30 Jan Interview with Leonardo Annecca of MySuites Boutique Suites NYC
In 2012 I went to New York City for the first time to visit family (and go shopping). With boutique hotels and vacation rentals already a big trend (and part of my work) there was no way I was staying or paying for some boring hotel. After applying my expert googling skills I found one company that caught my eye called MySuites. I was there in the winter so I was able to get a deal and try out a couple suites and loved them.
They were right in the Manhattan neighbourhoods I wanted to check out and it made me feel like I was actually living there (and good at it). That is of course once I got a handle of walking like a New Yorker, opposed to a slow, spinning sidewalk-blocking tourist (took more than a couple days). Loving the concept, I got talking with their creative director Leonardo Annecca who founded MySuites in 2009. We’ve kept in touch since and recently made plans to collaborate on some upcoming projects, including his new design collective called MySuites&Co. To share it with you, I’ve asked him in for an interview:
L.A.: MySuites is a concept based on what boutique hotels offer, but in a true local living space. We offer rental apartments, designed with with a taste of local interior design, but packed with the amenities of a boutique hotels. Luxury boutique hotels are great of course, but if you’re staying for more than a couple nights, guests crave the features and feeling of a real home. In essence, we aim to provide a unique but understated hospitality experience that puts you deep into New York lifestyle and culture.
LB: What sets MySuites apart from your average vacation rental?
L.A.: Our hospitality business is based around boutique suites, designed and hosted by me and our team. The bulk of the massive vacation rental market in NYC are just uninspired apartments turned into short term rentals by some real estate guys or improvised hosts subletting spare units, with next to none offering the style and service we pride ourselves on. We are designers at heart and in practice. We scoop locations for months if not years, looking for a building with character in an neighborhood with soul. We find a layout that’s livable, which becomes our template for our interior design and decoration. Then we match it with our personal service and amenities to ensure you don’t miss the conveniences of a hotel.
LB: For people looking to stay with you, what neighborhoods are your suites found in?
L.A.: we have chosen the neighborhoods that best match our philosophy of experiencing NYC in an authentic way: The West Village, Chelsea, Nomad and Meat Packing District. We avoid anything Uptown, Wall Street or Times Square and leave them for the tourists. Our guests want to live and breath (as well as eat and drink) in the real NYC locals know and love.
LB: To get down to some details for them as well, please share a favourite suite and some highlights?
L.A.: I personally love the Butter Suite. The building is pretty modest, but i love the interiors coziness with the wood and the alcove bed. The butter suite has great light, a nice layout for a small studio suite that offers a lot of privacy and romance. I love the feeling of the wood and the fireplace. Plus it’s a stroll from Gramercy park with offers a sublime walk surrounded with fine restaurants and bars off any tourist trail.
LB: You mentioned you have plans to expand with more luxury rental suites?
L.A.: Yes Mysuites&CO, our design and branding studio, is always look for new opportunities to partner up with investors or style and design-orientated hospitality companies. Ideally we’re looking at a townhouse suites model in a few areas of NYC, then with plans for suites in L.A and Miami.
LB: Now you’re also expanding in the design world with MySuites&Co, what’s the concept behind that?
L.A.: I’ve been apart of the design world of the boutique hotels for 18 years, since Philippe Stark designed the first Royalton in NY! I have been the assistant of famed hotel and restaurant interior designer Jacques Garcia in Paris, when we designed the first Hotel Costes and who has recently exported his design for the new Nomad Hotel in New York.
I lived the original boutique hotel experience as student with the original designers that created this wave, so for me it’s a natural evolution. MySuites&Co is a new concept for a hospitality-based design & branding studio, but its roots go back to the originals.
LB: I know you have a couple fashion photography projects kicking off, please fill our readers in.
L.A.: Our project is a synergy between fashion and interiors to showcase a fresh expression of New York design. Through photography, we’re capturing the interaction of a static design of a suite with live models fitted by upcoming designers. We’ll be showcasing it online with plans for a print project.
We have also launched #CrossingNomad, a lifestyle photography project by Ricky Cohete aiming to capture the mood and style of the growing Nomad District here in NYC. Both take part in our passion for our local community and our support of local designers, which we want to share with the world.
LB: Do you have any projects in the works you can drop some hints for?
L.A.: We have developed few years ago the “Take it Home” concept, where some of our furniture and object in the suits are for sale. It was an inspired idea I’m proud of, that supports local designers and shows them off to our guests. And if they want, they can take these items home as an souvenir that’ll have a much better story than a keychain or snowglobe. We’re now planning to relaunch the online shop, with a selection curated each month by a local artist, designer or brand, based around a specific theme or concept.
LB: Thanks for your time! We’ll be sure to ask you back to share your upcoming projects and new suites.