10016 Travel Guide
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.
The imaginatively named Hilton Garden Inn New York/Midtown Park Avenue is set to open on August 24 and will sprout a bounty of goodies and amenities (Ok, we'll stop with those gardening metaphors right now.)
For about $249 on opening night, you'll get a king bed room with free WiFi, a Keurig make, a mini-fridge and microwave, a flat-screen TV and an ergonomic desk chair with a large work space. The hotel will also have three bars, including one on the 2nd floor terrace, a 24-hour Pavilion Pantry that will sell food, drinks and toiletries; a 24-hour fitness center and Little Town Social, a full service restaurant that will server breakfast, lunch, dinner and get this room service until midnight. That's right. The Hilton New York ditched room service but the Hilton Garden Inn is serving it up.
Other bonuses include 24-hour guest laundry rooms and a generous pet policy that for four-legged friends that weigh up to 75 pounds. Did we mention the starting rate was just $249 a night? For NYC? In the summer?
[Rendering via Hilton Garden Inn]
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It's been seven months since we noted that construction was slowly but surely happening on the Tommie Hotel in Midtown Manhattan. Seems we should have emphasized the slowly over the surely as we peeked in the other day and found only the beginning of excavations. On the brighter side, though, we also found a rendering pasted up -- albeit alongside a somewhat disappointing Spring 2016 estimated completion.
A peek at architect Gwathmey Siegel Kaufman's website throws up some more renderings revealing an interesting grid-like feature on the rooftop and at the front entrance.
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Not long ago, just back in October, we told you about The William Hotel; the Williams College alumni clubhouse being converted into an extended-stay hotel by Warner Hospitality of Hard Rock fame. It seems things have been moving swiftly for the project as the hotel is already taking bookings -- for stays beginning January 6.
As we said before, this isn't an extended stay hotel of the Residence Inn-type caliber. No, the mere 33-suite William Hotel features interior spaces created in a collaboration between designers Mason Wickham, Edwin Zawadzki, and Lilian Bakhash and artist William Engel, who transformed each individually decorated suite into a "livable three-dimensional painting".
Suites are colored in bright blues, teals, reds, greens or oranges, and floating walls separate living and sleeping quarters. Some suites also have their own terrace, and all feature linens by Mascioni, Frette bath towels, L’Occitane bath products, Nespresso machines, and Miya Japanese tableware.
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]