We’re kicking off 2016 with AFAR Conversations, a lively panel discussion that will explore emerging luxury lifestyle and travel trends. And fittingly, it takes place at one of New York’s newest properties: the Turkish-owned Marmara Park Avenue.

Maramara Park Ave Hotel's General Manager,  Nur Ercan-Magden
We checked in with General Manager Nur Ercan-Magden to find out more about what makes the hotel noteworthy—starting with local artist Joe Ginsberg’s custom designs—and how it caters to guests’ shifting expectations. 

What inspired the opening of this Marmara location?

The Marmara Park Avenue Hotel opened officially on August 25, 2015.  It adds to the growing list of chic, upscale, luxurious hotels that have helped transform the NoMad neighborhood (east of Chelsea) in recent years.

 While the hotel occupies a quiet corner on 32nd Street, at the north end of NoMad, guests will find that Manhattan’s most storied attractions are closer than they could have imagined. From the Empire State Building to the legendary boutiques of Fifth Avenue to the serenity of Madison Square Park, Marmara Park Avenue delivers the best of Manhattan. 

How would you describe the look and feel of the hotel?

New York City is the inspiration behind Marmara Park Avenue, which evokes the feeling, spirit, and spontaneity of a metropolis. The hidden nuances that define the hotel are influenced by, designed in, and sourced from the city itself. 

We wanted to create the kind of hotel where guests wouldn’t just feel at home, but where they’d experience the closest thing to everyone’s dream of a New York apartment.  

So we tapped New York artist/designer Joe Ginsberg, who gathered a collective of local artisans to custom design and individually produced almost everything in the hotel, from the lobby bar’s hand-blown glass vessels to the breathtaking vestibule assembled using 670 pieces of faceted steel (individually cut glass).

What are some examples of notable room amenities?

Every room comes with iPad Airs. Guestrooms & Suites come with a minibar and a Nespresso machine, while Lofts offer full kitchens along with wine coolers fully stocked Vinkara wines, which are from the Marmara’s own vineyard in Turkey.

All guests receive complimentary super-high-speed Wi-Fi and a suite of premium entertainment networks available on state-of-the-art LED televisions. Forty of the 128 rooms and suites also have private terraces with stunning skyline views. Plus, we welcome all pets!

Are there public spaces that NYC locals should have on their radar?

Yes, Marmara Park Avenue’s lobby bar, One One Four, is now open for guests and locals alike to enjoy. With a central 14-foot gleaming metal fireplace, the bar is the perfect place for a romantic evening or a business meeting.

Marmara is a Turkish brand. In what ways does the hotel reflect that heritage?

The Marmara brand represents true Turkish hospitality—and Marmara Park Avenue extends this exceptional hospitality in New York City. Hotel guests also have exclusive access to the Wellness Center, which includes a hammam offering authentic treatments. 

What are some trends you have noticed among visitors to NYC? What are people looking for in a hotel now?

Today’s traveler wants to have the same comfort and amenities that they have in their homes. Nothing is beyond their reach. Before, hotels offered the new and the trendy—not anymore. What we offer is the opportunity to feel and live like a New Yorker without actually moving here.

What are some of your favorite NYC recommendations for visitors?

At least one major museum: the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Natural History, or the Guggenheim. 

Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge. It’s well worth a walk, and I suggest doing strolling from Brooklyn towards Manhattan for the best views.

Exploring the Financial District, from Battery Park to Wall Street to the 9/11 Memorial and World Trade Center. 

For highlights of our luxury trends discussion at the Marmara Park Avenue on January 13, follow #afarconversations on Twitter.