518 West 27th StreetNew York, United States of America -See the map
Amy AdejokunSection editor
How cool is the Hôtel Americano? We'll tell you how cool: the rooms have a harmonica in the snack tray. That's how cool. Details like this are why this property is not only one of our favourite design hotels in the city, but also why the Americano is already amongst the hottest places to be in Chelsea. Its architecture and design is beautiful in its simplicity, the rooms are spacious and well-appointed and both the restaurant and bar scenes are buzzing everyday of the week. Add to that a location in trendy Chelsea and you've got yourself the perfect place to stay on your next short trip to the city if you're a couple that doesn't fancy being based in the touristy Midtown area.
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Food and drink
Situated on W27th Street between 10th and 11th Avenues, the hotel is on the fringes of the Chelsea district, famous for its galleries, independent shops and modish restaurants and bars. One of the city's most popular attractions, the High Line, runs through the district while the well-known Chelsea Market is a 15-minute walk away. At the edge of the Hudson is Chelsea Piers, a huge sports complex with facilities to practice pretty much any sport you can think of. Other areas within walking distance are the Meatpacking District and the West Village to the south and Hell's Kitchen and the Garment District to the north. The closest subway stations are about a 10- to 15-minute walk away however the lines available only go north to south so you'll have to change somewhere if you need to head east. JFK is 19 miles away, La Guardia 10 miles and Newark 15.
The room categories at the Americano are as easy as ABC, A being the uptown queen rooms, B being the downtown king rooms and C being the uptown studios. The first two are pretty much identical aside from the view and the size. The queen rooms have a view of the city, while the king rooms look out to the back and can't boast as nicer vistas. The rooms, which have concrete floors and white washed walls, are divided into two parts with a low wooden platform at one end with the bed and what could be described as the living space taking up the other half. The well dressed bed is placed at the foot of the floor-to-ceiling windows and either side are the switches for the electric blinds and wall and hanging lamps which give the room a warm feel. Also on the wall is the flatscreen television which twists round to face you while in bed and an old style telephone within arm's reach of the bed. On the metal shelf-cum-desk (which is so packed with stuff there isn't really room to put down your own items or do any work) are loads of goodies which certainly put a smile on our face. First is the iPad which serves as a directory, remote control and music player. Second is the Joe Columbo-designed Alessi alarm clock. Third is the Revel in New Yorkguide book and fourth is the snack tray. This latter, full of delicious local snacks, also has a personalised Hôtel Americano harmonica available for purchase, with the words Tu vuò fà l'americano! ('Let's do the Americano'). At just $15, we challenge you to find a better hotel souvenir in the city (we couldn't resist!). In another corner of the room is a full length mirror leaning against the wall in front of which is a rubber bean bag type seat, which is a delight to flop into after a hard day pounding the streets. Getting out again is a different kettle of fish! Other amenities in the room include a minibar, coffee maker, umbrella, safe and robes by Loden Dager. The bathroom is fitted out in lightly black-veined white marble and has a cylindrical wash basin attached directly to the wall, a walk-in monsoon shower with Aesop toiletries and a hairdryer. It isn't huge but is a pleasure to use.
The studio rooms are the largest and have a larger living space with a couch and chaise as well as an intriguing fireplace which is suspended from the ceiling. Another difference is the position of the bed which is in this case on the opposite side of the room to the windows and placed in a kind of backlit open-fronted wooden cube. In the larger bathroom you'll find a deep soaking tub with monsoon shower. Extremely comfortable and perfect for longer stays, the only disadvantage is the lack of natural light compared to the smaller rooms.
The hotel has three rooms adapted for guests in a wheelchair.
