Why You Should Find Out If Your Hotel Is Near a Construction Site Before You Book

What happens when you check into a hotel that’s next to a construction site?

I thought about this when I walked by the Franklin Hotel, an Upper East Side boutique, on a recent spring day. I hadn’t been by the hotel in a while and was astounded by what I saw. A futuristic 19-story glass-front apartment building was going up next door and at first glance I thought it had gobbled up the hotel. Read more

Up for Auction, 52 Hotel Chelsea Doors Opened by the Likes of Bob Dylan, Mark Twain and Janis Joplin

At the stroke of midnight on July 31, 2011, the Hotel Chelsea, the outrageous, art-filled property that checked in legendary guests like Tennessee Williams, Bob Dylan, Andy Warhol and Madonna, closed its doors for a renovation that was supposed to last one year, an estimate that proved wildly optimistic. Nearly seven years on, the 1885 Queen Anne brick pile remains closed and under construction for its latest transformation — into a luxury hotel with condos, the default for fabled landmarks from the Plaza to the Waldorf Astoria. Read more

The Time Hotel Gets A Chic New Look

My first thought upon seeing the freshly renovated Time Hotel was what did the architects think when they saw what they’d be working with? With oddly shaped public spaces, ho-hum views and guest rooms that can be politely described as compact (the smallest are a mere 180 square feet), this modest 193-room hotel built in 1927 could either stymie its renovators or inspire them to be really creative. Read more

Still Regal: A Chic New Look For San Francisco’s Grand Old Palace Hotel

America’s 29th president, more infamous than illustrious, made news unexpectedly last week with the freshly unearthed (but hardly surprising) revelations that a) he fathered a child with his long-time mistress and b) he was not the country’s first black president (thank you, ancestry.com).

As it happened, I was in San Francisco, so I stopped by the Palace Hotel, where Warren G. Harding died unexpectedly almost 92 years to the day on August 2, 1923 of an apparent heart attack. (The exact cause of death remains unknown as his wife, said to be reading him a flattering newspaper article when he keeled over, vetoed an autopsy; perhaps she knew about Harding’s 26-year-old paramour all along.) Read more

The Gregory Hotel Checks In With Garment District Details and a Stylish Past

The Gregory, the Garment District’s newest hotel, boasts a book-lined lobby with sky-high ceilings, an inviting bar that does daytime duty as a coffee bar and 132 black and white guest rooms.But its most winning asset is the glamorous history embedded in its freshly painted bones. Read more

Renaissance Murals on the Ceiling: The Sherry-Netherland Lobby Gets a New Old Look

If you last visited the Sherry-Netherland hotel two or three decades ago – or even early last year – expect a jaw-drop moment when you next enter the lobby.

For nearly 40 years, the lobby ceiling – a parade of graceful arches stretching what seems a mile high – was white. Generations passing through assumed it was always so.But history buffs, Art Deco enthusiasts and Sherry aficionados with long memories (and even longer lives) know otherwise. Read more

Freshening Up Affinia 50: A Mid-Century Hotel Goes Mid-Century Mod

Midtown Manhattan isn’t known for its residential ambience. So cheers to Affinia 50, fresh from a $19 million renovation, for offering a taste of apartment living this side of Airbnb.

To be fair, hominess is in the Affinia’s DNA. The 250-room building started out in 1959 as a residential hotel. There’s no restaurant, but two enormous lounges eat up the second floor. And all 100 suites, from studios to one-bedrooms, come with kitchenettes. Read more

Like “The Lego Movie” — and Legos? Check Out the Lego Wall at Yotel Times Square

Renovations of public areas are as awkward for hotels as their guests. The noise. The inconvenience. The mess.

So rock on Yotel Times Square for hiding the construction of its new lounge with a crowd-sourced Lego Wall stretching across the fourth floor as you exit the elevators.

The DIY wailing wall lets visitors get clever with Legos, building whatever images they want, the ultimate in house-condoned graffiti. Read more

Who’s Afraid of the Dark? Not These Chic New York Hotel Hallways

A bright room number against a dark wall

A bright room number against a dark wall

Hotel hallways are a scene setter, a visual amuse-bouche before you dig into your room. You rarely notice them unless they’re battered or dingy or film noir scary. Usually they’re white or beige, some variant of pale.

But we’re seeing a darkening trend, walls bathed in gray, charcoal or to cut to the chase, black. The Refinery Hotel and NYLO New York are two less-than-a-year-old New York boutique hotels with dark halls. (The 11-year-old Maritime was an early adopter, sporting midnight navy halls as was the Royalton with deep gray.) Read more

Tuscany Meets Audrey Hepburn: A First Look at the Refurbished Tuscany New York Hotel

Be seated.

Be seated.

When a hotel closes its doors to renovate, you expect to see something dramatic on the other end. So what went on during the year that the St Giles Tuscany New York was shuttered?

Lots, but a bit of background before we proceed. Read more