There’s a new buzzword on the streets: conscious hospitality. Aby Rosen is the brainchild behind the creation of 11 Howard, Soho’s newest hotel that prides itself on defining that term. ethical muse seized the opportunity to spend a night in Soho in order to learn more about conscious hospitality from Director of Sales and Marketing, Shannon Sheppard. Read on and discover a bit more about this muse-worthy concept…
ethical muse loves the term conscious hospitality. What does that mean and what elements are incorporated into this ethos? 11 Howard is at the forefront of the hospitality industry in regard to defining conscious hospitality. “Every detail in the hotel is approached with reason, purpose and consideration based on four different pillars,” Shannon states.
LOCATION Positioned on one of Soho’s authentic streets in the neighborhood.
DESIGN Its Scandinavian, minimalist design creates a sense of calm and aims to evoke different emotions in its public spaces. The lobby, which features a piece of art from Alexander Calder, is often referred to as the sculpture garden. Understandably so, when you notice the spiral staircase to the left of the lobby which sits like a solo piece of art enclosed within glass walls. The steps take you from the cool, calming zone of the lobby to the blond, 11 Howard’s bar and lounge. Look up and you will see her in neon glory. “That’s our blond,” Shannon explains. Adjacent to the blond is the library. A reinvention of social space, Shannon explains that this is open to members of the public to read, meet, work, sip tea or unwind. This was ethical muse’s favorite room – comfortable with natural light and a suggestion that you were in your own living room.
AMENITIES & SERVICES 11 Howard’s philosophy is to be as hands-on or as hands-off as the guest wishes. While traditional hotels may use terms like receptionist or concierge, 11 Howard has coined the title Creator of Guest Experience. This stems from the fact that artists and creative minds abound in Soho, and the hotel’s creators will help guests curate their own individual experience. Your creator is part front desk, part concierge and part bellman! A beautiful round desk holding two iPads, key cards and pencils gives an option for self check-in. For this muse, however, it’s all about personal contact, service and a traditional welcome.
GIVE BACK PORTION This is the pillar that caught ethical muse’s eye! “We have a heart here,” enthused Shannon. 11 Howard caters to the traveler of today, where people expect immediate gratification, so for guests booking directly online, 4% of their room rate will support the Global Poverty Project.
11 Howard has some strong and interesting collaborations which specifically tie-in with and support socially conscious causes Conscious commerce, co-founded by Olivia Wilde and Barbara Burchfield, ensures that your minibar contains products from their collaboration with Thrive Market. Products are not only healthy, but are also consciously conceived. You have the option to build your own minibar prior to check-in, or spend a few moments on your in-room tablet and order what your tummy hungers for. For those who are craving a midnight burger and fries, not to worry, you still have room service as well.
After curating your personal minibar, have your items delivered in one of Lauren Bush’s FEED bags. Your 11 FEED bag, personalized for 11 Howard, provides 11 meals to those in need.
The mural on the hotel’s south facing wall was designed with purpose. Collaborating with American artist Jeff Koons, this mural is visible, speaks to the people of the community and tells a story of the area. Music, food, fashion and industries of the past are represented. Koons mentored inspiring artists through Groundswell, a community organization that advocates personal expression and the belief that art helps build a community. The best view of this 150 x 50 foot mural is on the corner of Lafayette and Canal street. Forever food-focused, ethical muse’s favorites were the dragon representing the proximity to Chinatown and the fork twirling spaghetti representing Little Italy.
A bit about Aby Rosen and his inspiration behind the creation of this conscious hotel concept Aby Rosen created this concept from the ground up. The hotel was originally a Holiday Inn with its entrance on Lafayette, but the entrance was moved to Howard to highlight the history of this authentic Soho street. Aby is often seen in the library plumping cushions and moving furniture around. It is almost like Aby’s home in the format of a hotel. Having traveled to Copenhagen often he is a fan of their interiors and has partnered previously with Space Copenhagen. He is also well-known for his love of art which ethical muse found to be eclectic, eye-opening and contemporary – from Dan Attoe’s neon animation to Holly Fowler’s handpainted mural of Minerva on silk. Shannon let us know that Holly, an English artist and fashion designer, had previously designed a dress for Aby’s wife to wear to the Met Ball and was then asked to create something special on fabric for 11 Howard. We loved the bronze animal masks in the blond.
Final Thoughts… For our star-struck readers, book the Terrace Suite and your neighbor is Rihanna! No kidding?! Lifestyle GM of 11 Howard, Anis Khoury was kind enough to share this celebrity tidbit with ethical muse.
And, if you decide to stay at 11 Howard, be prepared to feel right at home; Shannon assured us the staff are amazing, friendly, accommodating and treat everyone like family. After speaking with her we realized that conscious hospitality is more than just the four pillars she speaks of. It extends into the community and beyond. Each guest taking away from this experience in turn extends the reach of consciousness, philanthropy and the give-back mind-set even further. We like that.