130 West 44th Street 10019New YorkUSANew York, United States of America -See the map
Amy AdejokunSection editor
Take a step back in time (through a passage lined with suede and leather, of course) to the golden age of travel and the magnificent new Art Deco hotel The Chatwal. Opened recently in August of 2011, it has quickly become one of the places to stay in New York and to be honest, it isn't difficult to see why: a dream location in the heart of Manhattan, superbly appointed, world ?class accommodations, a luxury spa and a fine restaurant. Marrying both old world glamour and modern day luxury, this 'baby grand' hotel will appeal to those looking for good old fashioned service in a romantic setting with everything that makes this a great city within reach.
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Food and drink
If you are considering The Chatwal for your first visit of you simply want to be close to the action then you could not ask for a better situation. On West 44th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues, you've got the following within several blocks of the hotel: Times Square, the Rockefeller Center, Bryant Park, St. Patrick's Cathedral, Grand Central Station, the Fashion District and heaps of shopping opportunities on Fifth and Madison Avenues. A little further away, within 15 minutes' walk you can be in Central Park, visiting the Empire State Building or catching a train at Penn Station. The hotel is well served by the subway with at least 10 different lines passing through the three or four stations nearby. JFK airport is 17 miles away, La Guardia 9 miles and Newark 17.
Guests have the choice of 83 handsomely appointed guestrooms and suites divided into 13 categories. All have been decorated by Thierry Despont and even the most basic room is generously proportioned and boasts fine amenities. The beds, whose mattresses have been custom-made by Shifman, are dressed in 400 thread cont Frette linens with a light caramel-coloured border. This detail is complimented by hues of the curtains, carpet and suede covered walls, while the furniture is of a slightly darker tone and comprises a designer armchair and pouffe, matching leather covered bedside tables, wardrobe and drawer unit and several Art Deco lamps. Discretely hidden behind one of those wardrobe doors is the minibar which, as well as containing everything you need for whichever drink you desire, also holds luxury snacks, magazines and other Chatwal products such as scented candles or playing cards. Amenities in the room include a 42" flatscreen television, cordless telephone, Tivoli radio, a leather encased backgammon set and a touch screen telephone which also controls the lighting and shades. In the closet you'll find an umbrella, safe, DVD player and bathrobes. The bathroom, a million miles away from the room in terms of design (not distance, don't worry!) is entirely mirrored and boasts sleek, shiny fittings on a double vanity, a large, walk-in monsoon shower, television screen implanted into the main mirror, a heated Toto toilet and exclusive Asprey toiletries. Even the standard rooms have the option of coming with a private terrace at an additional cost and on request. The most basic rooms have a view onto the hotel's courtyard however most look onto the street (44th Street). The hotel's suites offer extra living space with either seating alcoves or separate living areas with sofas, armchairs, coffee tables and additional televisions. Others have extra bedrooms and bathrooms and boast comforts such as working granite fireplaces, jacuzzi baths and roof decks with spectacular views over the city. Make no mistake about it, these are some of the finest rooms in the city.
Before heading straight inside the hotel, take a moment to look up at the first floor windows, or rather their surround. You'll notice the marble façade and its intricately carved columns featuring ram heads, an original feature from the days when the building was home to theatrical types. Once you have admired the craftsmanship of the exterior, head inside and into the hotel's wonderful Art Deco lobby - proof that all good things come in small packages. At once striking and warmly welcoming, it features to the left a perfectly formed polished stainless steel reception desk with lamps from the period and, almost more importantly, a couple of flower arrangements not featuring the ubiquitous orchid which most New York hotels unimaginatively resort to in order to brighten up their public spaces. To the right is a seating area with brown leather banquettes and their conical Art Deco lamps skirting a wall with a huge mural of an enclosed bridge between two historic New York buildings by Mark Beard and in front are round, glass topped tables surrounded by red leather armchairs. All this is wrapped in stained birch wood panelling with aluminium strips. You'll find the staff at both the reception and concierge to be delightfully helpful and professional.
The welcome you'll receive at the hotel's spa, run by kashwére, is on a par with the quality of both the treatments and the décor. It boasts three treatment rooms including a manicure/pedicure room with copper bowls for the feet and a bubinga wood door, three private changing suites each with its own steam shower, a saltwater lap pool and two plunge pools (hot and cold). Other features include the Swarovski crystal chandelier, the use of bamboo microfibre sheets and the option to customise your treatment by choosing the music, lights and aromas. Treatments on offer include massages, body treatments, facials, waxing and other aesthetics. Before and after your experience you can relax in the lounge and help yourself to tea and other refreshing drinks as well as snacks. Attached to the facility is a fitness centre with the latest machines for a full workout. Have a go on the tennis ball massage chair in the corner of the room!
Being a brand new hotel you won't be surprised to learn that it is in excellent condition and that everything is still pretty much sparkling. With a relatively small number of rooms access to them is hassle-free via the lifts fitted with televisions and the smart, generous corridors.
The Lambs Club is the hotel's restaurant and bar and is dominated by a floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace given as a gift to the original theatrical group by Stanford White. Hung on the black wood walls, which stand in contrast to the red leather banquettes which hug them, are black and white portraits of former members of Lambs as well as a mural depicting gentlemen in tuxedos enjoying a drink and smoke at the bar. The tables are laid as immaculately as the service is given and guests can enjoy breakfast, lunch, dinner, brunch and pre-and post-theatre dining at the restaurant. All is overseen by chef/owner Geoffrey Zakarian who has not only worked in some of the city's hottest eateries, but who also appears regularly on the Food Network television station in the States.
