Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA) has completed the design of Hotel Carmichael, Autograph Collection. Designed to inspire an enduring journey through history and provoke continued revival, the 122-room, six-story hotel is an architectural masterpiece located adjacent to The Palladium, which houses the Great American Songbook in downtown Carmel, IN along the Monon Trail.
“Hotel Carmichael is located next door to The Palladium, one of the greatest music halls of its time that also houses the Great American Songbook, which is important to America’s rich musical legacy,” said Catherine Josey, senior designer at HBA Atlanta, who led the project’s design. “We wanted to make the hotel feel like an extension of The Palladium and the influential music it houses. To really understand what elements and details made songs and artists of that era so beautiful, we studied and researched the Great American Songbook extensively. We took inspiration from these elements to help us weave music from that era into the design narrative of each space. From the furnishings, floorings and artwork down to the music notes lining each corridor, the naming of each room and every last intricate detail and decoration, music is felt throughout the entire hotel.”
Guided by the melody, harmony, rhythm and soul from the Golden Age of American Song, along with the neoclassical style of the great Scottish architect and interior designer Robert Adam, HBA Atlanta instilled the interiors of Hotel Carmichael with timeless furnishings, simplicity of form and thoughtful detailing that come together as a symphony of classic elegance with marked personality.
Through the oversized black metal doors adorned with bronze hardware, guests walk into a stately lobby with black and white checkered flooring and Doric columns inspired by Great Hall designed by Adam at London’s Syon House. An oversized art piece flanked by theatrical drapes on each side sets a dramatic backdrop for a grand reception desk composed of white and black stone with gold gilded medallions. The lobby lounge library exudes the familiarity of an English pub with high wainscoting coated in a dark rich paint, coffered ceiling and comfortable seating. A dual-sided, wood-burning fireplace allows guests to relax with a book in the library or enjoy lively drinks with friends on the lobby side.
“We started with a neoclassical design and transformed it into the present; we wanted to bring back a time in history where grandness, scale and intricate detailing were celebrated so that guests appreciate the design from the moment they enter the lobby,” Josey noted. “While detailing and decoration are more timeless and traditional, they come together in spaces suited for the modern-day guest.”
Moving into the meeting and event venues, Baroque-style mirrors line the hallway of the pre-function space outside the elegant Cole Porter Ballroom where patterned carpeting and a ceiling detailed with medallions, crowns and hanging crystal chandeliers create a light, airy space. HBA Atlanta designers created contrasting atmospheres for the two boardrooms, one with dark millwork walls and wood floors for a classic feel and the other, more playful with blue lacquered walls.
Teal lacquered doors open to Vivante, a culinary experience reminiscent of a French bistro where walls washed in white serve as a canvas for dark wood furniture to make a statement and a built-in dark wood wine cabinet to act as a focal point. Ceilings are simple while the details are thoughtful and impactful. Developed in partnership with musician Michael Feinstein, a frequent performer at The Palladium, Feinstein’s is Hotel Carmichael’s signature cabaret dressed in dark carpeting and furniture with an elaborate bar formed of a mix of metals and mirrors. The refined ambiance encapsulates the music and magic of Carmel City Center.
“The great level of detailing in the design of this project, particularly in the ceilings and decoration, is something to note. The grandness, volume and scale of the lobby is something you don’t often see these days in new-build hotels,” Josey said.
Journey through the guest corridors and discover a softer palette of blues and greens for a serene moment, punctuated by art in reference to the Great American Songbook with a distinct experience on each floor.
HBA Atlanta designers outfitted guestrooms with blue leather headboards, oversized sectionals for lounging and chandeliers in every room. Bathrooms feature walk-in showers, freestanding tubs and back-lit mirrored vanities that provide ample lighting. In the suites, hardwood flooring upon entry leads to a small powder room, a dining room with hints of teal accents through the rug and dining chairs and a bright living room with blue drapes and multicolored side chairs. Gilded touches and chandeliers are carried through the property into the suites.
“We feel it’s important to honor the past in design in order to preserve culture and history,” Josey said. “Design, in a way, provides a strong connection to historic moments in time and gives guests an immersive and memorable experience that they, hopefully, will not soon forget. It’s not always the tangible things, but the feeling a guest has in a particular space that they’ll remember. Hotel Carmichael is a shining example of how we can bring historic elements, timelessness and intricate detailing forward in time into a cohesive design that can be appreciated for generations. We were able to bring detailing back in a fun, cool way.”