Sleeping Around NYC: The Renwick Hotel
By Shari Hartford
Some things…like fine wine and fine hotels…are worth the wait. I had heard about the re-branding and re-do of this historic property about a year ago and was anticipating the opening. At long last it was here and I promptly crossed town to the east side for a night with the specter of creative greats.
The Renwick is so named for James Renwick, renowned architect responsible for the iconic St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Fifth Avenue. Built in 1928, the hotel was a home to artists’ lofts and studios, in addition to doing time as a long-term hotel housing such notables as John Steinbeck, Thomas Mann, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway, among others. Those creative juices are inspiration for the artistic spirit of the hotel. There are 19 local artists represented here, yet there is no framed art. The cool vibe is eccentric and inspirational…regardless of the individual talent.
The lobby is small but comfortable. Everywhere you look there are small touches that convey the artistic funkiness of the hotel…the geometric pattern on the floor, tons of live plants in fun pots, object d’ arts that demand a second glance and, even the lobby staff who are dressed to the nines in fashionable leather.
The 173 loft-style rooms are equally spectacular. Using a palette of black, white, cream and gray, the designers let the art take center stage. There are live succulents everywhere, tons of art books big and small and fabulous lighting to show it all off. My room had shiny hardwood floors, white walls and a black hand-painted skyline mural that stretched around the perimeter…not pausing for the window shades but continuing through the shades.
The artist theme is carried through in the custom furnishings…easel style television stands, flat file bed stands and a paint brush stand-in for a Do Not Disturb sign. But it’s not all kitsch and themes…I had more towels than I could possibly use, a great shower, counter space in the bathroom, electrical plugs everywhere and terrific Wi-Fi.
As a college art major way back when, The Renwick brought a touch of nostalgia for a passion that I have long abandoned. My night at the hotel, thumbing through the many books may just have revived that long ago interest.
Rooms start at $459.
The Renwick Hotel
118 East 40th Street
New York, NY 10016
For more information, visit the renwickhotelnewyork.com