Wedged between a short red brick building and another, taller black tiled number, the Americano stands tall and proud, a stainless steel mesh screen set flush with its neighbours partially disguising the set back guestrooms. An east-facing red neon sign, reminiscent of those found outside seedy bars and brothels advertising beers and other services, identifies the hotel just above its glass entrance. The lobby, which is cornered off from the bar and restaurant by a three quarter height wall, is a seating area with a black leather couch and armchair and cork occasional tables as well as adjustable black lamp stands and bulbous lighting fixtures hanging from the high ceilings. Against the wall, resting on a long television stand-cum-storage unit with magazines and books on art and photography, is a framed set of negatives showing a young Barack Obama in various poses and '70s outfits, purchased from an LA gallery. In a nice touch, guests can help themselves to the complimentary water at the end of the unit. To the left, in the middle of the wooden-panelled wall with its Italian-made retro clock/calendar, is the simple black reception desk behind which is an old fashioned grid of boxes for room keys and messages. Just beyond are the elevators leading up to the rooms.
At the summit of the hotel is the hotel's rooftop pool complete with loungers and cabanas and of course a view of Midtown Manhattan. The experience is made all the more pleasurable by the availability of cocktails and nibbles as well as a grill restaurant (see 'Food and Drink'). Open day and night, it's the perfect place to relax and cool off under the New York sun and enjoy a pre-or post-dinner drink.
OK, it's only been open for six months, but the hotel is still in pristine condition and is clean and orderly throughout. Finding your room is a simple exercise as there are only eight rooms on each floor and the room number indicators are displayed on posters outside the lift on each floor. The staff we came across (who is dressed in Loden Dager) was polite, attentive and certainly had the gift of the gab. There is complimentary wifi throughout the property and there are bicycles available to use to get around town (ask at reception).
The Americano is the hotel's outstanding French-themed bar and restaurant located adjacent to the lobby. Entering from the street you come straight into the bar area which has seats along the bar itself and then low, relaxing seating to the other side, perfect for pre-lunch/dinner drinks or a coffee. The bright, light and airy main room is to the back and features black leather banquettes and marble-topped tables as has a real buzz all day long. It serves breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as brunch at the weekend (sometimes with live jazz, which is an excellent time to go if you can get a table). The choice at breakfast is between patisseries, smoothies and tea and coffee to begin with followed by cereal or oatmeal, pancakes and various styles of egg including the classic eggs benedict (delicious) or the more exotic huevos a la Mexicana. The lunch menu features appetisers such classic salads, chicken paillard and charcuterie while mains include a mushroom risotto, moules frites, the burger and the quesadilla. Dinner brings other mouth-watering fare like tartine de crabe, burrata or foie gras torchon to start and Chilean seabass, fava bean agnolotti or lamb saddle for main. During the summer months, guests can head outside onto the patio for some al fresco dining amongst the greenery of the terrace. Service here is as good as the food is enjoyable, although if you can't make it for a full meal then at least try to pop in for a snack from the all day menu or grab something before you head out in the morning from the on the go menu. Another alternative, if you don't fancy leaving your room, is the bento box. There are five varieties for breakfast and five for during the day and are a good option if you want to kill a little hunger.
Bar Americano, located downstairs from the restaurant, is a slightly space-age hang out with a magnificent white bar and concrete floors and walls, where both guests and locals come to dance the night away and enjoy one (or more) of the house cocktails.
The other eatery, The Grill at La Piscine, is located next to the pool on the hotel's rooftop. Opened for the first time on 1st May 2012, the open kitchen will be open all year round serving both food and drinks right by the water. The Mediterranean menu features a selection of dips and small bites to nibble at while appetisers include Greek salad and grilled octopus. Mains comprise fish and meat from the grill such as jumbo prawn brochette or onglet steak. On the drinks side, guests can enjoy a cocktail, a selection of mezcals, a couple of Greek beers or a glass of French wine or champagne. Once the place gets going, it is sure to be a huge Chelsea hit.
The hotel, which opened its doors in September of 2011, is the first US property from the Mexican chain Grupo Habita which has 10 hotels in Mexico with others on the way. The building was conceived by Ten Arqitectos' Enrique Norton while the interior design is the work of Arnaud Montigny who famously decorated Paris' most famous concept store, Colette. The hotel offers half prices day passes for Chelsea Piers.
