Think of the Cantonese word “taipan” and the James Clavell novel of the same name probably comes to mind. “There is only one such man,” Clavell declared in his 19th-century saga of Hong Kong after the British takeover. “He who wields real power.” Such men are exactly the sort the Mandarin Oriental New York must have envisioned when it created its newest suite, the Taipan. The two-bedroom “apartment,” accented with sleek bronze and black lacquer accessories against shades of butterscotch and beige, is perched in the clouds on the 54th floor of the hotel in the Time Warner Center. There are floor-to-ceiling glass walls, Tibetan rugs, and a home theater that rivals the nearest cineplex. This, as they say, is what it’s like to live on top of the world.
The 1,210-square-foot Taipan Suite (which may be smaller than the 2,640-square-foot Presidential but feels cozier, making it a better choice for families) is decorated with a well-edited selection of furnishings by designers such as Bill Sofield, Robert Kuo, Baker, and McGuire. Ebonized wood floors and neutral wool carpets add to the residential feel of the space, while raw silk fabrics frame the windows. The Asian theme is represented in the gold-and-turquoise cloisonné Buddha in the entryway and by the welcome orange-blossom tea served in black-and-red teapots with bamboo handles on a lacquered tray.
The showstopper is the living room, in the far corner of the suite, which has one of those only-in-the-movies views of the New York skyline. There is the Statue of Liberty, the Hudson River, and a good chunk of New Jersey. On a clear day you really can see forever. Bushnell Falcon binoculars are included.
Also in the living room, Sofield’s Art Deco–inspired Kiosk butler’s cabinet is the Taipan Suite’s answer to the minibar: Inside its gilded doors is a fully stocked bar, with bottles of Bombay Sapphire gin and Ketel One vodka. Kuo’s pebble bench table for McGuire, in black lacquer and textured copper, doubles as a window seat. Make yourself a martini, the designers seem to be saying, and enjoy the view.
There’s also more to the suite than meets the eye: Beneath the smooth surfaces the space is wired to be a techie’s paradise. A Lutron wireless handheld control silently animates everything in the suite, from the lighting to the draperies and Roman shades. There are telephones and flat-screen television sets in every room—even in the bathrooms, the Samsung monitor can be swiveled safely over for a view from the tub.
The winding hall leads to a wet bar—hidden behind closet doors—where a Bisazza mosaic-tile backsplash in metallic neutrals echoes the color palette of the suite. And then there are the two bedrooms, where the focus is, fittingly, on the bedding: Elaborate woven-wood headboards, down comforters, Fili D’oro bed linens, pillowtop mattresses. Asian-inspired objets d’art, such as a monochromatic painted screen and a hammered brass platter, add a touch of the exotic.
Each bedroom has an oversize bathroom with black granite flooring and counters, a rain showerhead, and toiletries by Hermès and Fresh. The master bath’s deep soaking tub is located, appropriately, beside a window.
The Mandarin Oriental’s 14,500-square-foot spa is an elevator ride away, and suite guests get to use the vitality pools and amethyst-crystal steam rooms for free. Also easily accessible via key card are restaurants like Masa and Per Se in the adjoining Time Warner Center, so there’s no need to step foot outside. (There’s even a Whole Foods Market downstairs.) And just before guests really feel too much at home, pillows are fluffed and room service arrives. At 2 a.m.
The Taipan Suite at the Mandarin Oriental is $8,500 a night. (80 Columbus Circle, New York; 212-805-8800; mandarinoriental.com).
The idea: Create a suite with a New York–apartment feel and decor that mixes urban sophistication with Asian flourishes. Then wire it up for a techie heaven. And don’t forget the view.
To make the suite feel like a real home, the designers avoided using typical hotel contract furnishings. Most of the designer pieces are from high-end furnituremakers Baker and McGuire. These include Bill Sofield’s Kiosk butler’s cabinet ($8,740), sleek tusk table (below, $1,190), and, as bedside tables, his walnut-and-bronze Boxer chests ($4,820; Baker Furniture, 800-592-2537; bakerfurniture.com), which were inspired by antique Chinese tea chests. In the second bedroom McGuire’s Antalya rattan bed (from $7,500; McGuire Furniture, 800-662-4847; mcguirefurniture.com) supports a plush Sealy Posturepedic pillowtop mattress.
