New York City (NYC) is not just a great place for leisure with iconic attractions like Grand Central Terminal, shopping at Macy's, crowd-drawing events like New York Botanical Garden Orchid Show and secret places to visit. It is home to some exceptional hotels that are more than places to snooze after a long day of touring the city. They are themselves destinations where guests can experience elevated levels of comfort and design including rooftop pools, rare works of art and pampering products. Here are 9 hotels in NYC that make it to the Design Collection, where customer delights are in the exterior and interior details.
355 W. 16th St., 212-229-2559, Chelsea, Manhattan
This Vikram Chatwal Hotel situated on the border of the Chelsea neighborhood and Meatpacking District brings modern chic and elegance together into 17,000 square metres of the former home of National Maritime Union.
A multi-million dollar renovation of this iconic 12-storey Albert Ledner building introduced eye-catching design features like 200 hand blown glass globes that float through the lobby, a glass bottom pool and landscaped outdoor beach club in the centre of the building, house loft inspired guestrooms and suites with pothole windows, and a glass enclosed roof-top lounge and terrace with dramatic views of the NYC skyline.
Artwork from local artists decorate the hotel and curves are celebrated through the round fur-lined ottomans, circular-patterned upholstery and spherical lighting. Cherry restaurant offers Japanese-French-fusion cuisine while the Marble Lane steakhouse and bar in the lobby brings an international menu and innovative cocktail programme to dining in the hotel.
In addition to the unmistakeable modernist facade of porthole windows and imaginative interior design, Dream Downtown offers guests the promise of full service luxury in NYC. For more information, visit the Dream Downtown website.
The first luxury hotel in Manhattan's Meatpacking District, the Gansevoort Meatpacking NYC continues to attract the well heeled, artists and musicians with its distinctive architecture and interiors. Zinc-coloured mental panels and glass balconies hide an excessive hipness of the 1960s and 70s, vintage artworks and a rooftop heated pool with underwater music and romantic views of sunset over the Hudson.
This chic boutique hotel is "life imitating art imitating life" with artwork and photos inspired by the bygone disco nights of Studio 54 as centrepieces of the guestrooms and corridors. Fashionistas will enjoy the vintage Halston pieces from the 1960s and 1970s featured in all the photos.
A vibrant palette of fuchsia, plum, magenta, gold and champagne throughout the property create a party atmosphere. This energy extends to the modern Asian-fusion restaurant, Toy Oyster & Sushi Bar, where aerial contortionists and theatrical lighting intermingle with changing porcelain-like wall graphics. Floor-to-ceiling windows in guest rooms offer incredible views of the Meatpacking District and beyond. For more information, check out the Gansevoort Meatpacking NYC Hotel website.
15 W. 56th St., 212-974-5656, Midtown West, Manhattan
Just a few blocks from New York's Museum of Modern Art is a private museum, but of the hotel kind. A rare breed in Manhattan's hospitality scene, the Chambers Hotel contains more than 500 pieces of museum-worthy collection from one of the owners, transplanting NYC's downtown art scene to Midtown.
Photo by Chambers Hotel
The art theme permeates throughout the interiors designed by David Rockwell. The lobby features art-inspired furniture and installations by Jim Zivic, Kiki Seror and Mie Yim. A glass elevator opens up to works of art by different New York artists such as John Waters and Roberta Smith on every floor. The hotel's original artworks are also featured in each of the 77 guestrooms, designed to look and feel like an artist's loft with bulletin boards and architect desks. Expect no less than 4 pieces of artworks by the likes of Harold Nolan, Tara Donovan and Sheri Mendelson to complement the extensive collection of indie and art-house flicks for free in-room viewings. Celebrity chef David Chang adds his artistic touch with French-Vietnamese cuisine in his Má Pêche restaurant.
While the hotel is small in scale with up to 6 guestrooms per floor, the loft-style accommodations are spacious by NYC standards. It's central location is another boon for guests who don't need to walk very far to access Central Park, Carnegie Hall, Madison or Fifth. To immerse yourself in art while visiting NYC, check out the Chambers Hotel website.
6 Columbus by Thompson Hotel brings fashion and art together in interiors evocative of a modernist-inspired 1960s design with the works of fashion photographer Guy Bourdain (of Vogue and Harper's Bazaar fame). This theme sets the tone throughout the property including the 88 guestrooms and suites originally designed by interior designer Steven Scarloff. The trendy lobby features cowhide-covered walls and leather banquettes and guest rooms offer mod furnishings, luxurious down comforters and 400-count sheets. The hotel's fashionable look extends to staff uniforms as well as the chic urban rooftop bar, operated by the renowned Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill.
Above 6 is one of the hottest urban bars in Midtown Manhattan, offering iconic views of Columbus Circle and its surrounding area. Guests can enjoy a drink in this rooftop hideaway no matter what the weather thanks to the retractable roof.
A stone throw away from one of Central Park's prettiest entrances, shopping and dining at Time Warner Center and the arts at the Lincoln Center, 6 Columbus is fashionably seductive home-away-from-home when visiting NYC. To feel like a guest of Don Draper's at this contemporary yet 1960s-jet-set-inspired hotel, visit the official website.
