Earlier this month I was in New York City to speak at the New York Times Travel Show. I extended my stay to spend a full day checking out five of the newest business class hotels in town, packing along my camera and notepad. It was an exhausting day, but I loved every minute of it.
There are many more than five new hotels in this burgeoning market, so I chose only among those that opened in 2015… and those that I thought would appeal most to TravelSkills readers.
Here’s a look at the fifth of the big five…Enjoy!
Here’s the fifth:
The Knickerbocker (Overlooking Times Square at 42nd & Broadway)
Among the five hotels I toured in NYC, the Knickerbocker has the most history and the best story. This hotel was THE place to see and be seen in the early 1900’s. Scion John Jacob Astor opened the hotel in 1906 and when big shots showed up in New York, they bedded down (and partied) at the Knickerbocker.
But the party only lasted for about 15 years. Prohibition became the law of the land in 1919, and by 1921 the hotel shut down. Until recently this fabulous Beaux-Arts structure at the corner of 42nd Street and Broadway has forlornly served as an office building– at one time housing the offices of Newsweek Magazine.
But the brand new 330-room, 17-story Knickerbocker came back to life in February 2015 as “the only five-star hotel on Times Square” according to a spokesperson.
What struck me most about the hotel is how its interior is the opposite of what you see outside. It’s freshly scrubbed facade is ornate and busy. The hotel is located on one of the craziest crossroads in the world with lights, sounds, smells and crowds pulsating along the streets and sidewalks.
But walk in the front door on 42nd Street and you are greeted by a soothing cool and quiet lobby (see photo) without much going on. Head to the elevator and up to your room and you feel the same sense of zen-like peace surrounded by neutral colors, low-slung, modern furniture with clean lines. All that calm is juxtaposed when you peer out your window to the cacophony of the street scene below.
So what the Knickerbocker offers is the best of two worlds– access to the craziness of Times Square and a cool quiet and spacious sanctuary (rooms are large by NYC standards) to get away from the hustle and bustle.
Don’t miss the Knickerbocker’s outstanding rooftop bar (St Cloud) and decks– easily one of the most dramatic rooftops in a city where rooftop bars are sprouting up like mushrooms after a rain. Pop in for a drink and soak up the psychedelic show below. Celebrity restaurateur Charlie Palmer runs St Cloud as well as the classy diner-like Jake’s and Charlie Palmer at the Knick (perfect for power breakfast).
Average rates run in the $400-$500 range, but in mid February, we found prices as low as $275 (including breakfast) for a basic room. But if you feel like a splurge, the dramatic corner suites with that stunning Times Square view are going for about $500 per night in February.
Hotel website: The Knickerbocker, 6 Times Square, NYC (A member of Leading Hotels of the World)
In case you missed our previous posts in this series, here’s a look at all of them:
1 Hotel Central Park (Midtown)
The Baccarat (Midtown)
New York EDITION (Flatiron/Madison Sq Park)
The EVEN Hotel (Near Penn Station/Garment district)
The Knickerbocker (Times Square)
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NOTE: Be sure to click here to see all recent TravelSkills posts about: Boeing 747 nearing its end? + “Targeted” for an upgrade? + 5 newest biz class hotels in New York + TSA PreCheck is exploding + Bargain hunters travel guide for 2016