W New York Downtown opens on Wall Street

Downtown New York has been slowly building up its reputation for years, but 2010 seems to be the year of openings. In June we showed you the exclusive images of the first hotel to be open in the Wall Street area with views of Ground Zero, and now more planned hotels are finally opening their doors to travelers in an effort to help rebuild the downtown New York area.

The W New York Downtown – the newest W Hotel in Starwood’s collection – finally opened the doors to the Downtown and The Residences at W New York, offering another hotel options for business travelers and leisure guests looking for a place to stay in the downtown Manhattan area. The hotel is located in New York City’s Financial District on the corner of Washington and Albany Streets.

The 58-floor, 217 guest room and 223 W-branded residences is placed perfectly to give guests city views of the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Hudson River and Battery Park. The hotel will offer the Living Room Bar & Terrace on the fifth floor with floor-to-ceiling window views of New York City, featuring specialty cocktails from resident mixologist Charlotte Voisey and light bites provided by BLT Bar & Grill, the hotel’s signature restaurant. The second floor dining room features a larger menu of fresh salads, grilled meats, market-driven pastas, pizzas, sandwiches and the signature sides and desserts.

The W New York Downtown will offer the same guest amenities typical in W hotels – W signature feather-top mattresses, 350 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets, goose down comforters and pillows, state-of-the-art in-room entertainment and a fully stocked Munchie Box (the W brand’s take on the hotel mini bar).

Royalton to offer iPads in all guest rooms

The latest hotel to jump on the iPad craze is straight out of NYC and prepping its iPads for Fashion Week. The Royalton, a member of the Morgans Hotel Group, will launch a new virtual concierge program via iPads, which will be available in all guest rooms at the hotel.

These iPads will host content from “The List” destination guide, curated by the Morgans Hotel’s concierge teams in collaboration with UrbanDaddy, and also give customers access to playlists created by the hotel, content relating to Fashion Week, the Armory Show and other current, New York events. Mobile applications and services will also be included.

Like the other hotels that offer iPads, we love the hotel-specific angles that are available on the iPads and the Royalton didn’t disappoint: guests will be able to browse and order room-service, communicate with the concierge for tickets to events, check flight details or arrange a car service.

The iPads will be in rooms in time for New York Fashion Week in September, with exclusive features that will appeal to Royalton’s fashion savvy clientele.

The InterContinental Times Square to open July 12

Times Square’s newest hotel is set to open its doors on July 12. The InterContinental New York Times Square will offer 607 guestrooms overlooking the Manhattan skyline, Hudson River or Broadway district.

The InterContinental New York Times Square was designed to capture the essence of chic Manhattan residence, complete with floor-to-ceiling windows, oversized bathrooms with walk-in rain showers, a work station complete with touch screen computers, a 42″ HDTV and wired and wireless Internet. A 24 hour business center and fitness facility offer convenience and comfort. The hotel is located at 44th Street and 8th Avenue, two blocks from Radio City Music Hall and within steps from some of Broadways best theaters.

The InterContinental New York Times Square will also open the French inspired bistro Ça Va, created by celebrity chef Todd English. The restaurant and bar overlooks Broadway, giving patrons a stellar view while dining and drinking.

For those wanting to try out the new digs, The Intercontinental Times Square has introduced a special grand opening offer of 25 percent off the best available rate for stays from July 12 – September 8, 2010. Act fast: this promo is only good if you book by June 15, 2010.

The Benjamin Hotel hosts matchmaking day for single guests

Talk about the proper hotel hook-up (pun intended). The Benjamin Hotel in New York will offer a crash course on how to find “the one” on Sunday, May 16. Armed with a team of life coaches, fashion stylists, makeup artists and photographers, The Benjamin will help singles transform themselves into, well, not-so-single.

Here’s how the hook-up will happen:

The morning is devoted to guest speakers and coaches from The Handel Group, who will advise singles on how become their “best self” in the area of relationships. The afternoon consists of a series of optional 15 minute private sessions with guest experts who will help attendees put their “best self” forward.

