The newest addition to Vikram Chatwal's Dream hotel line may be his trippiest yet. The aquatic Dream Downtown opens this week on the brim of NYC's Meatpacking District to much chatter. A converted structure that once housed the city’s homeless is now home to the notably hyped Romera New York, where the pre-fixe will set guests back a cool $245.
The 4.5-year, $410 million project oscillates between trendy and the bizarre. The façade is bold, with cheese-grater-like stainless steel adorning the exterior and circular submarine windows dotting the rooms, an heirloom from the old Maritime Hotel. The inside is grandiose—a glass-bottomed pool illuminates the lobby from the ceiling while the Presidential Suite draws its inspiration from Andy Warhol’s factory (aluminum-cloaked walls, film projector). The glowing spheres that hover overhead at Marble Lane Restaurant in the lobby conjure the Great Hall’s floating candles in Harry Potter’s Hogwarts. On the top-level rooftop lounge, views of Empire State Building are unobstructed along with the rest of glittering Midtown Manhattan.
The strongest allure to Dream Downtown may be its nightlife bona fides. A marriage with TAO Strategic Group—the tour de force behind Tao, Lavo, Marquee and Avenue—has produced a palpable buzz around Dream’s rooftop nightclub, PH-D (Penthouse at Dream). Floor-to-ceiling glass walls and a state-of-the-art sound system is sure to test the patience of surrounding neighbors (some of which are already up in arms).
Unfortunately, the prospect of the kickoff party’s crowd-meandering fire throwers and costumed mermaids becoming a regular fixture seems remote.
Nate Storey is a research assistant at Travel + Leisure.