New York Travel Guide

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The Martha Washington Hotel in NYC is Now Open to Everyone

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  Site Where: 29 E. 29th Street [map], New York, NY, United States, 10016
September 22, 2014 at 2:50 PM | by | Comments (0)

Back in May, when King & Grove Hotels changed their name to Chelsea Hotels, in honor of their flagship property, we noticed that the King & Grove New York on East 29th Street would be reopening soon as the Martha Washington Hotel. Lo and behold, that day has come.

The 265-room, full service hotel has reverted back to its original name, used when it first opened in 1905, but its original purpose--a hotel exclusively for women--has since changed to a hotel "Exclusively for Everyone."

The guest rooms at the NoMad hotel start at a "Cozy" size, which is essentially a twin bed stuffed into a 140-sq.ft. room. The "Standard" room has 175-sq.ft with a queen bed, while the "Deluxe" size has a king bed wedged into a 300-sq.ft. room. The suites are a little more generous with their space but not much. And as far as we can tell, the room decor has not changed much since the hotel was the Hotel Lola.

If staying here, you'll probably spend most of your time downstairs at Veronica's lobby bar and lounge or at Marta (no "h"), the new Italitan restaurant from NYC restauranteur Danny Meyer of Union Square Hospitality Group (and of Shake Shack fame.) But should you be too exhausted to leave your room, Marta does do room service.

Rates for the Martha Washington Hotel start at $335 a night for a standard room with a queen bed.

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Domingo Zapata Has Brought His Artist's 'Studio' to The W Union Square

Where: 201 Park Avenue South [map], New York, NY, United States
September 18, 2014 at 3:44 PM | by | Comments (0)

Two years ago, The W Hotel Union Square in New York debuted a new lounge concept for the space once occupied by Underbar, which in its heyday of the early aughts, was the place to see and be seen. Called Lilium, the space operated as a small nightclub with hand-sculpted steel lilies hanging from the ceiling and video art played on a loop on a flat-screen TV behind the bar.

Today, Lilium is out and Studio is in. The space, officially opening tonight, is a partnership between the Gerber Group (who also ran Underbar and Lilium) and contemporary artist, Domingo Zapata, who designed the club's interiors which are inspired by Alice's Adventures In Wonderland. Here's how the space is described:

Upon arrival, guests will descend into Zapata’s richly imagined interior world, falling down a veritable “rabbit hole” as they experience Alice-inspired murals leading down to a subterranean lounge. Once inside, a continuous, vaguely narrative mural runs through the space’s perimeter. Inspired by the style of his own Gramercy Park studio, Studio’s shadowy enclaves and seating areas are reupholstered in rich velvet red fabrics, and allude to a glamorous old New York feel contrasted by the rawness of open ceilings and untainted floors.

We call the Queen seat.

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The Mother of All Virtual Tours is Now Making Its Way Around the Country

September 18, 2014 at 1:05 PM | by | Comments (2)

About a month ago, our bro Jaunted wondered aloud whether virtual reality could make waves in the travel industry, allowing people to be mentally transported to destinations around the globe without physically leaving their home cities. We've thought about this very same concept in the form of hotels and online virtual tours as a way to experience properties before booking.

This morning, Marriott unveiled the mother of all virtual tours, a piece of technology it calls "The Teleporter," a virtual reality machine that allows people to "tour" some of its hotels in the States. The Teleporter made its public debut at the Marriott in New York. It will remain there for five days, then take off for the rest of its eight-city tour to its properties in Boston, DC, Atlanta, Dallas, San Diego, San Jose, and San Francisco.

Judging from the early reports, Marriott didn't cut any corners when developing the technology. A journalist from Wired had great things to say about the experience, noting that "pumps embedded in the floor, misting nozzles in the walls, heater blowers in the ceiling, fans in the ceiling and floor, a scent dispenser, and a 1000-watt amplifier all deepen the feelings of immersion. When you land on the beach, the pumps in the floor create the feeling of a cushioned landing, and you feel 80-degree warmth, a sea breeze, and ocean mist."

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Yoo Hoo, Sultan! Did You Know How Fabulous The Plaza Once Was?

September 8, 2014 at 6:16 PM | by | Comments (0)

We've been longtime lovers of The Plaza Hotel in New York, even after the hotel was renovated and turned into a branded Fairmont Hotel with residences. But we had no idea The Plaza had such a racy side.

A reader, Tommy, wrote into us with this fabulous memory of The Plaza and one that's particularly poignant considering that the homophobic Sultan of Brunei is interested in buying the hotel:

When Donald Trump owned The Plaza Hotel from 1988 to 1995, the Polynesian restaurant in their basement briefly ran a weekly Sunday night GAY PARTY called "GAUGUIN"! I know, because I used to attend it.

I unfortunately cannot remember the exact year it operated this party but I do remember the exotic Polynesian decor & the fruit-infused tropical drinks served. This short-lived party ended after some fights broke out at closing time & the restaurant's liquor license was threatened with being revoked.

