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Finding the Keys
Michael Carroll examines the literary history and enduring allure of Key West.
NUMBERS 301, 302, AND 303 These are $900-a-night duplex suites at the new outpost from enthusiastic first-time hotelier Jeff Klein (who once managed the Mansfield Hotel, just down the street from The City Club).
WHAT'S GREAT The first floor has a living room, powder room, and small terrace. An organically curved staircase leads to the mezzanine level, with bedroom and bathroom. Twenty-foot windows face the street, flooding both levels with natural light. For those traveling with family (or large security detail), all three duplexes can be joined.
WHAT'S NOT The midtown address is not exactly hip, and there's perhaps less square footage for the dollar than at other high-priced suites in New York.
DESIGN PEDIGREE The hotel's interiors were designed by Jeffery Bilhuber, who did David Bowie's apartment, among other homes. The suites are a minimalist's vision of an Old New York gentlemen's club: overstuffed armchairs in natural linen, hand-raked beige wallpaper, chocolate-marble bathrooms, coffee-brown Honduran-hardwood trim, and 20-foot-high mahogany bookcases. The ornate cornices are a vestige of the floor's former life as a ballroom.
THE SCENE The City Club is home to Daniel Boulud's DB Bistro Moderne, a potent power-lunch room (home to the famed $30 hamburger), and the hotel's room service comes from its kitchen. Yet this is not a place to see and be seen (there's no lobby bar). Klein rejects "red-rope syndrome," even as Ian Schrager's Royalton Hotel holds court across the street.
THE DETAILS Rooms are appointed with Frette linens, Hermès soaps, cashmere throws, CDs by the likes of Angie Stone, and Votivo candles scented with our favorite, red currant.
At 55 West 44th Street; 212-921-5500; www.cityclubhotel.com.
Hotel prices show high-season rates from the least expensive double to the most expensive suite.