; they were very well chosen. Plumbing hardware is something that would normally go unnoticed, but these have character which makes them memorable adding the perfect finishing touch to the already beautiful surrounding space

5. It’s all in the Lighting
Lighting can make or break a space: the wrong lighting can completely destroy the mood or feeling you were trying to create in a space, and the right lighting will do the complete opposite. Soft and more ambient lighting is great for relaxation which is the direction I noticed The Surrey went for a majority of its fixtures. Check out this idea of mounting your light fixtures directlyon the mirror above the vanity. Not only does it save wall space but it allows for direct lighting when getting ready, and also looks awesome!


6. Warm Window Seating
Instead of having a radiator project into the room taking up valuable floor space, why not turn it into a bench seat? They’re easy to make yourself with a slipcover and piece of foam, or you can get one custom made to fit the exact width and depth of the top of the heater. Accessorize it with a cushion or two and you’ve got a cute and cozy spot to rest or extra seating for guests.


7. ‘Below-average’ Wainscoting
The wainscoting bordering the walls in the hallways of the hotel didn’t sit at the average height of 48 inches. Instead, it was 36 inches, visually making the ceilings appear higher and the walls look longer. I like that instead of using the traditional bead board they decided to use a dark coloured paint with moulding meeting  it at the top. It really creates an elegant sense of drama without going overboard.


8. Mirror Mirror on the Wall
I thought that this was such a great idea for a feature wall. If you’ve got an area of a wall that is recessed, mirror the entire area and insert mirrored shelves in the center. Line the shelves with real or battery-powered candles. This is a great way to create that warmth you’re lacking if you haven’t got a fireplace.


9. Out-of-sight Outlets
Electrical outlets tend to be a bit of an eye sore in a beautifully designed space. The Surrey has strategically placed their outlets on the baseboard, only an inch or so from the floor, so that they virtually become unnoticed and are very easy to hide. That way, you can hide wiring along the floor rather than having it show half-way up the wall.


10. Undetectable Doors
On the hotel’s main floor you’ll find this large framed mirror mimicking the look of an oversized window. Mirrors are great for reflecting light which will visually make any space seem larger, especially when they stretch from floor to ceiling.


I’m sure after seeing all the beautiful details put into every aspect of this hotel, you will want to book your stay. The Surrey Hotel & Spa is nestled in between Madison & Fifth Avenue in the Upper East side in the heart of Manhattan. To find out more about the hotel and its history, visit their website at http://www.thesurreyhotel.com/

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