Located near Madison Square Garden, the New Yorker is an excellent pied-a-terre in the heart of Midtown West. Recently renovated, it has accommodations offering good quality for the price and hosts a large delicatessen as well as a restaurant, open 24h a day.
While this is a decent property with some spacious rooms, attentive staff and some unique quirks, we found it to be lacking soul and bordering on kitsch. Located in the fashion district of Manhattan, the designers have attempted to make this the theme of the hotel and while some may find their efforts quaint, we feel they make the property seem a little cheap. Having said that, it appears to be a well-run place, with clean accommodation with some good views and its location could be a lot worse. It would be suitable for both business and leisure travellers, although you could probably do better for the same money.
This late 1920s property was actually purpose built as a hotel, the Governor Clinton, and thankfully much of the Old World character from that time has been retained. It is similar in many way to its sister hotels, however the Manhattan has got a little more glitz and glam about it and has probably the best location of them all, being as it is right in middle of everything. It is a large hotel (526 rooms) and so can get quite busy, but is a great option for families especially if you want a hotel with a buzz about it and, as is usual for Affinias, a lot of space.
Another result of the unstoppable partnership that is Eric Goode and Sean MacPherson, The Maritime is one of our favourite hotels in New York and without a doubt, one of the most original and carefully considered. As the hotel's name suggests, the theme is a nautical one, but done in a way so as not to be tacky like in so many European seaside resorts. Here, with the help and inspiration of top designers, the duo has created a smart, stylish and seductive place to sojourn in the city that never sleeps. Situated in a hip area of New York, this property is more suited to young couples than any other type of traveller, although its top class restaurants, bars and night club might tempt a different sort of clientele too.
This relatively new (February 2010 opening) Midtown Manhattan hotel offers a good standard of accommodation and design without frills and would suit more the younger traveller for whom full home comforts are secondary to taking full advantage of what the city has to offer. The hotel has some quirky, practical features and has a decent location not far from Times Square. Although some of the rooms are on the small side, there are some impressive views to be had from the rooms towards the top of the hotel. This hotel is a safe bet if you're looking for a New York base without pomp and circumstance with good access to the rest of the island and New Jersey.
The Indigo is a mid-range full service hotel (minus the spa) in the Fashion District of Manhattan. Although its rooms are starting to show their age in terms of décor, they are in perfect condition and very spacious for Midtown and are fairly well-appointed. The restaurant, which has changed hands a number of times since the hotel's opening, now seems to have found stability and is a decent option for a bite to eat at any time of the day. The fitness centre, complimentary business centre and panoramic rooftop bar make of the Indigo a good all round option if you prefer to be away from the busier parts of town but still within walking distance of the major attractions.
This eco-friendly, health-conscious, feel-good hotel brand from Westin (Starwood) offers a unique concept in New York, with generously-proportioned, bright, well-appointed rooms complete with kitchenettes, a make-yourself-at-home atmosphere with pantries, laundry room and living area, complimentary breakfasts and evening receptions (which are quite chaotic, it must be said) and some magnificent views of Manhattan. It also boasts one of the finest fitness rooms in the city and a genuine eco-friendly attitude which it takes seriously. It has a friendly staff and a good business centre, which, together with its other attributes, make it a great choice for any kind of traveller, especially those staying for extended periods.
We're going to stick our necks out here and say that of all the hotels we have stayed at in this city, the Setai probably takes top spot. Of course there are many different types of hotel in the city and not everyone is looking for what the Setai has to offer, but as on overall experience, it can't, in our opinion, be bettered. The rooms are not only some of the biggest in the city, but they are likely to be the best appointed in terms of amenities too. The stunning, contemporary spa is as luxurious as it is spacious and in its restaurant the hotel has one of most memorable dining experiences to be had. But what impressed us most, and where the hotel rises above it competitors, is the consistent attention to detail and impeccable service the likes of which we've never seen. Although new (November 2010 opening), this is right up there with the old masters and the best thing is that it can only get better!
