The first hotel by corporate housing company Furnished Quarters, the Q&A Residential Hotel in New York City is a world of juxtapositions. Art meets intellect. Home meets hotel. Dull meets bright. Tradition meets change.
Lastly, this tiny hotel resides inside a massive skyscraper. But just because it doesn’t have its own building doesn’t make it any less of a hotel. It has a brand new gym, health center and a rooftop restaurant, you just have to share the facilities with residents. Perfect for meeting locals.
While it occupies only a small part of the famed AIG Building, the new Q&A Residential Hotel in NYC definitely leaves a mark.
Walking through the Art Deco AIG building (aka 70 Pine Street), which was built in 1932 and has become an architectural icon in the decades since, the gilded ceilings and grand staircases lead you believe you’re about to embark on a Gatsby-esque vacation. But as you make your way around the elevators and into Q&A’s sleek lobby, the gold changes to gray and the anti-Art Deco-ness hits you like a ton of bricks. Drastically opposing the historical landmark it calls home, the lobby of the Q&A Residential Hotel (which is within the building’s main lobby) is anything but old-fashioned. Between the Rubik’s cubes, the cubism-inspired pillows and the crowd of tiny sculpted men staring up at you, the lobby inspires the curious mind, perfectly defining its name, which stands for Question & Answer.
What Q&A lacks in views—the hotel occupies floors 3 through 6 of the otherwise residential skyscraper—it makes up for in indoor stimulation. As you walk into the room, your eyes go straight to the wall covered in math formulas (pictured at top). If you’re feeling ambitious, sit in front of it for a while and try to figure out what the heck is going on. For the rest of you, head into the oversized living room or bedroom—depending on what type of room you get—where smart TVs, Bose speakers and more interesting artwork await. There are six room types, from studios to two bedrooms, and each type is themed after a specific invention. The 1 bedroom suite, for example, pays homage to the Wright Brothers and their 1906 flying machine. Each room has a blown-up blueprint of the patent hanging on a wall—making it the room’s focal point—and one or two other paintings or photographs that follow the theme.
Moving on from the art, (even though it’s the best part) since the hotel is made for longer stays, each suite comes with a fully equipped kitchen. The rooms are filled with custom mod-designed furniture and the walls are painted gray. Don’t let the bland color fool you, though; nothing about the room is dull, from top to bottom—check out the carpets, each one is a bit off-kilter.
The space is bound to inspire you, so take to the in-room chalkboard to speak your mind. Otherwise, soak in the tub with the hotel’s signature owl watching from above. Kinda creepy, but you’ll get used to it.
“Genius … a person with the ability to spot problems and devise smarts solutions.”
Or … the designers of New York City’s Q&A Residential Hotel.
The way this space blurs the lines between art and intellect is striking. The interior designer turned the world’s greatest inventions into art by using brilliance as décor with patents hanging on the walls and wallpaper made of math formulas. This desire to blend creativity with brilliance is clearly in the brand’s DNA as the definition of the word genius is used as decoration in the lobby—painted on the wall as if the words were as pretty as clouds.
You’re in the financial district of Manhattan; it’s not the most happening part of the city—unless it’s sometime between 9 and 5 on a weekday. But seeing NYC asleep and in silence is remarkable—and even the deadest part of Manhattan has pockets of life. Try Stone Street for food and drink all hours of the day, and Broadway for shopping and cultural activities. Let’s not forget, you’re steps away from One World Trade Center.
Maggie Parker is Paste’s assistant travel editor.