The grandeur of the impressive glass exterior designed by Nobutaka Ashhara is very much tamed once you walk through the modest entrance on East 48th Street and into what is probably our least favourite part of the hotel: the lobby. While it is perfectly lovely, with a huge abstract piece on the wall, flowers, complimentary citrus water and delightful staff, it is very small, has just one bench to sit on and no real reception desk, instead just a check-in bank which we are not fans of! Again, it works perfectly well, but this type of scaling back on the welcome gives a rushed feeling to proceedings and quite a corporate aura, which can seem cold for tourists.
Take one of the two elevators up the first floor however and the scene changes dramatically as you walk into the Lexicon Lounge. Bright, spacious and airy, this public lounge open to all hotel guests has several cosy seating areas in front of a fireplace, a selection of art work (available for purchase) along the entry corridor and a complimentary wifi connection for those with laptop computers. To the back of the space is a small bar area where guests can help themselves to free tea, coffee and snacks all day long, including pastries at breakfast time. At around 3pm, the chef brings out a selection of baked goods such as muffins while a little later at 5pm there is an hour's cheese tasting with wines and beers available for purchase. A lively and pleasant area to spend time, this unique space is perfect for pre- and post-dinner refreshments and for intimate meetings with friends of business associates.
While the hotel does not offer a full service wellness centre, guests can benefit from in-room treatments such as massages, masks, wraps and manicures and pedicures. There is a well-equipped fitness room on the lower ground floor which is divided into two rooms and has both cardio (each with plasma screens) and weights machines as well as water and towels.
The hotel is kept extremely well and is spotless throughout. Getting to your room is quick and simple with only six rooms per floor and the room number indicators are very clear. The corridors, with their smart grey pinstriped carpets, are wide and light and easy to negotiate. The staff we came across was polite and efficient and always had a smile on their face. Complimentary wifi is available in the Lexicon Lounge, otherwise it is charged at $14.99 per day.