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Hotel The Kitano Hotel 4 star
Easyexperts
66 PARK AVENUE AT 38TH ST, NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK 10016, USA New York, United States of America -
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Amy Adejokun Section editor

This high class property is everything one would expect from New York's only Japanese-owned hotel: exceptionally calm and quiet, meticulously decorated and appointed and very much focused on giving the very best customer service (which is succeeds in doing with flying colours). With its immaculate, generously sized guestrooms, top class restaurant and bar and excellent location, there is very little for us to pick holes at at The Kitano. While a large proportion of the hotel's guests hail, naturally, from Japan, any demanding traveller will appreciate the luxury and professionalism of this wonderful establishment which would suit any type of traveller to the city.

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    • Hotel The Kitano

      The Kitano   -   © IGOR LUBINETSKY/EASYVOYAGE

    • Hotel The Kitano

      The Kitano   -   © IGOR LUBINETSKY/EASYVOYAGE

       
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    Location 8.78 /10

    You really couldn't ask for a better location, especially as a first time tourist, than that of The Kitano, on the corner of Park Avenue and 38th Street. Although the hotel is four blocks away from the closest station, it happens to be Grand Central where you have a huge choice of subway and regional train lines. Within a 15-minute walk you have Bryant Park and the New York Public Library, Times Square, the Rockefeller Center, the Empire State Building, the theatres and plenty of shopping on Fifth and Madison Avenues. If you're feeling particularly fit you could walk all the way to either Uptown or Downtown although a cab won't cost you that much. JFK is 16 miles away, La Guardia 8 miles and Newark 16.

    Accommodation 9.20 /10

    There are a total of 149 guestrooms and suites at The Kitano, including a unique Tatami suite with veritable Japanese décor. All rooms are decorated in rather a sober fashion, although there is no doubting the quality of the furniture (made from mahogany and cherry wood), upholstery and amenities which have to meet the high standards expected of the high number of Japanese guests. The standard rooms are of a very respectable size for this part of town and are carpeted and painted in tones of tan and cream, similar colours to the curtains and armchairs. The rooms have a king bed dressed in fine white linens with a rust coloured plain strewn across its foot. Either side are bedside tables with reading lamps and an alarm clock while a long writing desk with its ergonomic chair has a telephone, keyboard and mutli-plug outlets. There is a censored minibar within the desk which is locked unless you request otherwise as well as a green tea machine on an occasional table by the seating corner. Other amenities in the room include a flatscreen television, iron and ironing board, safe, umbrella, shoe kit and robe and slippers. You'll notice too that the rooms are perfectly quiet thanks to soundproof windows with a special winding opening and closing system. The bathrooms pretty much entirely fitted out in marble, have large mirrors, bathtub/shower combination, Gilchrist and Soames toiletries, hairdryer and heated towel rack with custom towels. Larger guestrooms are available offering more living space as well as extra beds and furniture.

    There are various types of suite available at The Kitano, the smallest of which is the junior suite, which offers a superior living space as well as separate bathtub and shower in the bathroom and views of Park Avenue. In a separate townhouse are accommodated three unique suites which are more like apartments with the split level bedroom and salon separated by a corridor. The latter has a music system, book collection and pieces of art by New York based artists. Several executive suites boast Manhattan views along with jacuzzi tubs, Japanese bidets, dining tables and of course generous living spaces.

    But the jewel in the accommodation crown at The Kitano is the Tatami suite, located on the 17th floor of the hotel and which boasts not only a dining room, but also a traditional Japanese tea ceremony room in the centuries-old architectural style sukiya-zukuri. The décor in the room also includes traditional tatami mats and painted shojiscreens.

    Overview 8.70 /10

    As you walk into the orderly, symmetrical lobby of The Kitano, the first thing that strikes you is the Y-shaped staircase at the back of the hall, leading up to the mezzanine level. At the very centre of the lobby is a square seating area composed of armchairs and sofas in the middle of which is a coffee table. At the corner of the quad are identical occasional tables and lamps while behind is a Botero original entitled 'Dog' (one of many pieces of art and photography around the hotel). In front is a table featuring a vase of flowers which have been arranged by the hotel's florist according to the sogetsu school of ikebana, or Japanese flower arranging. The sides of the lobby are remarkable for their grid like formation with wood panelling covering the columns and mezzanine floor edge. Through the right side of this grid is the reception desk manned by the politest of staff, while over to the other side is the concierge desk and lift bank where you'll notice the beautifully embossed doors. In one corner of the hall is a boutique (quite uncommon in New York hotels) selling various items of jewellery, fashion accessories, leather goods, souvenirs, postcards and the like.

    For the moment, the hotel does not have a fitness or wellness centre, but this possibility is being looked into. For those travelling on business or for those who are travelling without a laptop, there is a full service business centre for use at the hotel, although this is charged at $8 per 15 minutes. There is a wifi service throughout the property which is charged at $9.95 per day.

    All public areas of the hotel are kept immaculately and the corridors on each floor are wide, bright and easily negotiable and have some interesting black and white shots of the city.

    Food and drink 9.70 /10

    The hotel is lucky enough to have one of New York's premier Japanese restaurants, in the form of Hakubai (which means white plum), in its basement at the foot of what they call the 50 steps to Japan. Specialising in the multi-course kaiseki cuisine with roots in Zen Buddhism and which is supposed to awaken the five senses, the restaurant boasts traditional Japanese décor using bamboo, tatami, shoji screens and ikebana. It is open for lunch and dinner and attracts many a non-resident thanks to its exquisite dishes served on hand crafted and painted crockery from Japan (on which the hotel spent a staggering half a million dollars!). The waitresses at Hakubai are all dressed in traditional kimonos while soothing music and birdsong are piped into the space to help give the perfect atmosphere for enjoying the food. And believe us when we say that the food here is outstanding, just like the service and presentation - it was a real pleasure to dine in such a relaxed ambiance.

    Since our visit to The Kitano, the Garden Café and has been completely renovated and will replace the now closed Bar Lounge on the mezzanine level as the hotel's world-class jazz venue. Called simply JAZZ at KITANO, the space, with its 30ft ceilings, mahogany walls and contemporary art, not only welcomes the same legendary acts as before, but also serves breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as cocktails. A brunch is offered on Sundays and sushi is available every night of the week. Note that there is a cover charge of $10-$25 on Wednesday to Saturday nights and a minimum $15 drink charge.

    To know

    The hotel is housed in a 19th century building which was once owned by the Rockefellers and had the name Murray Hill Hotel. In 1973 the Kitano Group bought the property and named it the Kitano Hotel before changing its name to The Kitano New York in 1995. The Japanese group is headed up by Tsuguto Kitano, a construction magnate with hotel and resort interests in Australia, the Solomon Islands, Western Samoa and Vietnam as well as in his native Japan.

    Equipment

    • Car park
    • Handicap access
    • Restaurant
    • Internet access
    • Air conditioning
    • Spa

      beauty salon, keep fit

    • Sports equipment

      gym, fitness, sports

    • Safe
    • Meeting room

    advantage

    • Best of Japanese and Western values
    • Tranquility
    • Size of rooms
    • Service
    • Restaurant

    disadvantages

    • No fitness/wellness facilities

    Traveller Reviews

    • Overall Score -/10
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