big apple BOUNTY

November 23, 2012

Aston Martin Magazine

New York City’s roster of new boutique and designer hotels are the talk of the town, reports Farhad Heydari, injecting new life into the Manhattan scene. Could we be experiencing a throwback to the Roaring Twenties, when the culture of the whole city revolved around its hotels? For now it seems, the skyscraper’s the limit.

Like Venice, Amsterdam or Hong Kong, Manhattan has a problem. A big one. It’s called real estate – and the lack of it has elicited some of the highest property prices in the world, forcing residents into the outer boroughs (or further) and companies to set up bases at suburban office parks in Connecticut and elsewhere. And yet, this heaving metropolis, practically bursting at the seams – or river’s edge, to be more precise – has somehow managed to shoehorn more than 40 new hotels onto its crammed and chaotic streets over the course of the last year.

It’s quite remarkable, but hardly a surprise. With occupancy rates at an envy-inducing 85 per cent, competition for rooms (especially among au fait corporate buyers) has always been cut-throat, which is why the latest clutch of hotels are welcome addition to the cityscape. But because physical space is at a premium, many hoteliers have been forced into setting up shop in the fringes of well-trodden areas like SoHo as well in the heart of familiar (but hardly luxe) locales like the Theatre District.

Not that guests will be complaining. Their collective entrée has forced some long-established brands to up their game, others to embark on wholesale renovation projects and others to rethink their strategies altogether. In the words of New York University’s Bjorn Hanson, America’s biggest city is now the ‘world capital of unusual boutique hotels’ and any way you look at it, that’s a good thing for both visitors and residents alike.


The brainchild of Enrique Norten of TEN Arquitectos, this towering obelisk in the hart of midtown boasts 166 chic rooms with leather-studded headboards, buttery furnishings, Frette linens and amenities by Angelo Caroli. And, starting this summer, an American-style brasserie courtesy of Laurent Tourondel, a noted local restaurateur famous for his faultless burgers.

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