Sleeping Around NYC: The Jane
by Shari Hartford
And now for something completely different.
There seems to be a plethora of new [and new/old] hotels in New York City these days. And, unfortunately, a great many of them are cookie cutter variations on each other. You know? Take a basic sugar cookie recipe and decorate the cookies differently, but in the end they are all just sugar cookies?
That’s not to say that some, or most, of these hotels are not beautifully appointed, conveniently located and provide all the services and amenities a traveler might need. But sometimes folks, don’t you want something unique, an urban hotel you will remember for a long time, a place you might go home and Google? Well, look no further…The Jane is all that, and more.
Located in the Meatpacking district almost on West Street, The Jane is not the best location for the business traveler or a family of vacationers wanting to spend their time with fellow tourists. But if you want a true New York experience and want to walk, explore and become a “native” then this is for you.
First there’s the history lesson. Built between 1906-1908 as The Sailor’s Home and Institute, the hotel served as a refuge for the survivors of the Titanic during the American inquest. After several incarnations as both a hotel and a YMCA, the building was landmarked in 2001 and opened as The Jane in 2008.
Entering the Jane is like a trip back in time to, perhaps, a small hotel in Europe. The eccentric dark furniture, marble floors, the paintings and the staff in their Grand Budapest Hotel-esque uniforms set a stage. On the first level is the ballroom/bar with so much art, antiques and decorative pieces it’s like a feast for your eyes. And, if you’re hungry, the Café Gitane overlooks the Hudson River and features an eclectic menu. The hotel also offers complimentary bicycles for guests to use. Hop on and explore!
There are three categories of rooms. The first, the Bunk Bed Cabin (inspired by luxury train cabins) is a tiny but beautifully appointed room with wooden bunks, brass hooks for clothing and drawers for storage. Each bunk has its own flat screen television and, as all other accommodations, free WiFi, excellent linens, and other standard electronics. The shared hallway baths, also used by the Standard Cabins, are spotless and spacious.
I chose to spend the night in the Captain’s Cabin, which had a private marble bath and a gorgeous patio. The room was large and unique, with plenty of storage in the armoire and good lighting. Among the other appeals of The Jane are the prices. The 137 Standard and Bunk Bed Cabins start at $99 per night…almost unheard of in New York City for this level of quality and service. Checking out my fellow travelers, I saw European hipsters, 20-somethings who would rather spend their cash on food and theater and just plain folk who were enjoying the neighborhood.
Take the elevator up and visit the seasonally open Jane Rooftop bar and take in the city at sunset. The rooftop, incidentally, was at one time RuPaul’s apartment.
All in all, The Jane has Character with a capital C. The quirky surroundings are comforting and I imagine myself lounging in the ballroom in the winter, with its velvets and fireplace, sipping a drink and wondering why the Edwardian era ever left us.
For more information, see thejanenyc.com. Make sure you check out the website; one of the most innovative hotel websites ever.