Sleeping Around: The Refinery Hotel
By Shari Hartford
Back in the day, ladies wore hats…everyday, everywhere and the center for the millinery trade in New York City was 38th Street. Number 63, built in 1912, housed a factory where these hats, and their respective feathers, ribbons and bows (otherwise known as “trim) were manufactured.
Fast forward to May 2013 and the opening of the luxurious Refinery Hotel on this same site. As you step into the lobby your attention is immediately grabbed by the vaulted ceilings and the custom artwork that is both playful and fascinating, like the display of antique hat-making tools behind the reception desk. The twenties-inspired décor pays homage to the building’s roots—and location.
With 197 guest accommodations, the loft like rooms feature distressed hardwood floors, desks custom-designed to resemble sewing machine tables and walk-in stone floored showers. Always a sucker for good bath products, I couldn’t get enough of the Le Labo Santal 33 bath gel. The beds were cloud-like and all the room electronics and electrics are state of the art.
Don’t miss the lobby bar, Winnie’s (named for Winifred MacDonald who ran a tea salon in the building during prohibition), for one of the house-special cocktails, like Cloche & Dagger and Winnie’s Ghost. When you’re ready for food, Parker & Quinn (on the 39th Street side of the hotel) puts forth classic American bistro fare in a clubby and convivial ambiance.
But my favorite spot was the rooftop lounge. Not yet operational when I visited, there will be a retractable roof over an indoor-outdoor space for warm weather hanging out and gazing at the soaring views of the Manhattan skyline, and a large and cozy fireplace for the winter months. A full bar menu and small plates will be served.
The Refinery is a perfect example of looking where you’re walking. On a nondescript street with business storefronts it’s easy to walk right on by. But don’t. It’s well worth the detour and the stay.
For more information, see refineryhotelnewyork.com
Shari Hartford is the former managing editor for Diversion magazine, where she wrote about travel in the northeast and cruising. She is currently a freelance writer and editor based in her hometown of New York City.