11 years after opening in the eponymous district of Manhattan, the Tribeca Grand is still a force to be reckoned with amongst downtown hotels. At once classy, retro and contemporary, it offers a unique architecture, well-equipped, originally decorated rooms and a first rate staff all in the trendy, exciting backdrop of Tribeca (Triangle Below Canal Street). Just like its sister hotel, the Soho Grand, it also boasts some quirky novelties which set it apart from the competition. If there is one criticism it would be the restaurant, where the service, while pleasant, left a lot to be desired (more in 'Food and Drink'). Nonetheless we would definitely recommend this property to all types of traveller, newcomers or old hands, couples or families.
The hotel has a fine location for discovering downtown Manhattan straddling two of the trendiest neighbourhood's on the island, namely SoHo and CanDo (within which is Tribeca). You'll have an overwhelming choice of restaurants, bars and shops, including galleries, clothes stores and design showrooms. Just a short subway ride away you can be in the financial district and down by the water where you can catch ferries to the various islands off Manhattan. Getting up to midtown or Brooklyn is easy enough with Canal Street station offering a host of lines to get you to your destination. JFK is 18 miles away, La Guardia 11 miles and Newark 13.
The Tribeca Grand opened its doors back in 2000 and was one of the first hotels in the area. It continues to be a popular choice not only for accommodation, but also for night life. There are a number of quirky amenities at the hotel, especially ones involving animals, which mark it out from others. For example, for those guests who can't bring their pets but miss them terribly, the hotel will loan you a goldfish and bowl to keep in your room for the duration of your stay. Also on loan at the hotel are a selection of DVDs and a fleet of Electra Townie bicycles during the autumn, spring and summer.
Although it's not difficult to miss the prominent, red brick Tribeca Grand which stands on the corner, it might not occur to you that this is your hotel as the name doesn't appear anywhere on its exterior. The only place it's displayed is on the face of tall clock just outside the entrance. We were greeted extremely warmly by the doorman and equally so by the rather fetching receptionists behind the long, spotlit welcome desk. Design features of the lobby include the (what look to be) bamboo covered walls and ceilings, the warm floor tiles and the winding slope down to the centre of the building where you'll find Church Lounge (see 'Food and Drink'). But the most impressive feature by far is the wonderful central triangular atrium of the building from which you can see the inward-facing corridors of each floor as well as the orange girders at the very top of the building from which natural light floods the whole core of the hotel. This is one of our very favourite interiors in New York.
Perhaps the stand out amenity of the hotel is its 100-seat cinema, which, although mainly hired out as a private space, is sometimes used for themed film screenings (New York, New York, was a recent one). A small fitness room is available to guests which is equipped with several machines for a full workout as well as towels and water. The hotel doesn't have its own wellness centre, but its does share the facilities at its sister property, the Soho Grand.
The general upkeep of the hotel is in good order and the public spaces clean and easy to negotiate. There are several lifts serving all floors and getting to your room is uncomplicated given the triangular layout of the hotel and its corridors which all look over the atrium.
The rooms at the Tribeca Grand have a strong 1960s feel to them in terms of the colours, shapes and patterns used. The standard rooms, which are of a good size but probably not spacious enough to allow for a stay of more than three or four days, feature a queen bed with a wonderfully retro yellow and brown honeycomb motif, which is mirrored in the duvet. This really sets the tone for the rest of the room's décor and furniture which comprises brown, bamboo covered walls, two small bedside tables with telephone and iPod docking station, a cute little orange bedside light on the wall (which matches the lamp on the simple desk), a tall angle poise lamp, brown leather wingback armchair and a cabinet hiding the minibar and snacks tray. A strip of mirror runs along the wall opposite the bed giving an extra dimension to the space, while stripes have been painted above and below this and along the closet, elongating the room. Amenities include flatscreen television, DVD player, jack box, safe, bathrobes, iron and ironing board and umbrella. The bathroom boasts a metal vanity, recalling those found in trains or aircraft with integrated loo roll holder, tissue dispenser and toiletries shelf, a bathtub with shower, make-up mirror and Malin + Goetz toiletries. It's not the largest bathroom you'll find in New York, but it well crafted and practical. There are other categories of guestroom offering more space and living areas although for longer stays the suites and studios may suit better. The deluxe studio for example has similar amenities and décor, but has a separate salon complete with sofa, coffee table and an iMac computer. The largest room is the penthouse, which was completed in 2009 and which has a loose oriental theme running through it. This room boasts a dining area for up to six people, a salon with a beautiful, long white sofa with red pipping, wet bar, marble walls and sculptures, books and 'objets' as well as a large room with leather armoires, marble vanities and monsoon shower. Upstairs you'll find a decked terrace equipped with loungers and table and chairs with 360° views of Manhattan.
Church Lounge, named after the adjacent street, takes up the entire floor space of the hotel's central triangular atrium. Although there is no real view outside, the setting of the internal architectural structure of the building is stunning and provides one of the most original backdrops to a meal in the city. The spaces comprises several different areas for dining, drinking or relaxing and features a mix of banquette, armchair and regular chair seating around varying sizes of table. That said, Church Lounge is due for a refurbishment very soon (we visited in January 2011) so this could all change dramatically. Our dinner experience here was a mixed bag. The food was undoubtedly of a good standard, in standing with the hotel, however the quality of service needs to be reviewed. Don't get us wrong, it was courteous and well meaning, but was clumsy and the timing was poor. We felt this a shame as it was otherwise a pleasant experience, especially given the backdrop. The restaurant serves all three meals as well as a brunch on Sundays. The bar at one end of the space serves a range of cocktails and wine by the glass in addition to a bar menu featuring snacks and simple dishes. Every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday between 10pm and 2am, Church Lounge turns into a party zone when various DJ acts take control of the decks and bring a different atmosphere to the space. But don't worry about the noise disturbing your sleep - outside every room is a white noise machine which blocks any sound coming from down below in the atrium.
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