Just because you live a half-hour from midtown Manhattan doesn’t mean you shouldn’t indulge in an overnight stay every once in a while; especially now, when, according to a recent New York Magazine article, “hotels have become a cultural force in the city again.” The New York Times recently jumped on the bandwagon with a roundup of six new boutique hotels (three of which are on this list), and a slew of new or renovated hotels are scheduled to open as this goes to press. Not everyone wishes to camp out in a den of debauchery or a high-concept hipster hangout, however, and so I’ve rounded up a diverse selection of brand-new or upgraded establishments; even a few where you’d be happy to stash the grandparents.
Be forewarned: as you are ushered into the renovated Surrey Hotel, you’ll be hit by a blast of old-fashioned friendliness and warmth the likes of which are rare these days—disorienting for those who might expect a pretentious or standoffish reception at one of the most luxurious hotels on the Upper East Side. Everyone you encounter, from the doorman to the general manager, carries a sense of ownership and pride, and, yes, there is much to be proud of.
Ranked No. 7 out of 428 New York City hotels by TripAdvisor, a nearly $60 million renovation of this 1926 Beaux Arts building has cast it in the aesthetic of a gentler era combined with elements of whimsy. With a lobby enhanced by a stunning floor mosaic in varying shades of gray and white, glass and chrome tables, and tufted chairs, it’s Cole Porter's Roaring ’20s—until you spy the wall-sized black-and-white tapestry of Kate Moss by Chuck Close. Next to it, a silver-tinged armoire festooned with a graffiti-scrawled poem (written by a staff member’s grandmother) holds jewelry.
The ’20s chic, contemporary graffiti mash-up continues in Bar Pleiades, a dark speakeasy whose décor is inspired by a Coco Chanel compact. Guest salons (the smallest, a very ample 350 square feet) featuring DUXIANA beds, Sferra Linens, and Pratesi robes are done up in Art Deco mirrors, silvers, creams, and fox-fur grays. On the west side of the building, you can gaze from a long window seat (covered with a cushion stitched with phrases like, “Through these windows lies the soul of the city across Madison and down 5th Ave.”) onto Central Park then order up the perfect cocktail created by your own personal bartender who will arrive with a bar cart and use the full fifths of rum, whiskey, gin, and vodka already set on your mirrored sideboard. If the weather is nice, take the elevator to the “guest-only” roof-deck bar with views so singularly Manhattan, it makes even jaded New Yorkers feel as if they are in a movie.
Rooms and suites: from $629 - $10,000
Andaz Wall Street
Yes, there is life after dark in the Financial District. Just ask anyone who has stayed at the idiosyncratic and posh masterpiece of service that is the Andaz Wall Street. Walk through the door of this retooled JPMorgan building, and you’ll be fawned over by Adam or Stephanie or one of several dressed-in-Theory “hosts” who, in any other hotel, would be behind a reception desk waiting for you to come to them. Here, Adam, laptop in hand, sits beside you on a woven copper-hued settee in the David Rockwell-designed lobby (outfitted with professional Tom Chandley baking ovens, generating warm goodies round-the-clock), offers you water, coffee, or wine (all complimentary), and checks you in. Then he hands you his card with his private number imploring you to call or text if you “need anything.” The personal touch does not end there. Adam accompanies you to your high-tech, spacious (345+ square feet), soundproof, loft-like room and points out the Voss water, Terra chips, and other goodies. Peer out the seven-foot windows onto the canyons of commerce or turn inward and enjoy your 42-inch, flat-screen TV. You can have a party under the rain-showerhead in the black marbled bathroom, or, if you’re so inclined, sink into a warm tub separated from the bedroom by a wall of glass. Downstairs, the open kitchen at the hit farm-to-table restaurant, Wall & Water, fizzes with energy, as does the hopping Bar ....