We were quite simply blown away by this hotel. Rare are the occasions where there is nothing to fault, but staying here was one of those - it just couldn't put a foot wrong. Generously proportioned, impressively appointed rooms are complemented by a relaxed yet top class Italian restaurant, while the spa is a sight to behold. You'll have a tough job finding a property where the service is paralleled and don't even get us started on the views! A magnificent, modern and memorable hotel, we recommend the Trump Soho to all kinds of traveller, newcomers or old hands, couples or families. A huge thumbs up.
Let's not mince our words; The Peninsula is quite simply one of the finest hotels in New York, even more so now it is the other side of a renovation. From the very first moment you enter the hotel you'll have no doubt about the quality of experience that awaits you. There is very little to pick holes at here where excellence comes as standard: the large rooms are finely furnished, the restaurants of the highest caliber, the spa one of the most beautiful and complete in the city and the service faultless. Like all top class hotels this all comes at a certain price, however if there was ever one hotel which could justify the cost it would be this one.
Q. What do you get when you take $150 million and put them into the hands of one of the world's greatest architect/designers? A. The Mark. Be under no illusions, what Jacques Grange and co have conceived in the leafy surroundings of the Upper Eastside is now the yardstick against which all other hotels will now have to measure themselves. After over two years under renovation with some of the most sought after names in the creative fields working on the project, The Mark has transformed itself from a decent hotel to a hotel of superlatives. Everything is top draw from the design to the staff, from the food to the wellness centre. This all, of course, comes with the price tag that its quality demands, however rest assured that no other hotel can come close to what The Mark has to offer.
Although no longer associated with its Parisian namesake, the Plaza Athénée New York continues to offer one of the most refined hotel experiences in the city. Its style may not be as subtle as some of its competitors and thus some many find it a little overwhelming, but there is no getting away from the fact the hotel is a class act from top to bottom. It boasts capacious, well-appointed and recently renovated rooms (January 2010), a fine wellness centre, a celebrated restaurant and bar and an impeccable service from a smart, professional staff. If you're after that classic European opulence the other side of the Atlantic then the well-located Plaza Athénée is one to consider.
This mythical New York hotel has seen its fair share of changes, both within in its walls and outside, however one thing remains constant: The Carlyle is one of the swankiest, smartest, seductive hotels in the city. The very few flaws of the hotel (for example the size of some bathrooms) can be excused by its age; otherwise there are very few hotels of this genre which can claim to offer a similar experience. Not only does it offer top notch service and facilities, but its location and commanding views are also something spectacular. Throw in a rich history, fine dining and exquisite décor and you get a hotel (literally) fit for kings. If you've got the cash, don't even ask yourself the question?
The Pierre has always been a landmark hotel in New York City?and we are glad to report that after its latest $100 million renovation following its takeover by Taj Hotels, it is still very much one of the hotels by which others must judge themselves. It is true to say that it may not have some of the facilities of some of the other top hotels (no spa, smaller rooms), but when it comes to service, style and sophistication, not to mention history, it is untouchable. With a location that would make most hotels weep with envy, fabulously appointed rooms with an Asian touch and a new, top quality restaurant, The Pierre is back on top of its game and ready to welcome once again all types of traveller, no matter their motive for visiting the city. All this comes, of course, at a price, but if you had to choose a place to spend your hard earned cash, this has got to be near the summit of your shortlist.
You may be coming to the United States to see New York, but the St. Regis is a destination in itself. The most sumptuous hotel we have visited to date in the city, its beautiful Beaux-Arts interiors are a sight to behold. It's (rightly) famed for its unrivalled service and King Cole Bar (more in 'Food and Drink') as well as its beautiful, spacious and well appointed rooms, however it does lack some of the high tier amenities of its rivals, such as a swimming pool, and the views are not quite as good. That said it can boast an Alain Ducasse restaurant and original antique décor. It's true to say that some may find the hotel's opulence a little overbearing, but let's not lose sight of the fact that this is nonetheless a true masterpiece. Even if you don't have the means to stay here, come and take a look around as the property has some unique features. Couples, friends or business travellers will all find their calling at the St. Regis.