10016 Travel Guide
We were a little concerned last time we checked in on Hotel Chandler. Things were looking a little rough around the turn-of-the-century Beaux-Arts building, and the construction work (part of a $10 million renovation led by Jane Capellini) was about a month behind schedule.
We found a much nicer scene when we returned a few days ago. Although there were a few remnants, construction is being wrapped up and Michelin-starred Chef Shaun Hergatt's 50-seat restaurant, Juni is officially open for business. Here's how it looks.
As you probably know, we are always on the lookout for hotel lobbies that will oblige our digital nomadic tendencies.
And so, upon stumbling in to The Roger on Madison Avenue one humid afternoon last week with some work to do, we were pleased to find those plush blue sofas and brass-studded leather stools almost entirely unoccupied. Even better than quiet surroundings and plenty of work space? Free, fast WiFi -- no password required.
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We drove by the construction the other day at 11 E. 31st St. and saw that the official construction barricades are up, with notices and all. The lot of land doesn't look all that different from when we snapped it on Google Street View last year but there's definitely been some progress. We even spied some building materials at the front of the site.
This will supposedly be the first Tommie Hotel location for the brand with 250 rooms. Tommie is also planning to open another spot in West Soho, also in 2015, with 329 rooms. Since its target guest will be the Millenial market, rates shouldn't get too crazy, somewhere in the mid-$200s a night.
Incidentally, the hotel is right across the street from the Hotel Chandler which has just spiffed up its restaurant and bar. But we don't think either side should fret as they seem to be going after two different age groups, er, audiences.
And yeah, we snapped this picture of the back of a cab. #dedicated #nerd.
We're always on the lookout for hotels with free, working WiFi--not just as hotel guests but as digital nomads too. So in case you find yourself in the increasingly trendy hotel neighborhood of NoMad, The Carlton Hotel at 29th and Madison Avenue has free and fast WiFi throughout the hotel…for everyone. No access code needed.
The hotel, an Autograph Collection Hotel, has a grand bi-level lobby with a small plush seating area where you can work and surf. But we say, head over to the Millesime restaurant and bar where you can nosh on some light fare and sip on coffee as you work on your latest TPS report. Or just update your social media status. You know you're gonna.
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We peeked inside the newly renovated rooms of the Hotel Chandler last fall yet when we ambled by the hotel yesterday we still saw some construction happening to the entrance of the 1905 Beaux Arts hotel as well as along the entire side left side of the building.
We checked the signs out front to see what the construction was about and they just pointed us to the Hotel Chandler website. We also noticed that the construction work was set to be finished by July 1. Oops.
Going to the hotel's website yielded no answers other than this announcement about the hotel's new restaurant, Juni, which is expected to open on August 19th. The restaurant was initially expected to open in January. But as a consolation to guests, the hotel was hosting a complimentary wine and cheese hour from 5 to 7pm. The lobby bar has since reopened so this social hour is now over.
However, we see a TripAdvisor review that mentioned the hotel is adding more rooms by annexing the small building next door, 18 E. 31st street. That would explain the construction off to the side of the entrance.
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Here's a first look at the new lobby bar and lounge area inside Pod 39. The venue is called Play Room and it's a huuuge space with a fireplace, two ping pong tables, color-coded bookshelves, a video projector, stained glass windows, and a 25-foot butcher block bar. Pretty much everything we look for in a hotel lobby hangout area.
Though the hotel debuted its rooftop bar back in September, it's taken this long for the street-level space to come together (sounds like they've got their priorities straight over at Pod!). But we think it was worth the wait. Pod Hotels put serious emphasis on socializing, so it makes sense that their public space would be so big and captivating—in many ways, more so than the first Pod hotel.
Here are our five favorite things about the new space:
Not even 2 minutes after we posted the question "What Is This At The Hotel Chandler?", you smartypants posters had the answer down pat both on HotelChatter's Facebook and Twitter pages. We thought it would take at least an hour for someone to figure it out!
Well, you were right, Fred Geiger (the first to answer on Facebook), the image above are assorted 19th-century European clock tower hands. They're made of hammered copper with original gold leaf finish and came from a private museum in Germany before the Hotel Chandler's owner purchased them from an antiques dealer in New Jersey.
