New York Travel Guide

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Before and After: Sixty Soho Shows Off The Sexy Sixty Style

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  Site Where: 60 Thompson Street [map], New York, NY, United States
September 30, 2014 at 6:27 PM | by | Comment (1)

We love hotel renovations nearly just as much as we love new hotels. But what we really love about hotel renovations is seeing the transformation that happens when an old, tired and lackluster room gets a modern makeover and transforms into new, spiffed-up, stylish guest room. Or put more simply, we love comparing the Before and After.

Sixty Soho, formerly known as 60 Thompson, is the flagship of the newly formed Sixty Hotels collective from the original Thompson Hotels founders, led by Jason Pomeranc. But now that the hotel is no longer a Thompson, it was time to change up the look.

So Sixty enlisted Tara Bernerd & Partners, a London-based interior architecture and design to six, er, sex up the 97-guestrooms as well as the lobby and lobby bar. Here's what the rooms at 60 Thompson used to look like. Keep reading to see the new and improved Sixty Soho...

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Will The TWA Flight Center at JFK Turn Into a Trump Hotel?

September 30, 2014 at 3:17 PM | by | Comments (3)

It's been rumored for several years that the iconic TWA Flight Center at JFK International Airport would one day turn into a hotel. And once again, the rumor mill is working overtime with reports that a new hotel brand will soon install themselves at the terminal.

Earlier this year, negotiations between hotelier Andre Balazs and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey fell through . Now it seems the Port Authority is out shopping for a new Sugar Daddy.

Following the release of a formal Request For Proposal last month, the word on the street— runway rather— is that interested parties may include Yotel, who made their name with their capsule concept at UK airports; developer Related Companies; Marriott International and even, Donald Trump.

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Manhattan to Get Its First Seven-Star Hotel on W. 57th Street (Eventually)

Where: W. 57th Street [map], New York, NY, United States
September 25, 2014 at 3:16 PM | by | Comments (0)

These early New York buildings will be forfeited to make way for a new hotel tower that will be over the top in luxury, if not over the top of some of the neighbors' views

Manhattan’s posh West 57th Street, commonly known as "Billionaires Row," is slated to become the address for New York’s first seven-star hotel. The yet to be flagged luxe hotel is being developed by Vornado Realty Trust and Le Frak Organization, who individually or collectively snagged the three small buildings shown above, now under demolition.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Vornado’s head honcho Steven Roth announced plans for a seven-star hotel, and that’s really all anyone has to go with at the moment. We haven’t seen any renderings yet, but we will, obviously, be tracking the hotel's progress, its design, and its seven-star attributes.

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Snagged an iPhone 6? This Hotel Wants to Reward You for That

September 24, 2014 at 10:39 AM | by | Comments (0)

Were you one of the lucky ones to wait in a line forever pick up an iPhone 6 last week? Congrats! You've now got a bendable phone in your pocket. Er, we mean, you can totally get bonus hotel rewards from The Grand Hyatt New York.

The hotel is offering iPhone 6 users complimentary Hyatt Gold Passport points, although there are a few catches. First, you have to actually stay at the Grand Hyatt New York with your new phone. Then, upon check-out, show the front desk that you posted a photo of your hotel stay somewhere on social media from your iPhone 6. You have to have tagged the hotel in the photo in some way too.

If all looks well, then 600 complimentary Hyatt Gold Passport points will be dropped into your account. If you don't have an account, the hotel will help you set one up. That's pretty cool, you know, if you were already planning on staying at the hotel.

The offer is available through October 16, 2014. Rates at the hotel start at $299 a night next weekend.

[Photos: Grand Hyatt New York/Facebook and Apple]

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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

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  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

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  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

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  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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