Who Needs a Bartender (or a Chef)? These Three NYC Hotels Put You to Work (In a Good Way)

Don’t tip the Yotel robot

That much-discussed Yobot robotic arm that grabs and stores your luggage at the soon-to-open Yotel Times Square got us thinking about other nifty labor saving devices – as in the saving of the hotel staff’s labor – around town.

We visited three hotels with clever do-it-yourself amenities, read the instructions and pushed the appropriate buttons. How did we fare?

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Gleeked: Celebrating the Season Finale of “Glee” at The Intercontinental New York Times Square

Talk about savvy product placement.

One of the first sights on screen during the much balleyhooed season finale of “Glee” this week was the lobby of the Intercontinental New York Times Square, the 36-story glass skyscraper that opened last July. Read more

Five Great Decorating Ideas You Can Steal from the 2011 Kips Bay Decorator Show House

We like decorator show houses for many of the same reasons we like hotels. The best show house rooms are fantasy rooms, a designer’s vision for an imaginary occupant. When a designer gets it right, you’re transported to another world where you can try on a different life, albeit fleetingly, just as you do in an evocative hotel room. Read more

Food Delivered Fresh From a Vermont Farm to Your Room at Element Times Square West

Back to the land isn’t a phrase that leaps to mind when I think of New York, especially anything having to do with Times Square. Read more

The Finish Line’s in Sight for the Grand Hyatt New York’s Big Renovation

We’ve followed the Grand Hyatt’s three-year march into the 21st century since it began, and after what we saw on a recent visit it’s official – the glass and metal behemoth nudging Grand Central Station is edging closer to the finish line, shedding the last vestiges of shoulder pads, Dynasty and other creaky 80s trappings. Read more

Where Dominique Strauss-Kahn Stayed: The Sofitel New York Gets its Close up

Publicity is catnip to hotels. Still, I can’t imagine the Sofitel New York is thrilled with the reason it’s suddenly the most talked about hotel in town. Read more

Sipping a Pink Ginger Cosmo at the Mandarin Oriental

A Cosmo? In 2011?

I’m in the Lobby Lounge on the 35th floor at the Mandarin Oriental. The city sprawls below on a gorgeous spring night. Read more

Three NYC Hotel Designers Discuss Their (Gorgeous) Handiwork at the Museum of the City of New York

The Mondrian SoHo, Café Carlyle at the Carlyle Hotel and the Standard Hotel New York are stylish, newly minted places.  Last night, the architect behind the Standard, the designer of the Mondrian and the decorator who refurbished Café Carlyle talked about their work at the Museum of the City of New York Here are five cool facts I learned about each property. Read more

Scones, Sandwiches and Lapsang Souchong: Afternoon Teas Worth Taking at NYC Hotels

High tea and texting don’t mix. That, at least, is how I felt on a recent weekday afternoon as I sipped Lapsang Souchong and nibbled miniature sandwiches in the Gotham Lounge at The Peninsula hotel.

Afternoon tea at a hotel is something of an anachronism, a last link to a “What is the weekend?” world. It’s the anti-fast food, offering a civilized setting for a business meeting, a cozy chat or a vacation from the 21st-century for an hour or two.

Its charms depend on getting the mix of old and new just right, a balancing act that’s oddly tricky. Too much tradition and high tea feels fusty.  Not enough and it’s not High Tea. Read more