I knew the Luxe Life Hotel looked familiar the moment I saw the gilded cupid perched beneath the word LIFE (also gilded) over the front door. I reviewed the property for The New York Times in 1991 when it was the Herald Square Hotel, a two-star budget hotel housed inexplicably in the Beaux Arts brick-and-limestone building once occupied by Life magazine. For $65 a night, you got a clean room, easy access to Macy’s and not much else. Read more
If you, like me, were saddened to learn about the demolition of the iconic Main Building of the Hotel Okura in 2015, there’s intriguing news. Tokyo’s Ashai Shimbun reports that the building’s midcentury lobby, widely hailed as a masterpiece of Japanese modernist architecture, is to be faithfully reproduced in the towering new Okura hotel that’s scheduled to open in the fall of 2019, just in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Read more
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Overnight New York is the independent guide to New York City hotels with honest, unbiased reporting and no ties to the hotels we write about. We visit each hotel anonymously and always pay when we eat and stay. Think of Overnight New York as a best friend who susses out where you want to spend the night — and where you don’t — and tells you what’s new, what’s trending and where to meet for drinks after work, indulge in a romantic dinner or put up the in-laws.