The New York Hotel Roundup

Five recent newcomers

Tribeca Grand Hotel

Opened: May 2000
Four years ago the SoHo Grand struck gold by bringing spiffy lodgings to a trendy spot. Now its sibling does the same for TriBeCa. Hartz Mountain Industries' 203-room newcomer is fast catching on with musicians, models, and movie makers. Industrial-chic decorincludes a soaring, skylight-topped lobby and a "fireplace" of multi-colored glass panels backed by candles. Guest rooms feature Kiehl's toiletries, Frette linens, and Egyptian cotton towels; small neighboring buildings mean good light and views, even from lower floors.

What's hot:
Rooms loaded with Web TV, cordless keyboards, Bose Wave radio/CD players, fax/printer/copier/scanner. Baths with mini-TVs and waterproof remote control. The lobby's chic Church Lounge (Thursdays are best for people-watching).

What's not:
The facade is unimpressive and rooms are small. Some people may be put off by the hipper-than-thou attitude.

Rates $409-$1,050.

Address 2 Ave. of the Americas;B
212-519-6600; fax 212-519-6700.


Opened September 2000
For nearly a decade after the Chemists' Club left this landmark Beaux Arts building, it sat vacant, gathering dust. Now designer Jeffrey Beers (of New York's China Grill and Las Vegas' Mandalay Bay) has transformed it into a boutique hotel on Library Way (East 41st Street, near the New York Public Library). The look is lush, with jewel-toned velvet, suede, and silk. The restaurant Rx fills the former ballroom—a dramatic space with an enormous fireplace and a cozy balcony bar. Rooms have 11-foot ceilings and muted blue-and-white decor; some have balconies.

What's hot:
The Alchemy Suite. Designed in 1932, it replicates a medieval lab with vaulted ceilings, Gothic columns, and stained glass.

What's not:
Although rooms include reflective, light-enhancing materials, Midtown tends to be dark here (request a high floor).

Rates $435-$900.

Address 52 East 41st St.;
212-338-0500; fax 212-338-0569.

Hotel Sofitel

Opened July 2000
French hotel group Accor owns this new Midtown hotel, so there are pleasant Gallic touches such as Roger & Gallet bath amenities, Evian at turndown, and a charming shop stocked with French books and Madeline dolls (of the children's classic). The front desk is tucked away at the end of the Art Deco lobby, backed by a trompe l'oeil skyline. Most of the 398 rooms are decorated in cheerful shades of honey and cream, with splashes of red. Paneled bird's-eye maple headboards grace the beds.

What's hot:
Gaby, the hotel's brasserie, named after a French flapper who became an Henri Bendel lingerie model and Ziegfeld girl during the Roaring Twenties.

What's not:
The lobby has a more typical tourist-hotel feel than other newcomers.

Rates $249-$599.

Address 45 West 44th St.;
212-354-8844; fax 212-354-2480.

The Library

Opened August 2000
This hotel's location, where Madison Avenue crosses the newly christened Library Way (41st St.), inspired its unique theme: rooms numbered according to the Dewey Decimal System, from 300.006 (Law) to 1200.006 (Ancient Religion). Each includes appropriate books, videos, and art. A photo of Einstein presides over the Mathematics Room; the Grimm Brothers' works provide bedside reading in the Fairy Tale Room. The look is clubby, with $1 million of mahogany and muted beiges and browns. The 60-room Library is the Hotel Giraffe's sister, with similar touches such as glass bathroom doors and weeknight wine receptions.

What's hot:
The Erotic Literature room (800.001).

What's not:
Small, rather dark rooms (especially in the .001 line). Deserted location by night.

Rates $295-$375.

Address 299 Madison Ave.;
212-983-4500; fax 212-499-9099.

The Muse Hotel

Opened September 2000
Appropriately named after Greek mythology's guardians of fine arts, this 200-room Theater District newcomer is part of Preferred Hotels. Architect David Rockwell designed its American brasserie, District, with banks of spotlights and a stainless steel curtain. The emphasis is on personalized service, with a sit-down reception desk and prechilled ice buckets awaiting guests in rooms decked out with brightly colored duvets. Oversized marble baths are stocked with candles, potpourri, and Philosophy amenities. The 19 suites are equipped with exercise equipment and desktop computers.

What's hot:
A Midnight Pantry of complimentary cookies, fruit, cheese, and ice cream.

What's not:
Dark, narrow Junior Suites without a separate sitting room. Rooms on floor 15 have balconies that, given their proximity to nearby office buildings, don't offer much in the way of privacy.

Rates $375-$600.

Address 130 West 46th Street;
212-485-2400; fax 212-485-2900.

Things to Come

Here are four newcomers expected to open by year-end:

W Hotel New York-Union Square
The fourth of Starwood Hotels & Resorts' hip hostelries in Manhattan, this Rockwell-designed hotel will include 270 rooms with down comforters and pillows, terry-lined cotton-piqué robes, 24-hour concierge service at the touch of a button, and a branch of Boston restaurateur Todd English's popular Olives. (201 Park Avenue South; 877-946-8357.)

The Bryant Park
Former Ian Schrager partner Philip Pilevsky's new hotel will include 130 rooms with cashmere throws, down pillows and comforters, 24-hour butler service, and bedside privacy buttons that illuminate a light outside the door. Chef Rick Laakkonen, formerly of River Cafe, helms the restaurant Ilo. (40 West 40th Street; 212-642-2200.)

David Rockwell designed this 77-room hotel from Ira Drukier and Richard Born (creators of SoHo's Mercer Hotel) to evoke an artist's loft—spare, airy, and edgy. The lobby has walls displaying works by up-and-coming artists. Guest rooms merge industrial and plush, with glass desks supported by leather-wrapped sawhorses. (13 West 56th Street; 212-974-5656.)

60 Thompson
This 100-room SoHo newcomer promises such posh uptown-style amenities as Frette linens and robes, Dean & DeLuca-stocked pantries, and down duvets in a chic downtown locale. (60 Thompson Street; 877-431-0400). Much anticipated are the new eateries at both 60 Thompson and Chambers from the creators of the popular restaurants, Indochine and Bond Street.