By Terry Trucco
At a glance: After a dozen years as a Kimpton property, Iberostar, the Mallorca-based chain with properties throughout Spain and Latin America, took over 70 Park Avenue in 2016, tweaking the property and elongating its name. The nightly Kimpton wine hour is history as are the breakfast room and the free Simon & Schuster books you could download. But you’ll see a more international crowd. And the hotel, renovated smartly in 2011, looks much as it did as a Kimpton.
I like hotels that reflect the style and spirit of their surroundings, and Iberostar 70 Park Avenue is so in tune with the ‘hood it’s named for its address.
The look is transitional – design-speak for the middle ground between stuffy traditional and edgy modern. In other words, comfortably chic but less-than-informal as you’d expect on Park Avenue, even if this portion is below 42nd Street and more commercial than Park Avenue North.
For a midtown hotel in the thick of things – Grand Central Station and the Empire State Building are a short walk away – the hotel exudes the homey feel of an apartment building (albeit one with really tiny rooms).
Though it looks a bit dated, I like the silvery taupe lobby. Lighted by sculpted silver-leaf floor lamps and visually warmed by a glass-fronted limestone fireplace, the surprisingly generous sitting area exudes a romantic retro-film quality. With a sleek velvet banquette adorned with textured pillows, plenteous club chairs and even a divan, you can chill after a day’s adventures and sip a complimentary water.
And with the smallest rooms starting at a low-season rate of $180 (taxes included), Iberostar 70 Park Avenue can be a good deal.
Rooms: In tune with the contemporary-but-classic lobby, which debuted in 2010, the hotel unveiled renovated rooms in the same style in 2011.
Full- and queen-bed rooms are extremely small (from 225 square feet) but nicely turned out with white walls, chocolate brown accent walls, ample mirrors, flat-panel TVs mounted on a wall and white Venetian blinds (upper-floor rooms overlooking 38th Street get plenty of light). I like the colors — brown and white with violet accents, white and mirrored furniture — and the carpeting patterned with swirls. Bathrooms are small but freshly tiled (love the celadon glass bricks) with tub/shower combos.
King-bed rooms are almost roomy by New York standards — big enough for a large wood desk, a stylish cocoa wing chair with white piping, silver side tables and two people. Bathrooms are teeny (the one we saw had a sliding door fronted with a full-length mirror), but a mirrored wall helps keep claustrophobia at bay.
Ask for a front room with a view of the Chrysler building.
Food and Drink: Not much now that Silver Tavern, the hotel breakfast room and bar, is gone. But restaurants and bars abound in the neighborhood including Park Avenue Tavern, Salvation Taco at the nearby Pod 39 hotel and a branch of Sarabeth’s farther south. You won’t starve.
Amenities: Pets allowed ($30 a day). The compact fitness center is open 24 hours. Free WiFi.
Surroundings: Quiet — and deserted at night. The area south of 42nd Street is a motley mix of office buildings, furniture stores and apartment buildings. Grand Central Station, the New York Public Library, Times Square and the theater district and the Empire State Building are nearby, and the hotel’s location near Grand Central Station makes access to Midtown, Uptown and Downtown easy. Appealing restaurants are a short walk away. So are the subway station and bus stops.
Back story: The hotel was built in 1929 and thrived for years as the Doral Park Avenue, part of the now-defunct Doral chain of mid-price Manhattan hotels. (The neighboring St Giles Court and St Giles Tuscany on East 39th Street occupy other former Dorals.) Following a major retrofit, 70 Park Avenue opened in 2004 as Kimpton’s first New York City foray. Kimpton, it appears, is watching its property closely. 70 Park’s original creamy vanilla lobby, though attractive, looked tired when I visited in fall 2009. But by 2011 that look was history. In a short-lived deal with Simon & Schuster’s Atria Books, the hotel let guests download free e-books of New York Times bestsellers. In 2016 Kimpton departed and 70 Park Avenue is now part of Iberostar, a chain of hotels mainly in Spain and North America. Tennis fans have no doubt noted the white Iberostar cap Rafael Nadal’s Uncle Toni Nadal often sports.
Keep in mind: Rooms on low floors can be dark. There’s a charge to store bags after check-out.