Well-chosen home accents add personality to the suite. Some highlights: Robert Kuo’s dramatic carved ice table lamp for Baker ($3,290; 800-592-2537; bakerfurniture.com)and a gold floral Buddha in cloisonné from Jay East, a Brooklyn showroom specializing in Chinese artifacts (similar Buddhas go for $250 to $500 at Jay East; 718-237-8430). Martha Sturdy’s designs have an Asian flair; the suite has a number of her pieces, including a hammered brass platter ($1,090), which hangs over the master bed, brass wire accessories ($990–$1,500), and white resin round vases with brass wire ($540– $650; for stores, 604-872-5205; martha sturdy.com). Silk throw pillows from Baker add texture. For a touch of New York humor, there’s a retro-looking white ceramic fish by hometown designer Jonathan Adler ($48; 800-963-0891; jonathanadler.com).
The living room’s high-definition home theater comes with a Sharp Aquos 42-inch HD (1080p) LCD TV (from $1,800; 800-237-4277; sharpusa.com), Bowers & Wilkins home theater speakers (from $800 per speaker; 978-664-2870), and a Crestron digital Touchpanel that operates the TV, Internet, radio, and DVD player (from $4,000; 888-273-7876). “It’s a movie-theater experience in a suite,” says Eric Cruz, the hotel’s information technology director. Wireless dimmers from the Lutron HomeWorks control system (from $5,000) operate the lights, while the Sivoia QED (from $1,500), also from Lutron, controls the Roman shades and drapery track systems (888-588-7661; lutron.com).
The hotel’s bedside reading program includes an ever-changing selection of fiction and nonfiction books, which guests are invited to take home. On a recent visit to the Taipan Suite, the list featured thrillers and mysteries aimed at Asia-philes (Paul Malmont’s The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril, Simon & Schuster; $14), adventurers (Mark Jenkins’s A Man’s Life, Rodale Books; $26), and taipans in training (Russ Alan Prince and Lewis Schiff’s Middle-Class Millionaire: The Rise of the New Rich and How They Are Changing America, Currency; $24).
Both bedrooms in the Taipan Suite have their own opulent bathroom, with glass stalls equipped with Symmons polished-chrome hand sprays and rain showerheads ($875; for Symmons dealers, 800-796-6667; symmons.com). On the ledge of the master bath’s Kohler deep soaking tub is a Digs alabaster jar filled with Gilchrist & Soames bath salts ($75, Nile Stone Bath Collection from Digs; digs.com). All suites have full-size shampoo and body lotion from Hermès’s Eau d’Orange Verte collection ($35–$50; usa.hermes.com) and Fresh cosmetics’ Sugar Lemon product line ($13–$25; fresh.com).
The Wet Bar
No New York residence is complete without a rapid-fire coffeemaker. The suite has a Nespresso Essenza C100, a pod unit that delivers nice shots of espresso ($230; nespresso.com). The wet bar’s superslick design features a backsplash in Bisazza metallic mosaic tile (212-334-7130; bisazza.com/usa).
The hotel’s in-house florist, Floratech, supplies three stylish flower arrangements to the Taipan Suite for every guest’s arrival. It also keeps the place blooming in orchids, from the bathroom’s bud vases filled with purple Dendrobium to the delicate Oncidium orchids in glazed pots. The florist’s retail store in TriBeCa sells similar potted orchids ($125–$150; 212-941-0021; mikeysflowers.com).
The suite has a million-dollar view—make that a multimillion-dollar view—and capitalizes on it. The architecture’s faceted corners allow for a visual hat trick: Both the living room and the master bedroom have corner walls with floor-to-ceiling windows. At this jaw-dropping height, one is peering over much of the Manhattan skyline. The hotel provides Bushnell Falcon 7x35 binoculars for aerial sightseeing ($40; shopbushnell.com).