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HotelChatter Questions: In which, the intrepid HotelChatter editors and our hotel maven readers answer hotel questions that pop into our inbox. Have a question for us? Send it along. Think you have a better answer than we gave, or better yet, want to give a vote of confidence to our answer? Comment away below.
Here's one question from a reader whose daughter begins at NYU this fall:
"Since you have the inside NY Hotel scoop, do you know where to find any of the good promotional codes for the hotels you suggested? Also is it better to book on-line or call and negotiate since I will be [in NYC] 7 nights. Lastly, if I wanted to stay right by NYU - Washington Sq, where would you recommend?
Hotel Hype / Hotel Openings / Fashion Hotels / Manhattan Hotels / Soho Hotels / New York Hotels / Morgans Hotel Group / → All Tags
It may be a week yet until we can spend the night at the Mondrian Soho, but the place is already hosting thanks to Fashion Week parties at the appropriately buzzy Mr. H, Armin Armiri's "Chinatown-themed" nightspot that's soft opening the hotel with a hefty dose of fashion celeb cachet.
Saturday night's Prabal Gurung after-party saw Mondrian's chef Sam Talbot in the crowd, as well as Barbara Bush and J. Crew creative director Jenna Lyons. (The neon "no prostitutes" sign is probably the most-Twitpic'd and Tumbl'd design feature of the still-to-open-to-plebes bar.)
Hotel Delays / Hotel Openings / Hotel Hype / New York Hotels / Soho Hotels / Manhattan Hotels / → All Tags
We're not saying it's easy to open a hotel in New York City, but, damn, The Nolitan just can't seem to open a hotel in New York City. The hotly anticipated Kenmare Street boutique was most recently meant to open in March—but now it won't open until at least April 4.
Indeed. A late-last-night check of opening rates revealed that there's no availability until that date, and we don't suspect that's because the hotel has miraculously sold out all of March since last we checked (a few days ago). But wait, it gets worse.
The rate for that so-called first night? A cool $425 minus five percent if you're willing to pre-pay. That's a far cry from the $289 introductory rate promo'd on the Nolitan's home page. And here we thought economics dictated a discount when dealing with an uncertain future.
Restaurant Openings / Hotel Restaurants / New York Hotels / Soho Hotels / David Burke / Party Dispatch / → All Tags
Today Soho's James Hotel finally gets a restaurant, a little over five months since opening on Grand Street. It's David Burke Kitchen, a 95-seat basement space that compliments the rooftop bar, Jimmy. The menu, embedded below, presents "wholesome and hearty modern American food," including Burke's signature potted meats and vegetables as well as Soho rarities like bison tartare and Vermont rabbit.
What's worse than the two-week delay, just two weeks before the opening? A little bait-and-rate-switch on The Nolitan's website, where prices are promised "from $289." Sounds good, seeing as the last times we checked, the best deals we could find were $314 and $337.50, respectively.
Hotel Openings / Best Room to Book / Mondrian Hotels / Interviews / Soho Hotels / Manhattan Hotels / Hotel News / Hotel Booking Tips / → All Tags
Like we get with so many new hotels, we're extremely antsy about the new Mondrian Soho Hotel. We know we can sleep there as soon as February 22nd (for just $229 a night) and we know that the hotel's restaurant, Imperial No. 9 from chef Sam Talbott will open on March 1. But we wanted to know more.
So we chatted up the hotel's general manager, Gary Thomas, and asked him point-blank, "What are the best rooms to book?"
His answer? Rooms 2004 or 2003 which are deluxe queen corner rooms facing uptown. There's floor-to-ceiling windows on both sides of the room and Thomas said the views are simply "phenomenal."
He also told us that the showers will have a big cut-out window and then joked, "you can't be modest showering here." But he assured us that no one can see into the shower simply because there are no other buildings nearby that are taller than the 26-story Mondrian. And it's technically not a peekaboo bathroom because it's properly separated from the rest of the guestroom.
The risk of flying Peeping Toms aside, we found these rooms going for $309 on opening night using the introductory rate code, SPINTR.
There's yet another reason to request a higher floor at The James New York--the views. Once you get past looking at the worker bees going in and out of Holland Tunnel below and once you get past staring at the gargantuan Trump Soho, you can take in the rest of the western Manhattan.
You can even see all the way across the Hudson River into Hoboken where the W Hoboken is beckoning you to visit with it's giant red W.