Morning brings freshly baked pastries, cold meats, cheese, bagels, smoothies and even grilled grapefruit with sugar and ginseng. If you prefer something warm then go for the eggs the way you want, chicken fried steak or lemon ricotta pancakes.
The lunch menu features appetisers such as pork ravioli and butternut squash soup which can be followed by a salad or sandwich (chicken cob salad, Maine lobster roll), grilled octopus or crispy ocean trout. The dinner menu offers may of the same dishes with the addition of such dishes as veal sweetbread for starters and monkfish for mains. The mouth-watering dessert menu entices with delicacies including double chocolate ginger cake, buckwheat crêpes and home-made cookies.
At the bar upstairs, which features a gleaming counter over which Empire State Building-shaped lights hang down, you can enjoy a cocktail (or other) from some of the finest barmen in the city.
Built in the very early 20th century by legendary architect Stanford White, the building which now houses The Chatwal was originally named Lambs, the first professional theatrical club in America, so called after Charles and Mary Lamb. Past members have included Irving Berlin, Charlie Chaplin, John Wayne, Douglas Fairbanks and Fred Astaire and much of the history of the club has been alluded to in Thierry Despont(s hotel design. The Chatwal is part of the family-owned Hampshire Hotels and Resorts group whose portfolio also includes Dream hotel.
Although the Premier welcomes all guests, it was originally built with the woman traveller in mind. At once formal and relaxed, the hotel is ideally situated for both business and pleasure. It is a fresh, modern and well-considered hotel with good size rooms and some great views. Recommended for lone female travellers or businesswomen as well as for couples looking for a comfortable, discreet yet functional base in New York.
You couldn't ask for a better location. Although this is a hotel which markets itself strongly as venue for conferences and events, it finds itself in the middle of the New York tourist area and has facilities that would suit any type of traveller, on business or pleasure. Add to that the little bit of magic that the Hudson Theatre brings to the table, together with the Art Deco surroundings, and you've got yourself the perfect base from which to discover the city that never sleeps. Decent sized rooms, some great views and the best of the city on your doorstep-definitely to be considered.
This New York outpost of the Spanish chain Room Mate is so funky it hurts. It marries great Iberian design with a clever use of space and an impressive range of services given the hotel's size. What's more it has a location (for tourists) to die for and laid back but efficient service. The rooms could be bigger, but then you wouldn't get the value for money that Grace offers. The property is perfect for young couples or groups of friends on a certain budget looking to get the absolute most from their dollars. This one's a definite winner!
After a recently terminated $15 million renovation, it would be quite wrong to say anything other than "Money well spent!" The hotel, which has a location difficult to better, is certainly one of a kind and has some excellent facilities and original décor. Pet-friendly (to what some would say is an absurd point), it has that edge of eccentricity that one can only find here in New York. Popular amongst bohos and trendy thirty somethings it could equally serve as a familial base for a week or so's stay. However much we liked The Muse, and really, we are fans, it must be said that it has one huge flaw and that is its front of house staff. Shame, because everything else is spot on.
Squeaky clean and clinical all in white, Cassa is a contemporary hotel and residence tower in the heart of Midtown Manhattan. It boasts 165 well-appointed and light and airy rooms with sleek furnishings and details as well as state-of-the-art fitness room and a brand new breakfast room. The hotel would certainly meet the needs of couples and families visiting the city for pleasure, although business travellers and those seeking a full-service establishment (wellness facility, business centre etc) might have to look elsewhere. A major advantage of the hotel is that, despite being in the centre of town, you can't hear a thing from the roads below at night.
Not to take anything at all away from the Morgans or Hudson, from top to bottom the Royalton is our favourite of the three Morgans properties in New York. It has arguably the best location of all three, the most audacious design and for us the smartest rooms. Over two years since it reopened following a renovation, it is still as legendary as it was in its Starck days. Indeed, parting company from the French superstar designer could well turn out to be a smart move (although the spirit in which he had conceived the first version has been kept, not least because she started her career in his group). The most grown up of the Morgans, the Royalton has something to offer every kind of traveller no matter their motive for travel and whatever the length of their stay. A big thumbs up from easyvoyage.co.uk.
As with any Sofitel in the world, we expect a high standard of accommodation, professionalism in the staff and an honourable place to dine. The chain's property in New York is no exception. Marrying the attributes of good old American service with Gallic flair, the Sofitel is a very smart, yet laid back hotel with an excellent location in the heart of Manhattan. No matter what your motivation for travel in the Big Apple, you'll find that all your needs are met, indeed exceeded. Definitely one hotel that cannot, must not be disregarded.
We finally got round to visiting the then newly-renovated legendary New York hotel, The Algonquin, in early 2013 and if anything it was a relief. A relief, because we could finally understand what all the fuss was about. It might not be up there with the very best hotels in the city, but it is certainly a hotel of high standing with heaps of fascinating history and an excellent central Manhattan location. The rooms, while smartly appointed and restored somewhat to their former glory, can be on the small side, but are quiet and comfortable and functional. There is a decent restaurant in the hotel's lobby area while the intimate bar is legendary. More than just a hotel The Algonquin is a New York landmark, a meeting place for all types of people which will live on for years to come. If you are looking for a bona fide New York hotel experience, look no further than here.
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.
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.
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.