The Lexington Hotel, located in the heart of midtown Manhattan, is a New York City classic. Built in 1929, it was once home to Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio during their brief marriage, and radio personality Arthur Godfrey used to broadcast his show live from the hotel’s Hawaiian Room. Playing on this entertainment history, the hotel was recently refreshed and now includes a series of themed suites that pay tribute to its famous clientele, as well as other glamorous denizens of the city’s past. We recently stayed in the Hawaiian Room, inspired by the former entertainment venue of the same name. Here’s what we saw.
Budget Level: Upscale ($150-$300/night)
Lodging Type: Large Hotel (700+ rooms)
What You Need to Know
The recent refurbishment pays homage to a few different eras of the hotel’s past: the 1920s when it was built, the 1930s when it saw its entertainment heyday, and the 1950s when Marilyn and Joe settled into suite 1806. All of this is anchored by a contemporary sensibility that grounds the design in the present. Suite 1806 is now the Norma Jeane Suite, which is done in sleek, contemporary black and white with splashes of pink and red — plus the occasional piece of baseball memorabilia. Our suite, the Hawaiian Room, had fun, tropical accents (palm wall paper, tiki-style barware, a citrusy color palate) but didn’t feel kitschy or over-the-top. There are also suites that pay homage to Ella Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and Arthur Godfrey. Throughout your stay, keep an eye out for the building’s beautifully restored original details, including the gleaming gold elevator doors, which have a songbird motif. The wallpaper inside was newly designed by Ruben Toledo.
Travelers of every stripe come through the doors of this property, from European families, to older Americans on group tours, to millennials celebrating birthdays and bachelorette weekends. In the evenings (especially on weekends), live jazz keeps the mood in the lobby feeling upbeat.
Who Will Love It
In a city that prides itself on reinvention and, to some degree, the obliteration of its past, it’s uncommon to see a hotel that’s embracing its history the way The Lexington is. If you love the jazz age, old Hollywood glamour, and vintage-inspired design, you’ll get a kick out of the preservation efforts here — as well as the commitment to keeping things feeling new and fresh at the same time.
Who Might Not
This hotel is located in a part of Lexington Avenue that’s perfect for accessing all of New York’s best sightseeing, but it’s also chock-a-block with hotels. If you want to feel like you’re mingling with locals and living like a real New Yorker, this isn’t the neighborhood for you.
Many of the suites (and not just the themed suites) have terraces that not only let you look out over New York City’s glass-and-concrete skyline, but also give you an up-close view of The Lexington’s own architectural detail.
Wifi and coffee (courtesy of your in-room Keurig machine) are included.
Fees and Extra Costs You Should Know About
A $25 daily "destination fee" includes a $30 valet laundry credit, as well as a $20 beverage credit. Be sure to actually use these in order to maximize the value of your stay.
How to Get a Deal
Stay during Manhattan’s slowest season, in January through early March, when rooms at this property start at a truly exciting $99 per night. Spring brings shoulder season pricing of about $200 to $250 per night, and prime summer rates can go as high as $500 per night. The themed suites sell out quickly (there’s only one of each) and start at $1,200 per night, so you’ll likely have to book well in advance to secure one of these. For excellent value in low season, look for deals on the non-specialty suites, which can fall below $400 per night. The Lexington is member of Marriott’s Autograph Collection, so you can reserve rooms using your points.
In the Neighborhood
The Lexington is located at 47th Street and Lexington Avenue in midtown Manhattan, east of Times Square. To walk from one to the other will take you about 15 minutes. The hotel is just a four-minute walk to Grand Central Terminal, and a nine-minute walk to Bryant Park, which is perfect for lounging and people-watching on a warm day, and where you can ice skate in the winter. The park is bookended on one side by the New York Public Library, with its famous stone lion guardians.
Plan for about a one-hour transfer between the hotel and any of New York City’s major airports using public transportation. A taxi or ride share will take longer and cost a lot more (think $15-$20 for a combined subway and train ticket vs. $80 for a car including tip) but spares you the hassle of lugging a suitcase through the city’s (occasionally) unreliable subway system.