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Times Square's Sanctuary Hotel Previews Rooms and a Pop-Up Restaurant

Where: 132 W 47th St between 7th Ave and Ave of the Americas [map], New York, NY, United States, 10036
March 11, 2011 at 4:30 PM | by | ()

When was the last time you tucked into a five-course meal, meticulously prepared for you by a budding 15-year-old celebrity chef? We figured it had been a while, so last night it was off to the Sanctuary Hotel in Times Square, where hotel owners Hank Freid and his son Brandon Freid were in high spirits over the recent (as in, days earlier) completion of their four-years-in-the-making hotel.

The lobby glowed with an exotic array of palm fronds, pop-art-decorated walls, and panel fireplaces built into the walls. Spotlights shone against the historic facade as a select crowd of journalists, artists, and industry peeps arrived to The Feast, a brilliant pop-up restaurant event, conceived by hospitality visionary Alan Phillips.

We started the evening with a tour of the rooms, 115 of which have been renovated in time for a speculative May opening. "We originally had planned to do 150 rooms," explained owner Hank Freid, "but then we scaled back in order to fulfill what we're calling the Star Program."

Initiating communication with guests before they've even arrived at the hotel, Star Experience Managers—who basically function as chartered personal assistants for the duration of each guest's stay—will plan and assist with every detail of the guest's stay, "from getting frozen peas in the middle of the night, to running out to the drug store." Reid explained the program was inspired by positive service experiences he's had at other hotels around the world—those rare, memorable staff members who "do everything for you." It all sounds a little promise-y to us, but we're excited to track the progress of this ambitious program!

Standard rooms boast the same mahogany leather headboard as the Deluxe King rooms, and are only slightly smaller. Chandeliers and sliding door bathrooms (kind of feels like you're in an airplane) are nice touches, and the shower itself is uniquely built right into the middle of the box-shaped rooms. A curtain can easily be drawn to close off the entire bathroom area (which all come equipped with products by CO Bigelow), or, if you're into the idea of putting on an in-room peep show, that also wouldn't be very hard to pull off.

As for the event itself, we were fortunate enough to bump into girl-about-town Patricia Field, who was lurking in a corner with designer Devinn Bruce, the man responsible for the wall art and room decor at The Feast (Bruce also designed the retail spaces inside Miami's Hotel Fontainebleau.) "I was just at the Ace Hotel, and next I'm headed to a party at the Mondrian," Fields explained during the cocktail reception. "This is the night of hotels for me! Which is weird, because I live in New York, and never need to stay in a hotel when I'm here. My house is kind of like my hotel."

Guests of The Feast, which will take place again tonight and tomorrow night, were treated to a menu inspired exclusively by famous pop artists. Starting with a frozen ball of carrot soup moulded around a dollop of Stilton cheese (taking its cue from Jeff Koons' Balloon Dog (Orange) painting), subsequent dishes touched on Damien Hirst's Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD) (no, LSD was not included), Andy Warhol's Marilyn Monroe, Roy Lichtenstein's Meat, and Takashi Murakami's Flower of Joy. Greg Grossman, aka the Wunderkind Chef, spoke briefly about the creation of the meal, and music was provided by Omar Akram.

All in all, we're pretty excited to see more of the Sanctuary, and last night's colorful gastronomic undertaking was just the tip of the iceberg. Stay tuned for more!

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