Paul Jebara | 16 February 2019
American studio HVS Design and London-based Alexander Waterworth Interiors have collaborated on this hotel close to Yale University, where a tech boom is resulting in a wave of hospitality projects.
The Blake Hotel opened in January 2019, steps away from the Ivy League university, in a buzzing downtown corridor of New Haven, Connecticut.
The recent increase of similar projects in the area has been fuelled by an influx of software, biotech, and medical research businesses, driving up demand for contemporary boutique accommodation options.
Others include the Graduate New Haven in the former Duncan Hotel, a Hilton Garden Inn within the Webster Bank building, and an IKEA-backed conversion of Marcel Breuer’s modernist Pirelli building into a 165-room hotel.
Named after Yale‘s first female graduate, Alice Blake, The Blake Hotel is intended as a design-conscious, extended-stay hotel with a culinary focus.
“The creators Randy and Claire Salvatore found that there was a demand for elevated accommodations, with Yale University as a destination for academics and the expanding food scene,” said a statement on behalf of the hotel.
“So they created a place that would appeal to a more sophisticated traveler, and incorporated a lot of New York power players from the food world.”
The lobby interprets the “subtle sophistication” of traditional New England aesthetic, while balancing cues to nature and industry in its design. Refined woodwork and leather upholstery accompany concrete flooring and blackened steel accents.
A two-sided fireplace in the centre of the room asserts the lobby as a gathering place, encouraging guests and locals to linger at their leisure.
Rolling library shelves are stacked with books and collectibles, with artwork and photography that nods to New Haven’s history. Instead of individual guest room minibars, a 24-hour mini-market occupies the space with local snacks, pre-made meals, and gifts.
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In each of the 108 rooms, stark white walls are contrasted by rust-coloured velvet seating and plush headboards with wide channel stitching.
The interplay of raw and industrial materials is echoed by dark walnut and mahogany furnishings with metal accents. Long-term stays are encouraged by fully-stocked kitchenettes in both the suites and the guest rooms.
The Blake is also aiming to establish itself as a culinary destination with its lobby-adjacent restaurant Hamilton Park, run by New Zealander chef Matt Lambert. Lambert is New Haven’s first Michelin-star chef, and his New York City restaurant The Musket Room was also designed by Alexander Waterworth Interiors.
The neo-bistro is named after New Haven’s historical sporting ground, which provided a reference for the vibrant social nature of Hamilton Park’s design.
Elements of timber, leather, and blackened steel unify a space centred around the custom quadrilateral bar and the open-air kitchen. The menu highlights traditional New England fare, elevated through the lens of downtown New York City fine dining and service.
Cocktails are crafted by former wd~50 mixologist Eben Freeman. A second restaurant and bar is slated to open on the rooftop in spring 2019, complete with a retractable glass roof.
Photography is by Read McKendree.