New York City’s hotel scene is a mirror image of the city itself – ever innovating, always surprising, and offering a piece of the cake for everyone. The most recent hotel boom has brought fashionista “it” spots, reinvented business retreats, head-turning architectural stunners, and an edgy hotel-as-art-gallery. From Midtown to the High Line to the downtown financial district, these contenders offer a brave new world of options for Manhattan-bound travelers (we’ll save Brooklyn’s burgeoning hotel scene for another story), whether you want to schmooze with celebs, hang with the hipster crowd, or mingle with power brokers. And if you can’t commit to bedding down at one of these hotspots, don’t fret – each one has a dramatic rooftop space (like the one at the Hotel Americano, pictured above) for everyone to enjoy. See more of these sleek digs in our Hot New York City Hotels slideshow.
CONRAD NEW YORK
When it opened in March 2012 in a former Embassy Suites space, Conrad New York brought a fresh new concept of hotel-as-art-gallery to Battery Park City. Rising 16 floors along the Hudson River waterfront, the all-suite hotel quickly became the “it” spot for power brokers who want posh, but with an edge. Edgy it is the moment you walk into the soaring sunlit atrium and spot the blue and purple Sol LeWitt painting dramatically rising 13 floors above the reception desk. It is the contemporary art – no less than 2,000 selections throughout – that adds a splash of drama to the property, which touts original pieces by Elizabeth Peyton in the suites. Starting at 430 square feet, the 463 suites serve up space and style to spare, and include a full spectrum of tech perks – think two flat-panel televisions, one-touch technologies, and an iPod dock. Atrio, the signature restaurant, serves modern Mediterranean cuisine prepared in an open kitchen with a wood-stone oven.
ROOFTOP RETREAT: The hotel’s seasonal 16th-floor rooftop bar offers small plates, cocktails, and 180-degree views of the Statue of Liberty and the New York Harbor.
When The Nolitan opened its doors in August 2011, it was the first – and remains – the only boutique to grace the nabe of Nolita. Its signature low-key luxury appeals to the downtown hipster types who flock here from around the globe. With only 55 rooms, it is small enough to be able to offer perks like 1pm checkout – hurray for late-night parties! It’s unfussy yet upscale, stylish without being stuffy. Guestrooms come in different shapes and sizes, some with private balconies, others with floor-to-ceiling windows. The unfinished ceilings give rooms an industrial-chic look, while the hardwood oak floors add a warm touch. Bathrobes are silky, toiletries by Nolita’s own Red Flower, and slippers bright red. Techie trimmings include 37-inch HD flat-screen televisions, iPod enabled stereos by Vers and – always a great value add – free Wi-Fi. Complimentary continental breakfast is served in the lobby lounge with a dramatic double-height ceiling. The on-site restaurant is still in development; meanwhile, guests can order room service from more than 40 different restaurants in the area. The food gets billed to the room, picked up by the hotel’s in-house delivery person, and even plated.
ROOFTOP RETREAT: Escape from the city’s hustle and bustle with free rooftop yoga classes every Thursday in June from 7 to 8pm.
Near the High Line
Step inside the iconic 1960s Albert C. Ledner building that now houses Dream Downtown (opened June 2011) and, there, an instant dose of celeb cred. Behind its resplendent stainless steel façade, this gorgeously spruced-up property at the cusp of Chelsea and the Meatpacking showcases A-list-worthy facilities. Among those is the Beach pool area, which brings a touch of Côte d’Azur glamour to Manhattan, white sand, plush lounge chairs, and all. The 315 loft-inspired rooms are as sexy as the crowd, serving up a host of visual stimuli. The look and feel is gritty yet sleek, with a mix of the organic, like the warm teak wood of the honor bar, and the industrial-chic such as Ardex cement floors with a slight sheen. Furnishings are funky, in the finest sense – think butter-leather Chester love seats and oxblood Safari chairs. For wow vistas, book one of the rooms with Juliet balconies in the more coveted south tower, or nab a suite with a private pool deck patio. Don’t skip the juicy steaks at chic Marble Lane Restaurant, headed up by Top Chef alum Miguel Treviño.
ROOFTOP RETREAT: Dress to impress and you may just get past the notorious doorman at the 12th-floor PH-D Rooftop Lounge, Manhattan’s hot social hive with skyline vistas.
Mexico-based Grupo Habita’s first U.S. venture (opened September 2011) brought a sliver of sexy Latin flavor to Chelsea, making this chic crash pad by the High Line the hotspot for New York’s art and fashion elites. Decked out beautiful people pour into the ten-story glass structure encased in a metal mesh façade in order to see and be seen. The glass-encased elevator outside shuttles guests between the rooftop terrace and the ground-floor restaurant with a backyard patio. Fashion darlings and downtown artsy types bed down at Hotel Americano in the 56 Japanese ryokan-inspired rooms and studios, which are sleek and bare – with wooden platform beds, warm lighting, natural materials, and mid-century design classics. Offbeat in-room touches include soft-washed denim bathrobes, felt slippers, alpaca throw blankets, and oversized Turkish bath towels. The iPads in each room feature a concierge program, curated music, and a virtual gift shop. There’s free Wi-Fi throughout, bicycles for guest use, and 24-hour room service served in bento boxes.
ROOFTOP RETREAT: Fashionistas lounge by the 10th-floor outdoor rooftop terrace with a pool and cabanas and mingle in the bar over real-deal Mexican mezcal.
Together with the Ace Hotel just a block away, NoMad (opened April 2012) has created a fast-flourishing enclave of cool in the newly minted namesake neighborhood (short for North of Madison Square Park). The Beaux Arts building that houses NoMad has been restored to its 1903 grandeur, offering a fresh take on the classic grand hotels of Europe. In its opulent interiors done up by French designer Jacques Garcia, it achieves the often elusive blend of strong character and utmost comfort. Residential in feel, 168 rooms come with reclaimed maple hardwood floors, mahogany French writing desks, handmade vintage rugs, free-standing claw-foot tubs, and Argan toiletries by Côté Bastide. For all-out luxury, book the Suite Royale with a private terrace. But NoMad’s true forte is the food. Dine on seasonal American cuisine at the sun-lit Atrium with a pyramidal glass roof; next to the open hearth of the Dining Room; by the Fireplace imported from a French château; or in the two-level Library with a mezzanine catwalk. The 24-foot-long mahogany bar serves hand-crafted cocktails.
ROOFTOP RETREAT: Look out for the Rooftop, a restaurant slated to open summer 2012.
THE SANCTUARY HOTEL
Step inside the swank lobby of this hideaway just off Times Square, in Manhattan’s buzzy Theater District, and what appears is a lair of decadent luxury, accentuated with a warm palette of chocolate browns, deep oranges, and yellows. The 111 guestrooms of this boutique may scrimp on space but showcase much else to make up for it, such as exotic woods, quarried marble, leather headboards, crystal chandeliers, leather-printed wall tiles, and stylized fabrics. High-tech trimmings include iHome stereos with iPod docking station and HD flat-screen televisions. The feature that makes the stay worth every penny is S.T.A.R. (Service Tailored to Any Request), a one-of-a-kind concierge service catering to each guest’s smallest whims, say, taking a tour of Brooklyn art studios guided by a local artist. Other complimentary perks include daily membership to Equinox fitness club and continental breakfast served in the lobby bar.
ROOFTOP RETREAT: While you wait for Sanctuary’s new restaurant to open (scheduled for debut summer 2012), check out the new glass-enclosed HAVEN rooftop bar for drinks and light refreshments.