This view was snapped from room 1405 which has a king bed inside (about 315-sq.ft.) We found rates for this weekend going at $314 a night for this room but if you opt for a room with a queen bed, that drops the rate to $284 a night (as well as the square footage to 280 sq.ft.)
Interestingly, the James has no rooms with two beds. So...you know...love the one you're with.
Hotel Amenities / iPod Docks / iPhone Chargers / Soho Hotels / James Hotels / Hotel Technology / → All Tags
Last night after a relaxing dinner with our mom (we know, "mom" and "relaxing" do not usually go together in the same sentence) we found ourselves returning to the The James New York in Soho with a little bit of dread. But it wasn't because of anything we encountered in the hotel. Rather, we had forgotten our iPhone charger and our phone had died on us.
So we hit up the concierge at the ground level to see if there was a spare iPhone charger hanging around the hotel. The concierge mused for a minute saying that she thought someone may have left one behind that we could borrow. Then suddenly, she perked up and said, "Oh wait! You can just plug your iPhone into the Dream Machine!"
That would be the Sony Dream Machine on the nightstand which the bellmen had explained to us mere hours before when we checked in.
In addition to checking out the Soho Grand Hotel's newly redone tech suites this week, we also picked up a curious little card in the lobby, alerting us to the fact that their GrandLife iPhone app is up and active. Even better, it's totally free over at iTunes.
To get the app, you can simply go here to download it, or, if you're on site at the hotel, just scan the code supplied on the card with your smartphone.
Killer View / Soho Hotels / Sweet Suites / Downtown Manhattan Hotels / New York Hotel Suites / → All Tags
We are suckers for a room with a killer view. We find that we are even more likely to forgive some minor hotel inconveniences if we can stare out the window at something pretty--yeah we are that shallow. Let's help out our fellow hotel mavens by uploading rooms with killer views to the HotelChatter/Flickr photo pool, or by sending the photo along to us. We will feature our favorites in this space from time to time. Remember to tell us the name of the hotel and the room number of the hot view.
Yesterday, we dished on the new suites at the Soho Grand Hotel assaulting you (in a good way!) with photos, videos and extreme details. But today, we'd like to take a moment away from the Apple products that are stocked in the room, to just admire the view.
Yup, this is what about $1,350 will get you inside suite 1634. The bedroom view (above) looks out east over West Broadway, actually directly into the fancy new Soho Mews apartment building where hotelier Vikram Chatwal has just bought a place.
If you are a fan of downtown NYC hotels, these just might be the moving and still pixels you've been waiting for -- a look inside the Soho Grand Hotel's brand spanking new "Grand Suites".
In order to get to any of the ten suites you must nab an exclusive key card from the front desk that will get you up to the 16th floor, where all the suites are located. How do you get said key? Well, obviously you will have to book a Grand Suite. While July saw and incredibly justifiable intro rate of $700 for these suites, September is a different story, we were just quoted $1350.00 for a Thursday night this month. Ouch. Why so high? Two reasons: 1) NYC is back and so are the hotel rates. This August was at far higher occupancy rates than a year ago. 2) Fashion week is coming and Soho Grand can charge crazy rates for fashion week and still fill the rooms.
Where Are They Now / Sweet Suites / iPad Hotels / Grand Hotels / Soho Hotels / Bill Sofield / → All Tags
With so many new hotels opening up in NYC these days, we wonder what the older, once hot hotels are doing to compete with this brash new generation of hotels who take rooftop parties, flat-screen TVs and wireless internet access for granted. Every so often we will be checking in on these old stalwarts to see what they're doing to stay relevant in a fiercely competitive market. For now, we're simply calling this feature Where Are They Now?
When the Soho Grand came on the scene in 1996, it marked the start of luxury boutique hotels in downtown New York. It's success, which included the opening of sister hotel, The Tribeca Grand, lasted for several very good years but inevitably, new hotels started to crowd downtown (i.e. 60 Thompson, Gansevoort, Thor, Maritime, Bowery, etc.) and give visitors tons of new options for their trips.
Now with proper hotel chains like Hyatt, Wyndham and InterContinental opening boutique brands all over lower Manhattan, coupled with a renewed interest in Midtown and Uptown, the Soho Grand is no longer the "only place to stay" in New York. But perhaps their new suites will reinvigorate visitors.