La Piscine—the rooftop bar, restaurant and pool at the Hôtel Americano—is helping busy New Yorkers find a moment of European bliss when they just can’t get away from the city’s sweltering heat. “You almost feel like you are on holiday in New York, like on a trip to the South of France,” says Carlos Couturier, who owns the hotel, along with ten others in Mexico, with co-owner Rafael Micha. The pristine rooftop, which opened simultaneously with the Chelsea hotel last September, hadn’t been able to fully flaunt its potential until the weather reached warmer temperatures this past spring. But now that summer is in full swing, artists and A-listers have been flocking to the small but chic space for a drink and a dip.
Just since May, actress Scarlett Johansson has been spotted celebrating socialite Pippa Cohen’s birthday with designer Brian Atwood; Net-a-Porter founder Natalie Massenet busted a move with fashion-staples Jason Wu and Olivier Theyskens; and models Karlie Kloss and Arizona Muse helped designer Olivier Rousteing celebrate the launch of Balmain’s Facebook and Twitter page. “Since our Sept. 5 opening, we’ve had everyone from Martha Stewart to Ewan McGregor,” Micha adds.
However, don’t think the space is strictly VIP: “We have regulars. When they come we know who they are. I don’t like elitism. The neighborhood is not about that,” Couturier, who gave us a tour of the hotel and its multiple eateries and lounges, explains. “It pays to be a regular, or a guest of the hotel, or call ahead of time.”
If you can’t get a table right off the bat, a reservation is worth the wait. Micha and Couturier aren’t just detailed when it comes to decorating; they’re fanatical. Furniture from Brazil was handpicked for the dining area, striped seating was specially ordered from Massachusetts and big, floppy lounges surrounding the dipping pool came from Italy. (The watering hole, which is only open to non-hotel guests after 5 p.m., is guarded by a sign that wittily says “Get A Room.”)
The drink list was also heavily thought out, with Latin-influenced cocktails including a margarita, caipirinha and mojito, beers from Greece and French wine. The menu follows suit, with dishes that lean towards a Mediterranean palate—featuring grilled fish and vegetable dishes—with heavy Greek influences. As for Couturier? “I’m Mexican with a French passport!” he laughs.
While the rooftop closes up shop at 12 a.m. (rather early by New York standards), “as not to disturb the hotel guests,” patrons can head to the hotel’s basement lounge, El Privado. “We don’t want it to be too crowded,” explains Couturier of the retro and French-inspired bar and private event space, “so many places in New York are so crowded, but if you’re in the know, come down and have a drink.”
La Piscine at the Hôtel Americano, 518 W. 27th Street, 212.525.0000