That's a fascinating description (oh, how we wish we could have been there if not for our geometry homework!) but it's not quite accurate.

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The Out NYC Wants You In The Dog House

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 510 W 42nd St [map], New York, NY, United States, 10036
August 29, 2014 at 9:32 AM | by | Comments (0)

Hospitality for pets is apparently “the fastest growing sector in the travel market”, which makes all the cute hotel doggies we’ve seen recently seem slightly less cute and slightly more cynical. Joking! Obviously nothing could make those dogs any less cute.

The latest hotel to jump on the furry bandwagon is The Out NYC, which has just opened some Dog House Suites – dog-friendly rooms attached to private courtyards – particularly handy for offleash activities or, we guess, doing their business. Even better, access to the courtyard is via a pet door, so they can come and go while you’re taking care of your own business. They’re not just any old courtyard, either – each has a dog house, fake grass, “faux fire hydrant” (not sure of the appeal of this one) and seats for you humans.

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Mario Batali to Bring His Italian Dishes (and Orange Crocs) Into NYC's Maritime Hotel

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 363 West 16th Street [map], New York, NY, United States, 10011
August 28, 2014 at 7:03 PM | by | Comments (0)

La Bottega at Manhattan's Maritime Hotel has long been a HotelChatter favorite spot, thanks in part to their killer outdoor dining spot. But now, La Bottega is on the way out and coming in is chef Mario Batali and his partner, Joe Bastianich.

The duo and their B&B Hospitality Group will take over the entire food and beverage program at the hotel, featuring "cooking of the Italian coast and islands." Here's what Batali said in a statement:

“The Maritime has just as much, if not more, outdoor space than any other hotel in Manhattan. It’s the sort of place I like to spend time. We’ll bring our perspective on Italian food and a little old-school New York to this Chelsea landmark,” Batali says. “The neighborhood is ready for a new hangout. I look forward to working with Richard Born and Sean MacPherson and their expert team.”

(FYI: Richard Born and Sean MacPherson are the hoteliers behind The Maritime.)

This is not the first time Batali and Bastianich have opened a restaurant within a hotel. The two run Carnevino, B&B and the Otto Enoteca & Pizzeria at The Venetian in Las Vegas.

According to Eater, La Bottega has not announced an exact closing date but it's probably pretty soon. The new B&B resto should open at The Maritme sometime next year.

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5 In-Room Tech Touches at Park Hyatt New York, Opening Today

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  Site Where: 153 West 57th Street [map], New York, NY, United States, 10019
August 19, 2014 at 3:03 PM | by | Comment (1)

We took you all around the Park Hyatt New York a few weeks ago but in honor of the luxury hotel's official opening day, we're spotlighting 5 tech touches in the guest rooms that we thought you'd like. Rooms for tonight are holding steady at $725 for a Park Deluxe King.

CLEARLY MARKED BEDSIDE BUTTONS. Turning on and off the lights with the press of a button can actually be accomplished here. (Shout-out to the extra outlets!)

NEWEST NESPRESSO MODEL. Even the pods are different!

INTELITY iPAD MINIS. Each guest will have one of these on the nightstand to use during their stay. (The iPads were not installed yet during our visit so, just imagine.)

GADGET HOOK-UP. A power/gadget hook-up strip is installed at each desk.

TOTO TOILETS. Yes, this matters.

Check out all the photos of a Studio Suite below!

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Novotel Times Square Accepts the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, With Hotel Room Ice Buckets

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 226 West 52nd Street [map], New York, NY, United States, 10019
August 18, 2014 at 12:25 PM | by | Comments (0)

The ALS ice bucket challenge has gone viral. What started on Facebook as an awareness movement/double dare (#ALSIcebucketchallenge) amongst friends, then friends of friends has moved onto athletes, celebrities and even billionaires like Bill Gates. And now, it's reached the hotel world.

Using hotel room ice buckets, the staff at the Novotel Times Square dumped ice on themselves last Friday to support ALS research. And so did a couple of guests. Check out the video of the dumping, done on their rooftop terrace, here:

Of course, the hotel passed on the challenge--to their general manager Marc, and to another hotel--The Sofitel New York (that's the Novotel's sister property, FYI.)

So far the FB page for the Sofitel New York has not addressed the ALS challenge. But we hope they do--either with ice buckets or money (preferably the latter.)

[Photos and Video via Novotel Times Square]

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All About That Basil: Go On a Basil Cocktail Crawl at These NYC Hotels

August 13, 2014 at 5:38 PM | by | Comments (0)

It's no secret that we love drinking in hotels here at HotelChatter. In fact, hotels might be our favorite "local." So all this week and next, we'll be pouring out some drinks for you during our second Hotel Cocktail Week(s) -- newly-expanded because there’s just so many drinks to share. We'll be posting quirky cocktails, boozy trends, unique menus and even recipes so you can recreate your favorite hotel drink at home. We expect everyone will be getting a bit tipsy over the next couple of weeks! But don't forget to tip your bartenders, in this case, us.