The none-too-spectacular exterior hides the essence of a traditional gentleman's club that's far hipper than the average Wall Street hotel. A multi-million dollar renovation by the Thompson group has transformed the former Holiday Inn into a stylish boutique hotel.
Shaped by design-guru Jim Walrod, Gild Hall oozes the masculinity and refinement of an old-world British gentleman but with a contemporary American edge. This strong design theme is evident throughout the hotel, from the over-sized leather headboards with belt-like detailing and custom-designed black wooden furniture in the guest rooms to the antler-shaped chrome chandelier and barrister bookcases that line the walls of the 2-level lobby bar.
A rarity in New York are the 12-foot ceilings and sex toys in the 126 guestrooms. They might just make the Gild Hall the premier choice for after-dark action in the Financial District. For more information on this Thompson hotel, visit the hotel's website.
This 17-story concrete-and-glass hotel turns heads in the creative neighbourhood of SoHo with its commitment to the arts. Guests are taken on a journey of art from lobby to room with Lindsey Adelman's luminous bubble chandeliers, Sarah Frost's abstract QWERTY art made of used keyboard keys, John-Paul Philippé's Art Nouveau–style numbering marking each room and bathroom privacy shades designed by award-winning artist Nienke Sybrandy from the Netherlands.
Beyond the art-covered walls is an urban working chef's garden used by the David Burke Kitchen which serves a tasty blend of rustic and refined cuisine. The rooftop pub, Jimmy, offers house specialty cocktails infused with fresh-from-the-chef's-garden herbs and panoramic views of the Manhattan skyline.
With easy access to shopping malls like NYC Mini Mall and Manhattan Mall and key attractions including the Guggenheim Museum, New York city Fire Museum, Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art and Children's Museum of the Arts, The James New York is aptly located for a leisurely stay. If you're tired of walking, there's a ride from the hotel's Lexus Hybrid anywhere between 14th Street and Wall Street. For more information check out the hotel's website.
Managed by Kimpton Hotels (well known for its friendly ethos, flamboyant decor and niceties), this 292-room luxury hotel encased in a 54-storey glass tower is all about tying a little bow around everything. The property sets out to delight guests, from the refined design to personable service.
The interior is an anthology of small details that spark the curiosity of guests and provide a sense of theatre. A red curtain behind the walnut front desk hides a 1900 painting entitled "Autumn" by Thomas Benjamin Kenington, metal-wrapped concrete columns peeled open to reveal fossilized plant life and coffee mornings and wine afternoons take place in the eclectic surrounds of the lobby. The generous detailing continues into the guestrooms like a well-tailored men's suit.
Guests can also enjoy doses of luxury through the personal services. The company's "Guppie Love" programme offers lonely guest to loan of a goldfish. If you're looking forward to whet your appetite for great design and service, visit the Eventi website.
W New York - Downtown
123 Washington St., 646-826-8600, Financial District, Manhattan
The revitalisation of NYC's Financial District has been enhanced by a 57-storey tower of signature comforts and upscale urban luxury in the form of W New York - Downtown. The building is also home to the Residences at W New York - Downtown for guests who decide to make their stay more permanent. It is the first luxury hotel and residential tower to be built in Lower Manhattan since 9/11.
The tower is differentiated from its neighbours by its white,grey and clear glass curtain facade. Inside, a spectacular colour-shifting installation of some 1,260 glass teardrop lights by UK light sculptor Bruce Munro, creates a glittering spectacle. The rippling lights extends to the Living Room bar and lounge with a sprawling terrace looking out to the skyscrapers of the Financial District.
Rooms are designed with built-in window seats offering views of the 9/11 memorial site, the water and the city beyond.
The W New York - Downtown is a block from the site of the Freedom Tower, a stone's throw to the New York Stock Exchange, Federal Reserve Bank of New York and Vietnam Veterans Plaza within walking distance of the Grand Central Terminal, Times Square, Rockefeller Center, the Theater District and shopping. For more information on this hip haven in the concrete cacophony of Manhattan, visit the W New York - Downtown website.
Dream New York
210 W. 55th St., 212-247-2000, Midtown West, Manhattan
Vikram Chatwal Hotels' trademark combination of cosmopolitan glamour, dreamscape design and top service is played out in this Midtown Manhattan luxury property. Housed in a landmark 1895 Beaux-Arts building, the celebrated New York hotelier's Dream New York offers an escape from the ordinary with its surreal luxury.
The results of a UDS30 million redesign include feather beds in rooms, a penthouse and rooftop lounge with views of Times Square, a 2-story saltwater aquarium that stretches from the lobby floor to the lower level and a sculpture of Neptune and the Madonna and baby flanking Russia's Catherine the Great. The adjoining Serafina Broadway restaurant by F&B bigwigs Vittorio Assaf and Fabio Granato offers casual Northern Italian dining is a classic Fellini films-inspired space.