Donna Sue Robson specialises in the communication- and healing-arts. Jamie Natural Health and Healing is her energy-healing consultancy. Her modalities, workshops and boutique natural products can be viewed and purchased from www.jamienatural.com.
Published November 19th 2019
100 years old & still going strong
The Hotel Wolcott, opened on March 1st 1904, preserves the essence and elegance of old New York.
The Hotel Wolcott is conveniently located in mid-Manhattan, in-between 5th Avenue and Broadway, on 31st Street. On foot, the jaw-dropping Empire State Building on 34th Street is a 5-minute walk away, a route that offers great photographic vantage points of the 20th monument. Wolcott is an hours' walk to the Theatre District and Times Square, and Central Park is another half-an-hour north. Heading south, a walk to Ground Zero and the Financial District will take you about 2 hours, while Little Italy and Chinatown are one hour in the south-easterly direction. In short, The Hotel Wolcott holds a brilliant position from which to conduct in-depth walking discovery tours to most parts of New York City.
This hotel also holds a unique position in New York's history. Built-in 1904, it remains one of the oldest functioning hotels, and has a guest list that includes: Mark Twain, Isadora Duncan, Henry Miller and Buddy Holly. In fact, the original Belltone Studios were located in this hotel, which inspired musicians such as The Everly Brothers to stay.
In 1938, The Hotel Wolcott hosted the inaugural ball of Mayor LaGuardia. Wolcott staff take pride in the Wolcott's place in New York's history.
The hotel's architectural style can be best described as 'French Neo-Classical'. Its shimmering chandeliers and golden reliefs create opulence and luxury. Design detail from the early part of the 20th Century has been meticulously preserved and reproduced, such as carpet motifs and French-colonial furnishings. These features are perfectly blended with room dressers and chairs that have simple and slick modern lines.
Corridors are stately, lifts are original, and the original 1920s Ballroom which has now been relegated to 'a baggage storage area', still holds an aura of indulgence and entitlement.
The Hotel Wolcott serves its guests proudly. On arrival, there had been a mix-up with my booking: and within minutes the Manager had sorted the problem without fuss or fanfare. Queen rooms host 1 Queen-size bed and another single bed. The Queen-sized bed was quite simply the most comfortable bed I had ever slept in. The bathroom was small but immaculate, fully functional and well-resourced. The tap fittings were 'quirky', but the hotel staff were quick to explain operations.
The Wolcott building is old, and the heating system can challenge internationals. There are two heaters in the Queen room, both of which operated independently, yet the rooms and hotel are also centrally heated. This double system made the room quite hot and despite -2 outside temperatures, many guests asked that the room heaters be turned off. Even in dormancy, some of these portable oil heaters made random clicking sounds at night. It didn't last, but it was enough to wake you from slumber.
The Hotel Wolcott is best described as 'opulent French Neo-Classical' style.
Room amenities include a hairdryer, an iron and ironing board, clock radios and bedside lights. There were chairs and a writing desk, as well as a combination safe for valuables. There were problems with the guest room's phone lines during my stay, but the hotel staff were only too happy for guests to use the downstairs phone at non-busy times. On-site, there is also a staffed office from which to book and arrange airport shuttle bookings, tours and theatre tickets. To the left of the foyer entrance, there is a small library, and downstairs, you will find another pay phone and vending machine. In the reception foyer, guests can use the lap-top to make travel arrangements and to conduct internet searches. There is a more expansive Business Centre on the second floor. Wolcott offers free Wi-Fi connection.
The Hotel Wolcott is staffed 24-hours and service is prompt, warm and super-efficient. Technically, The Hotel Wolcott is classified as a 2-star hotel and doesn't have meals, a kitchen or room service. However, every morning guests are treated to a complimentary muffin and filtered coffee from 7-9am in the foyer, which is a good opportunity to meet other guests.
The Hotel Wolcott has a warm, intimate atmosphere, and staff have a heightened commitment to service. The building itself is a New York landmark, an aggregate of classic luxury and neo-romanticism. The Wolcott is heritage, framed within a contemporary mid-Manhattan vibe.