For the most part, I’ve always been a very open-minded traveler when it comes to lodging. From tiny hostels to all-inclusive resorts, I’ve experienced a wide array of accommodations. As of late, however, I have developed a particular affinity for luxury boutique hotels.
During my last two trips to New York City, I stayed in two very different boutique hotels in two very different neighborhoods of Manhattan, each embodying its own unique charm. The first was the mod-styled Gansevoort Hotel in the Meatpacking District, which has a fascinating history behind its metamorphosis into the bustling, glamorous district it is today (read my post: Meatpacking District: Manhattan Glam). My most recent trip to NYC, however, led me to the elegant Gramercy Park Hotel, located in a very safe and quiet tree-lined neighborhood that has its own charming story to tell.
The Key to Gramercy Park
First, let’s take a look at the location. The Gramercy Park Historic District is special because in a world of continually transforming neighborhoods, this one has remained relatively unchanged; successfully retaining the antique charm it has had for years.
Within this district is Manhattan’s only private park, made solely available to paying residents and Gramercy Park Hotel guests. There are exactly 383 highly coveted keys floating around the city, offering restricted access beyond the curious wrought iron gates that shield the park from onlookers.
I wanted to know what all the hoopla was about, so my friend and I were escorted to the park to see what exactly makes it so distinctive. After entering, I tried not to panic as the gates were locked behind us and we were told to call the hotel once we were ready to leave. This was intense. But, for a noisy city that sees little foliage and tranquility, I quickly began to understand why the private park was so important to its residents. It provides a rare opportunity to actually hear yourself think in a peaceful, concealed setting. To own a key to Gramercy Park means you own a slice of quiet refuge that offers safety, greenery, and undisturbed stillness, all of which are considered privileges in The Big Apple. The price for that? Let’s just say these keys aren’t cheap. If you can spend millions to reside in the area, it’s no secret you can afford a key to Gramercy Park.
All About the Details
Falling in line with the theme of exclusivity, the ultra ritzy Gramercy Park Hotel has a way of making its guests feel special. One of the reasons I love luxury boutique hotels is because of their ability to offer what larger hotel chains often cannot – personalized service in an intimate atmosphere. Boutique hotels tend to have artistic characteristics that speak to my creative side, and the Gramercy Park Hotel was in no way lacking in the art department.
Everything about this hotel and its rooms exudes style and nothing was spared in design. From the moment you enter the building, with its extravagant chandelier looming above the elegantly decorated lobby, you know you are about to experience something unique. As an art-loving photographer and video editor, I had a special appreciation for being surrounded by artwork everywhere I walked, which included masterpieces from some of my favorite artists like Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat.
Although my stay was very brief, one night in this hotel was exactly what I needed before embarking on a grueling 24-hour flight to the other side of the world. I stayed in the Lexington Premier King room, which was impressively spacious for New York City. Where do I begin with the details? The color palette was strategically designed in Renaissance fashion; rich royal blue and deep red hues found all throughout its custom-made furniture, unique wall art, velvet drapery and bed coverings. It’s hard to decide what was my favorite piece of furnishing in the room. If I had to choose, it would be between the swanky light fixtures, the colorful embroidered chairs, and the comfortable king-sized bed with its imported Italian linens that put me into a deep slumber that night.
In addition to the décor, the service should also be noted. On top of being friendly and helpful, I noticed everyone there has a genuine sense of pride of where they work. Their confidence in the property gave me confidence that my stay at the hotel would be more than enjoyable. They have a way with making you feel like you’re experiencing something you can’t get anywhere else. Upon arriving, they inform you of your special access to their famous Rose Bar, yet another exclusive attraction unique to the area. Of course, we had to swing by that night to check the scene out. We didn’t stay all night, but just long enough to enjoy a tasty cocktail and spend some time people-watching. We received a few texts from friends who lived in New York City asking us how on earth we got into Rose Bar. Although seen by few, it had clearly developed a reputation that spread throughout the city, much like the hotel itself. It wasn’t long before even we began to question how we got a chance to be a part of what felt like a members-only club.
See the Details
Here are a few photos I took of the Lexington Premier King Room I stayed in during my visit: