FLATIRON — Her name is Lola — only she's no showgirl.
This particular "Lola" is the name and fictional female persona behind a brand-new hotel in a historic Flatiron building that used to cater exclusively to women.
Hotel Lola opened Dec. 1 on East 29th Street, between Park and Madison avenues, after a multimillion-dollar renovation. The new establishment replaces what was most recently the Hotel Thirty Thirty, and, most notably, the former Martha Washington Hotel, which opened in 1903 as a residence strictly for single, respectable women looking to carve out lives for themselves in the big city.
"This was the first hotel catering to all women," said Parag Gupta, general manager of the Hotel Lola, about the location’s history. “We tried to channel that same spirit and energy into what you see here.”
The Hotel Lola features what Gupta describes as "sultry" décor, complete with dim lighting courtesy of lighting expert and photographer Matthew Rolston, as well as handpicked jazz music.
"My vision for the hotel lobby marries its storied history with a glamorous design aesthetic evocative of the modern day femme fatale," the hotel’s designer, Susan Jaques, said in a statement.
The walls of the lobby are covered with black-and-white images of beautiful women taken by famed fashion photographers Melvin Sokolsky and William Klein, as a nod to the hotel's female-focused history. And the bar features a menu of "aphrodisiac pairings," uniting specialty cocktails with different varieties of macarons.
The fictional character of “Lola" is represented throughout the property in whimsical black-and-white sketches from fashion illustrator Chesley McLaren, but there is no real woman that the name is based on. Lola was created by Jaques, who called her a "playful and provocative character."
Gupta agreed, reciting a rapid-fire listing of Lola's best features.
"Lola is fun. Lola is sassy. Lola is independent. Lola is in the know. Lola knows what New York is all about," he said.
The 12-story hotel, which includes 276 guest rooms, changed hands during the course of its conversion from the Hotel Thirty Thirty, which Gupta called a "basic heads-and-beds kind of hotel." It is now owned by Rockpoint, a real estate investment group, and operated by the management company Highgate Hotels, which has about 14 hotel properties throughout the city.
Rooms average about $250 per night, Gupta said, but that may increase as the hotel gains a foothold in the city’s hospitality scene.
There is also room for a restaurant and possibly even an art gallery, Gupta added. As of yet, no definite plans have been put in place for either amenity.