Guest experts include:

  • Fashion Stylist: style, presentation, clothing and accessories consultation
  • Makeup Coach: advice and coaching on how to achieve the best looks with makeup (participants should bring their favorite makeup or the whole bag!)
  • Role Play: an effective and fun way to practice the lessons learned in the morning
  • Dating Profile Overhaul: bring online dating profiles and get pointers Photographer: attendees can get photographed by a professional so that their dating profile picture truly flatters them.

The hotel’s program promises you’ll walk away with a better understanding of where past relationships went wrong, and have a clearer picture of relationship ideals and goals.

Intrigued? So is your mother, who has been hounding you for grandchildren so you might want to stop by on Sunday and see who you might meet.

WHERE: Sunday, May 16, 2010 10am-4pm The Benjamin Hotel 125 East 50th Street, NYC
COST: $200 for Sunday workshop
REGISTER: Call (800) 617-7040 or email coach@handelgroup.com

Bonus: If you happen to meet your soul mate and want to fast-track the hookup, The Benjamin Hotel is offering a rate discount of 15% on a two-night stay (use PROMO CODE: HANDEL).

Hotel Review: The Distrikt Hotel, New York

New York’s Distrikt Hotel opened its doors on Feb. 1, welcoming travelers to a new type of hotel concept: a convergence of culture in one space. The Distrikt pays homage to the various neighborhoods of Manhattan by featuring montages of each neighborhood’s unique personality on various floors throughout the hotel.

New York-based design firm OTTE Architecture designed the hotel alongside local artist Chris Rubino. Each floor of The Distrikt is said to feature a scene that describes one of New York’s iconic neighborhoods including Chelsea, Greenwhich Village, Midtown West, Midtown East, Central Park, Soho, the Lower East Side, Tribeca, Harlem and the Financial District. Located at 342 West 40th Street between 8th and 9th Avenues, the hotel is set in the center of it all: Times Square.

On his recent trip to New York, I sent Gadling Editor Grant Martin into the hotel to explore and check out the new digs. Here is what he found:

“The building is narrow, very narrow,” said Grant. However, due to the size of the narrow building the hotel has only five rooms on every floor, which means a lot less foot traffic and less noise than a bigger hotel.

First stop: The Lobby.

The focus of the lobby is the 11-foot green “living wall”, meant to represent Central Park.

In the lobby, there are three Apple computers connected to the Web, which are free of charge to guests. The green wall was filled with live green plants, adding a nice ‘fresh’ aspect to the hotel lobby.


The subway themed elevator bank is what makes this hotel so unique. “Special city detailing on the walls and city streets carved into the woodwork behind the desk and around parts of the lobby was probably the most unique and my favorite thing about the hotel. This custom woodwork is also in both elevators.”The Rooms

Each floor in The Distrikt Hotel is designated to a specific “district” of Manhattan. Neighborhoods are divided up roughly 3-5 floors per district, and the only thing that really separates them from the other floors is the collage on the walls. The hotel claims they took 10,000 photos to make these collages, and while we didn’t count, the collages are pretty cool.

As far as the rooms go, they are pretty standard. There is no distinctive difference in ‘districts’ once you enter your room, but Grant gives credit where credit is due: “The beds are big, warm and very comfortable. The iPod/phone enabled clock radio was nice, which I appreciate, as was the giant LCD TV that did not default to the hotel channel every time I turned it on.”


While the bathrooms are small by American hotel standards, they are pretty average for New York standards. The typical amenities were included in the bathrooms, and the bonus was free toothpaste and a toothbrush (if you walked down to the front desk to get it). The bathroom also came complete with a robe and slippers – a nice touch if you decide to lounge around for a while.


The Distrikt Hotel is home to Collage restaurant, which debuts a menu of New York-inspired food and local beers. As the building is narrow, so is the restaurant, which means seating for approximately 50 or so people.

Additional amenities:

Should you choose to stay at The Distrikt Hotel, you can expect free wifi in the rooms, a business desk with ergonomic chair, and Ecru New York soaps and amenities.