You can’t beat basil this year as the herb of choice in hip cocktail bars the world over, and nowhere more so than in New York. Join us on a basil bar hop as we hit some of the coolest hotel bars this side of the Atlantic.

1) We’ll start at the nautically-themed Maritime Hotel, found in the Chelsea on the edge of Meatpacking District at 363 West 16th Street. La Bottega trattoria and lounge serves the basil-rich La Primavera cocktail.

La Primavera
1.5 oz Tanteo Tropical tequila
5 oz Canton ginger liqueur
1 oz simple syrup
1/4 oz lime juice
3 basil leaves

Combine ingredients, shake well and pour.

Cost to imbibe at the hotel: $14
Cost to stay at the hotel because you've imbibed too much: $425

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Another Day, Another Hyatt Hotel In New York: This Time in Herald Square

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  Site Where: 30- 32 West 31st Street [map], New York, NY, United States, 10001
August 12, 2014 at 4:04 PM | by | Comments (0)

The rooftop lounge of the Hyatt Herald Square New York offers a memorable historical perspective of Manhattan, worth the price of admission - or your cocktail

Hot on the heels of the newly opened Park Hyatt New York, work is well under way on another Hyatt branded hotel, due to open this October--the Hyatt Herald Square New York .

The Hyatt Herald Square New York has moved into the former Holiday Inn on West 31st Street, a tall, slender, 20-story building completed in 2011. Other than changing the sign on the door, the reported $6 million renovation is concentrated on the interiors and upgrades to Hyatt Hotels corporate standards. The hot new look that we're seeing so far is credited to local firm VLDG, with Paul Vega leading the process. VLDG is no stranger to Hyatt, having also designed the Hyatt Union Square. Vega's concept for this new Hyatt draws inspiration from the surrounding fashion industry and Herald Square’s publishing heritage. These are great subjects for hotel designs, especially when combined under one roof.

The interiors are looking good, featuring the warmth of natural woods, select implosions of color, and another great hotel wingback chair we haven't seen before and must add to our special photo gallery

Hyatt wants you to feel at home, and the Den really does have a comfortable vibe to it - not to mention a nicely stocked bar

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A Little Bit Country, A Little Bit City: Kingside at The Viceroy New York

August 8, 2014 at 7:10 PM | by | Comments (0)

There's been an influx of new hotels near Central Park lately such as The Quin, The Viceroy and the upcoming Park Hyatt New York and the 1 Hotel. Aside from giving visitors more choices for their overnight stays, these new hotels are also giving visitors more choices of places to eat. After all, every new hotel must have a desirable dining concept attached.

We popped into the hotel's Kingside restaurant on the ground floor The Viceroy New York last week for lunch and quite liked the lack of pretentiousness that typically comes with a boutique hotel restaurant. When we asked for a table for one, we weren't relegated to a hightop table at the front near the bar but instead given a nice spot in the corner of the main (although small) dining room. Other diners included other tourists, Real Housewives-types and work colleagues. Our server was down-to-earth friendly and there were zero service issues. The decor seemed more downtown than uptown and also appeared to be inspired by both the nautical and the rustic lifestyles.

But as soon we looked at the menu--from chef Marc Murphy, the man behind Landmarc--we could not take our eyes off the listing for a buttermilk fried chicken sandwich on an onion roll, topped with slaw and jalapeño mayo ($17.) Done and done.

That said, the menu is extensive, ranging from crudo to burgers, fritto misto and charcuterie. The vibe probably changes at night but for a drop-in, mid-day, mid-week, we thought it was just right.

Tour the rest of The Viceroy, including the guest rooms, right here.

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The Best Room to Book at The Loews Regency Hotel on Park Avenue

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 540 Park Avenue [map], New York, NY, United States, 10065
August 8, 2014 at 6:07 PM | by | Comments (0)

GUESS THE HOTEL REVEALED!

When we put forth the picture of the pretty room admired by rich and powerful old men the other day, we knew you true hotel nerds wouldn't have a hard time guessing which hotel the room belonged to. Now today, we're here to tell you the Best Room to Book at the Loews Regency Hotel on Park Avenue.

It came as a pleasant surprise to us but the hotel's starting room category, the Luxury King, is actually a very fine room to book. Sure, there are other bigger suites with better Park Avenue views and the upcoming Signature Suites (including one from designer Nate Berkus) are bound to blow guests away, but we really loved that a starting room category here gave you more space than most other luxury hotels in NYC.

Amenities include a generous work table, a stylish chair and ottoman, two closets, a full-length mirror on the wall in which you can clearly see yourself and your outfit (as opposed to on the back of the closet door), and modern technology like a flat-screen TV, a TV-in-mirror in the bathroom and free WiFi.

The bathrooms are tight on space but there's a shower + bath combo and we thought the sink vanity was extra good-looking. And we can't forget about the Julien Farel amenities and hairdryer. Swoon. #goodhairdayseveryday

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