New York, New York it’s a hell of a town.
For a city that is renowned for its cramped spaces there are a huge number of sparkling hotels in New York.
Style and character varies immensely, from the chic habitations in TriBeCa to the posh Upper East to ultra-hipster Brooklyn.
One thing you can be guaranteed is an experience that’s difficult to match in any other city in the world.
This is an inside peek into some of the best boutique hotels in the Big Apple.
The Beekman’s wrought iron railings surround viewing balconies looking up nine floors topped by a magnificent skylight, easily one of the most beautiful atrium’s in New York.
The hotel is another new addition to the scene, opened in 2016 in the shell of a historical office building, constructed in 1883 and a designated New York landmark. They have revamped the place but tried to keep the original fittings as near intact as possible. The old school rococo design gives it the feel of a bayou whorehouse.
The huge lobby is one of the more spectacular entrances to any New York hotel. The rooms are modern and cool. Visit the art deco restaurant with definite gangster elements to it or the bar where you’ll see many a client being taken out for drinks of an evening.
Or just go back up to the top floor and look out at the view of the Woolworth building through that magnificent glass ceiling.
123 Nassau St, New York, NY 10038, USA;+1 212-233-2300; thebeekman.com
Slap bang in the crazy heart of Times Square the Chatwal is a slick addition to New York’s luxury hotels. Opened seven years ago it once housed the Lamb’s Clubhouse—a prestigious club for the silver age of cinema, whose members included Charlie Chaplin, WC Fields and Fred Astaire. The stylish rooms are big by New York standards with an old-school art deco feel—huge beds, fine suede walls in muted colours, leather strap wardrobes and minibars and books, including The Great Gatsby, of course—stashed discreetly in well-lit closets.
The bathrooms are dark marble, with chrome fittings, masses of mirrors on the walls, walk-in shower and Japanese toilets with heated seats and minicomputer to control various jets and sprays.
The hotel also has a small gym and tiny swimming pool downstairs. If you don’t fancy fitness then go take a drink in the art deco bar with its Empire State building-shaped lights. The suites, another level up, are something else. If you can, stay in one with a street-facing balcony, where you’ll soak up the sights and noises of the city that never sleeps. And then walk out into Broadway and feel like you’re in a movie.
130 W 44th St, New York, NY 10036, USA;+1 212-764-6200; thechatwalny.com
London’s Langham has a new outpost on Fifth avenue, midtown New York.
The hotel opened in 2013 and prides itself on having some the biggest rooms—750 sq feet—in the city. It’s a pure palette, Italian walnut furnishings, Swedish beds and heavily marbled bathrooms plus views out into the soaring Manhattan skyline going up 27 floors. The hotel’s Chuan Body and Soul spa is a treat for weary limbs and worn out faces. Or balance that with a visit to the Langham’s Ai Fiori, one of the few Michelin restaurants to serve breakfast in the city.
The hotel is located a short walk away from the hustle of midtown Grand Central, Bryant Park and the Empire State building. But if you’re indoors, don’t forget to check out the artwork by Alex Katz hanging in each of the rooms. The artist, now in his nineties, still produces a work a day and you’ll see some of the best of it at the hotel.
400 5th Ave, New York, NY 10018, USA;+1 212-695-4005; langhamhotels.com
Kit Kemp’s quirky hotels are always a pleasure. The Whitby, opened two years ago near the edges of Central Park—two blocks north of the Museum of Modern Art, and just a little further from The Rockefeller Centre—is no exception. Walk into the lobby and your eye’s immediately drawn to the rickety Maarten Baas-designed grandfather clock with holographic face updated minute-by-minute by a man working furiously inside.
Character and quirk are everywhere from the kookaburra chandeliers in the restaurant to the African, pop art artworks and individual colourful fabrics.
The rooms are 350sq m, large, while the penthouse and suites up top could fit a few families in them. As ever Kit Kemp prizes individuality, so no one room is the same. Be sure to pop into the Whitby bar and restaurant with vaulted ceilings and skylight and those previously mentioned chandeliers, both a visual and gastronomic feast.
18 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019, USA; +1 212-586-5656; firmdalehotels.com
The Greenwich hotel isn’t in Greenwich but in posh TriBeCa in downtown Manhattan. There’s something old school and refined about this place. From the iron Lefroy Brooks taps to the hefty Taschen art books, the weighty standing lamp, the old English leather armchairs, the wooden floorboards and raised bath tub—this is a hotel that has been thought out with an aristocratic sensibility. There’s even a fireplace in situ. Sit in the clubby spaces reserved for hotel guests. The service is splendid to make you feel like you’re enjoying the best of the city.
Even better is the kick ass pool with its Japanese oak ceiling and shibuya spa downstairs.
Oh, and the paintings in the lobby were done by owner Robert de Niro’s father—in case you’re interested. No doubt you’ll run into some other stars if you spend enough time here.
377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013, USA;+1 212-941-8900; thegreenwich.grandluxuryhotels.com
Sitting up top in the rarefied circles of the Upper East Side this is your classically refined slice of the Big Apple. There are not too many quirks here just straight up comfortable class and classic decor, reflecting the haute atmosphere of the neighbourhood.
The rooms are a creamy concoction of comfort—like being enclosed in cotton (how they keep the cream carpets so clean I do not know). There are a host of nice little touches such as a sliding drawer minibar and a switch to activate the towel warmer.
Not more than a stone’s throw away from Central Park and the Metropolitan Museum, no one would begrudge you a night well spent here.
25 E 77th St, New York, NY 10075, USA;+1 212-744-4300; themarkhotel.com
There is life beyond Manhattan. The William Vale is on the other side of the river in Williamsburg, away from the hustle of the island. And that has its advantages.
When you are sitting in a bathtub looking out of the wall to floor windows with the whole of Manhattan lit up with a thousand lights all other considerations melt into insignificant nothingness. It’s just you and the city, this awesome work of man.
But seriously this is a view to die for.
The narrow, space-age white rooms are comfortable with neat touches like the bathrooms that glow in the dark (going to the toilet at night becomes a trippy hallucination). All have the floor-to-ceiling windows and open-air balconies where you can soak up some more of the views of Brooklyn and Manhattan.
There’s also a 60-foot pool, the longest hotel pool in the city. Or try the Westlight bar upstairs on the 22nd floor for some kick ass cocktails and yes…the view.
111 N 12th St, Brooklyn, NY 11249, USA;+1 718-631-8400; thewilliamvale.com
The cinema building with electric sign and lit posters is no cinema but the Roxy hotel in TriBeCa.
The rooms, to be honest, are nothing to write home about. Square, sparse and functional in a typical mid-tier New York fashion, with vintage lamp fixtures, antique-style Tivoli clock radios. There’s no hotel spa, but guests have access to the Aire Ancient Baths, an upscale thermal therapy sanctuary on nearby Franklin Street.
But the Roxy is more about the show. The subterranean Django jazz bar is inspired by 1920s Jazz Age Parisian boîtes and is one of the best in New York where you’ll feel that unique foot-tappingly vibrant NY vibe. Or go to the stylish Paul’s Cocktail Lounge—designed by Paul Sevigny—to sip on refined cocktails and mingle with stylish folk. Failing all that you could just have a quiet night at the basement cinema with its Twin Peaks red-curtains.
2 6th Ave, New York, NY 10013, USA; +1 212-519-6600;roxyhotelnyc.com