Another cool thing we discovered was that this fireplace mantel (below), original to the building, had hundreds of layers of paint on it. After a recent redecoration of the hotel's rooms, it was stripped (took a few weeks!) and these intricately hand-carved lions heads were revealed and lovingly restored.
When we first looked at the above pieces on the wall at New York's Hotel Chandler, we honestly didn't know what to think. Was it art? Medieval weaponry? We felt like damned fools because we couldn't figure it out. So we just stood there staring at it for quite some time, like someone in a gallery, hands on chin in pretentious deep thought about a piece. But we weren't in deep thought, we were bloody perplexed and we don't like feeling that way.
Luckily the Chandler is chock-ful of quirky pieces, and the staff is quite used to questions about the fun pieces that dot the place. Normally, we like to pretend we're know-it-alls, but we couldn't fake the funk on this one. Being the inquisitive sort we couldn't leave without an answer, so we found out just what was hanging on the side wall of the hotel's lobby. And then we said "Ooooh." And felt silly. And kept staring because we couldn't believe we didn't get it at first shot.
But before we reveal the answer, we'll let you take a wild guess--there's always a smarty pants waiting to show us up--and tell us what do you think this is, anyway?
[Photo: Chanize Thorpe for HotelChatter]
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Marriott swooped in last year and made plenty of Marriott Rewards members happy by adding the Carlton Hotel to its Autograph Collection. And while perhaps the place isn't quite as historic as its Autograph Collection sister hotel, The Algonquin, the Carlton still has a few tricks up its sleeves...
So for those of you planning on staying here, here's a little secret: up in room 1105, you'll find the exact bookcase you see pictured above. Looks like a normal bookcase, right? Wrong. The bookcase is in fact a door that opens onto a hidden wood-paneled room, accessible only to guests staying in room 1105, which is also known as The Speakeasy Suite.
For more photos, click through!
The Tuscany now, a diamond in the rough. But not for long
After a few scheduling snafus, we were lucky enough to be the first to get a sneak-peek at The Tuscany , part of the St Giles Grand Hotel group. Originally scheduled to open this month, the grand reveal has been pushed back to mid-December due to a few Hurricane Sandy setbacks. Despite our walking into a very active constructive zone (and encountering a rather nervous PR exec) we think the Tuscany is shaping up quite nicely, we loved our first look.
We were continually reminded (almost every few minutes, in fact), things “aren’t finished yet” and we get that. Really, we do. But the things we did see, we’re happy to show our readers who are excited to have another Murray Hill option minutes from Grand Central, the Chrysler Building (there’s a great view from some rooms) and all those important places where business meetings, etc., occur. Thanks to a great rate on Hotel Tonight, we’ve stayed at the Tuscany’s sister property next door, The Court, (on 39th/Lex) and we dig both locations and think it'll do very well, indeed.
In the final stages of completing its $10 million, multi-phase renovation, Hotel Chandler in Midtown is almost ready to flaunt its fully finished makeover. In the meantime, the hotel is still in operation and all 138 rooms were fully sold out every night this week. There's a reason for this, people, and it's because the hotel is mighty home-y and its quiet location can't be beat.
First, a brief history to get you up to speed. In 1905, the building served as a welfare station, transformed into a weird little hotel called Le Marquis in 1999. Eventually, the name changed to Hotel Chandler, Triumph Hotels eventually took over, and all the rooms got a sweet facelift in 2007. Last year, we saw all the public spaces become intensely modernized and the final touch will be complete when two-star Michelin chef Shaun Hergatt's Juni restaurant opens in January 2013.
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Just one day after multiple sources say they caught Rihanna and Chris Brown canoodling at Meatpacking District nightclub Griffin, the troubled pair seem to have elevated their relationship status from "it's complicated" to "we're sharing a hotel suite."
On Tuesday evening, photographers caught Brown sheepishly exiting the Gansevoort Park Avenue, which, as we know, is where Rihanna likes to stay whenever she's in NYC. While not exactly the most luxurious digs in the city, those dark interiors make it easy to sneak around unnoticed.
Or at least, that's probably what Chris Brown was hoping...