Dina de luca chartouni in Debut

The uniformed doorman at The Lowell stands perfectly upright as he distributes measured smiles. The 1928 Art Deco façade is always the same, its entrance framed by dusk rose majolica tiles, and the gilded name The Lowell in copperplate lettering– without specifying it is actually a hotel. For it goes without saying that The Lowell is one of the few in New York which has always been a Hotel. It is a cold February day, and would be a seemingly normal one if it weren’t for the beautiful view of the snowy Upper East Side seen from the terraces. It is early afternoon when a taxi turns from Madison Avenue into 63rd street and pulls up to n°28, because Dina DeLuca Chartouni has reached her destination. Dina enters the lobby with a brisk gust of air. She takes off her alpaca stole, shakes the whitened toes of her cuissard boots and takes in the receptionists, who are whispering excitedly. One of them is quickly typing, and the concierge has only just managed to hang up the phone when it rings again.
A jazz piece warms the spirits of guests seated on the silk brocade sofas. Amongst them, Dina sees an old friend coming towards her.
She lives in Canada and has come over for a long weekend. “Dina, there you are! Allow me to introduce you to Harry. This is Dina, or DDC for her friends. She is the owner of The Lowell.” “Very pleased to meet you! Why don’t you come on through.” “Are you sure? You must have so much to do today.” “Don’t worry, we can have tea together.” Dina leads her guests with svelte elegance towards the sitting room. Her friend continues, “We’ve known each other since we were little. We were classmates at the Sacred Heart, just a few blocks from here. Then our paths crossed again after College, when we were working on TV and film productions together”. “And that is where we started putting the critical judgment skills we learned at school into practice, wasn’t it?” jokes Dina in her deep voice. The steam rising from the tea cups is only just visible in the soft light. “Not just critical but also aesthetic judgment. Harry, you should know that the Sacred Heart school is housed in the Otto Kahn Mansion, which was built in a neo-renaissance style. It was modelled on Rome’s Chancellery palace. The sitting rooms, the staircase, the courtyards – the whole building is beautifully designed.” “And the Botticelli paintings…ah, anyone breathing that air in from early childhood has breathed in beauty,” confirms Dina, brushing aside her long dark hair.
Next to the ethereal appearance of her friend, Dina’s Mediterranean charisma is even more dazzling. Her Italian roots lie in the north and south of Italy, and they radiate warm energy. “When we met years later in film-making,” her friend continues “seeing that Dina had small children and an amazing home, namely The Lowell, we would hold our meetings here for the sake of convenience. But Dina was always thinking of countless things at once, and couldn’t help but note how every detail could be improved.” “And that was when my adventure as a Design Director began, almost by chance.” “But without giving up on film-making”.
Bingo. The thing that Dina is most proud of is managing to create a balanced alchemy between the elements.
“And ensuring the kids were still being looked after,” Dina echoes with a bubbly voice, as the concierge approaches her. “Excuse me Ma’am, just to let you know they are waiting for you at the meeting”. “Sure, thank you. Forgive me, I have to go. You’re coming tonight, aren’t you?” “Of course we are! That’s why we’re here!” Dina blows them a kiss and disappears into the lift, where she takes advantage of the few seconds of upward travel to lower her adrenaline levels by breathing deeply. In the corridor, she crosses paths with maids moving quickly as they push trolleys laden with tulips. From the restaurant come the voices of the dining room staff – the kitchen has been a hive of activity for the chef’s challenging dishes since dawn.
When she walks into the meeting suite, the fire is lit and the assistants around the oval table are going over the checklists. “Well, this is it. In a few hours, we will be celebrating a unique occasion with our most valued guests,” begins Mr. Heiko Kuenstle. “This has been the largest renovation work the Hotel has undergone in 33 years. As the General Manager, I want to thank you for having allowed us to remain open over the last 3 years, and for continuing to provide an outstanding service, in spite of all the upheaval. Thanks to you and all our team, from this day onwards The Lowell will be in a completely different position for the next 25 years”. “I would like to add my own thanks and those of Mr. Chartouni to Mr. Kuenstle’s,” Dina adds. “We are a family, and I know we will deliver our very best this evening as well. Our mantra works, so believe in it. Even when something seems impossible, if you are truly open-minded and you really want it, then something will happen – one step closer to making it possible”. Those taking part seem relieved, their expressions more relaxed. “You know I’ve just come back from London for the Vic Theatre, don’t you?” Dina goes on. “It’s a project very dear to my heart. As Chair of the American Associates of The Old Vic since 2012, Dina has been working with directors, producers and artists, from both sides of the pond, tying together the artistic communities of the London theatre world with the stages of New York. It all flows quite naturally, especially since The Lowell has a long history and following by great artists. Dina often wishes “if only these walls could talk.” Throughout the years, many artists have taken refuge at The Lowell. Some have come to write and others to seclude themselves in a home away from home. F Scott Fitzgerald and Eugene O’Neil both lived and wrote from their favorite suites. Playwright Wendy Wasserstein wrote Shiksa Goddess, a humorous memoir about living at The Lowell. Actress Michelle Pfeifer credits a painting that hung in her suite at The Lowell for inspiring her to play the role in Martin Scorsese’s Age of Innocence.
Dina is passing through the Clubroom and hears her name called out. It is her friend, and actor Alec Baldwin.
He proudly lauds her on the new spaces and Majorelle restaurant. He then turns to his friend and recounts the story from 2012, when NYC had been hit by SANDY, a major storm, blowing out all power to lower Manhattan. Alec and his wife, Hilaria took refuge at The Lowell. Alec declares, “Once I got to my suite at The Lowell and lit the fireplace, I never cared if the power ever came back on.”

The Travelling Box

When the iconic magic box meets the place, captured from hotel guests shots to let discover the details of the hotel destinations.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website.