new york Travel Guide
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.
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."
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.
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.
Cute Hotel Doggies / Pet-Friendly Hotels / New York Hotels / Manhattan Hotels / Gay-Friendly Hotels / → All Tags
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.
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.
Hotel Technology / Park Hyatt Hotels / Hotel Openings / Central Park Hotels / Manhattan Hotels / → All Tags
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!
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]
Hotel Cocktails / Hotel Bars / Hotel Cocktail Week / Hotel Bar Hops / New York Hotels / Boutique Hotels / Gansevoort Hotels / → All Tags
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.
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
Hotel Rebrandings / Hyatt Hotels / Manhattan Hotels / Herald Square Hotels / Hotel Renovations / → All Tags
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
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.
Best Room to Book / Loews Hotels / New York Hotels / Manhattan Hotels / Park Avenue Hotels / → All Tags
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
Question: is it ever ok to ask a woman what her childbearing status is? (Answer: not unless it is particularly vital to the conversation, or if she brings it up.)
Another question: how many 21st-century women do you know who define themselves by their childbearing status? (Answer: unless they’re joking about ‘mom brain’, or write "proud mom!!" on their Twitter bio, not many, presumably because it’s the 21st century and in general society believes that women have brains and souls and vocations that don't necessarily include breeding, and the virgin/whore/mother categories were put on fade when we got the vote.)
Last question: in light of the above, just how much sense does it make for a hotel to market a new package for
barren sterile heartless unfulfilled childless women?
Personally we’d say not much sense at all, but the Westin New York Grand Central seems to think barren is the new black, because they’ve just launched a package called Womanhood Redefined, aimed at women of childbearing age who – the horror! – don’t have children. It is, they claim, an ‘industry first’. Guys, sometimes there’s a reason for that.
The Womanhood Redefined package aims to “create a new definition of happiness” for women (whose happiness meter is, of course, generally contingent on the number of offspring that have swum through their birth canal). The hotel has teamed up with Melanie Notkin, author of the gloriously titled book, Otherhood: Modern Women Finding A New Kind Of Happiness. Together, they have decided that this is what childless women want from a hotel stay:
· A bed for the night (presumably unwarmed, just like your single mattress at home);
· A copy of Otherhood (to help you find happiness despite your stale loins);
· A $25 food and beverage credit towards cocktails at the bar (because SATC, woohoo!) or in-room dining (in case you are ashamed to show your single self in public);
· A personal consultation with the hotel’s executive chef, who will tell you about superfoods and growing home gardens (crucial question: is he single? MAYBE YOU CAN MARRY HIM);
· A personal consultation with the hotel’s Running Concierge (careful now, overexercise can lead to fertility issues);
· 10% discount on yoga classes at a nearby studio (bcs you childless girls looove your yoga);
· A complimentary Westin White Tea candle (clutch it to your never-lactated bosom, it smells almost as good as a baby);
· Loaned exercise gear (because nothing feels as good as working out in second-hand sneakers).