There’s no greater sign of success than a client coming back for more. A decade ago, Steven Kratchman Architect P.C. (SKAPC) was tapped to reposition Ravel Hotel, located in then-up-and-coming Long Island City, NY; now, the company was rehired to expand the hotel’s capacity to tap the lucrative food and beverage market.
The initial phase of the repositioning took place from 2005-2008, when Ravel’s owner, Ravi Patel, sought to take advantage of Long Island City’s proximity to Manhattan, creative culture and sweeping skyline views—assets that have seen visitors and urbanites flock to the area in the past 15 years—by creating what was one of the first “new” boutique hotels in Queens. (Today, there are more than 100.)
This phase involved the design and construction of a ground-up, five-story building adjacent to and on top of the existing structure, which added 9,500 sq. ft., 63 guestrooms and an expanded parking area to the space. The guestrooms and suites, designed with windows as a backdrop, featured open floor plans, high ceilings and modern finishes. SKAPC also incorporated new amenity spaces, including Penthouse 808, a 9,500-sq.-ft. indoor/outdoor rooftop restaurant and lounge.
Today, Patel is capitalizing on that, having purchased three adjacent parcels, aiming to target the corporate events sector and destination wedding clientele.
“Our inspiration came from envisioning the hotel as an ‘urban resort’ and a true destination, rather than just a hospitality property,” said Steven Kratchman, president, Steven Kratchman Architect P.C. “We wanted to give it the resort-like qualities of being self-contained while incorporating seemingly unlimited common and outdoor areas for leisure and relaxation. The walkable hotel provides guests the freedom to roam and use any common area, enjoy friendly and helpful service, and utilize a central catering facility equipped to handle two or more large events simultaneously. Common/outdoor areas not only are inward focused but also oriented to the unique urban surroundings. The goal was to create an environment that was both luxurious and comfortable, while taking full advantage of the hotel’s sprawling views. The massive dimensions of the nearby Queensborough Bridge and its surrounding transportation infrastructure combine to create a gritty visual experience of wonder and admiration.”
The SKAPC team created a 10-story, ground-up hotel tower with three levels of amenity space, including a grand ballroom with covered outdoor terraces, two rooftop pools and an 18,000-sq.-ft. pool deck. The tower houses 40 guestrooms and new dining options, with a bridge connecting the two facilities. Conceived as a way to ensure the hotel would never need to close during construction, the bridge proved to be a functional long-term solution to linking the spaces.
“Our strategy was focused on connecting new design features with the hotel’s existing elements at all three levels: grade, floor and rooftop,” Kratchman said. “We sought to create a continuous circuit with no dead ends so that guests could have limitless options for getting from one place to the next while enjoying the significant number of available on-site amenities, food and beverage options and spectacular views. Because the hotel is event-focused, we wanted guests to be able to get to and from their rooms at any time of day or night without having to pass through the lobby or any single connection point.”
Guestrooms were designed with communicating doors and walk-around balconies to make it easy for friends and relatives to connect. SKAPC designed a new entrance lobby and upgraded the corridors, amenity spaces and building facade. In addition, Kratchman and his team resolved existing and potential parking issues, enabling guests to park and drop off on site and under cover.
The firm also was charged with addressing Patel’s desire to create a central catering facility to handle two or more large events at the same time. The new kitchen was constructed below grade to avoid using floor space, and it allowed Patel to eliminate the satellite kitchens distributed throughout the hotel.
“Key design features include the sky bridge, which connects the upper levels of the new hotel tower to the existing rooftop; water features; and multiple rooftop and outdoor enjoyment spaces that can be enjoyed in all four seasons,” Kratchman said. “My favorite elements are the addition of a new double-loaded corridor to the original building using pixelated-looking balconies; the wraparound balconies in the tower; and overall proximity to the Queensborough Bridge, which dominates the hotel’s dramatic northern views.”