Stepping off bustling 44th Street—through the iron gates of the Chatwal—equates to stepping back in time to the days of a bygone era. I am far too young to understand what the 20’s or 30’s in New York felt like but, if the Chatwal is any indication, I sincerely hope modern science advances to make time travel a reality. Indeed, Fitzgerald himself might have chosen to install his iconic protagonist in this hotel had The Great Gatsby been written less than a century later.
The main lobby is small, private, and exquisitely appointed. From the very first moment one steps into the space, it becomes immediately evident that the owner—Mr. Vikrum Chatwal—spared no expense when restoring this New York icon. The walls are paneled in birds eye wood; in the corners, iridescent, floor-to-ceiling columns of light are finished with chrome hardware that only enhances the art-deco theme. The registration desk, concierge podium, and four-seat bar are finished similarly with sleek, chrome wrapped horizontally around the curved edges. In the seating area, custom bench seating disappears into the contemporary wall mural while subtle touches of red—namely, the supple leather chairs and crimson-rimmed, integrated chrome light fixtures—give the otherwise drab room room a vibrant spark of colour.
The lobby is brought to life by a dedicated team of service professionals which includes a Les Clefs d’Or concierge. Same day tickets to the Book of Mormon, you ask? How does center orchestra sound?
At registration, Angela was an absolute delight. Prior to my arrival, Axel Fisher, the hotel manager, ensured I receive a room with two beds despite the fact that I reserved a king room by accident. The bellmen were prompt and courteous when needed, but never intrusive. Sadly, the vast majority of my stay was ruined by rain but, when I needed to brave the elements, the bellmen were always out front with an umbrella ready and a taxi at the curb. Last but certainly not least, Diane Elliott, the sales manager, is an absolute delight to work with.
During my time at the Chatwal, I stayed in room 406, a ‘Grand Deluxe Room with 2 Double Beds.’ The walls are wrapped in elegant brown suede and contemporary espresso leather. All of the furnishings were custom designed for the hotel and several pieces were designed to look like vintage Louis Vuitton luggage. The beds—custom, handmade mattresses that, I’m sure, cost a bloody fortune—were among the most comfortable I’ve ever experienced in a hotel. Paired with 400-thread-count sateen linens, it was hard to get up in the morning. The bathroom was a sophisticated combination of espresso-colored quartz, mirrors, and colored glass. I especially appreciated the generously-sized Asprey Purple Water amenities, powerful shower, and Toto toilet with an integrated bidet. My favorite part of the room, though, had to be the closets. Custom, oversized, solid wood cabinetry with heavy doors nearly a foot thick scream of quality and attention-to-detail. Inside, the lime green hangers offer a whimsical touch. The minibar, also contained in the closet, is well stocked. Among its offerings, I was shocked to find playing cards, candles, a backgammon board, and candy cigarettes in addition to the normal offerings! The room was not without fault, however. There was no view (nor daylight) to speak of, the touch-screen control panel rarely worked and the sleek, stainless steel sink in the bathroom is utterly impractical.
Directly adjacent to the lobby, one enters the iconic Lamb’s Club Restaurant. Once the most prestigious theatre club in Manhattan, the now-public restaurant is sophisticated and, rather surprisingly, simple. The walls and floors are painted black, so as not to distract from the centerpiece of the room: the original fireplace. Opposite it, a large portrait of nameless faces—presumably influential producers and actors far before my time—is carried around the border of the room by individual portraits of the original Lamb’s Club members. The custom benches from the lobby can be found once more in the restaurant—this time, finished in a bright red colour that lends an air of romance to the dark, intimate space.
Food and beverage service, sadly, was hit-or-miss. I thoroughly enjoyed all three breakfasts I had at the Lamb’s Club without fault. One evening, however, the dessert I ordered was substituted (without my consent, mind you) with an entirely different dessert that I did not like. The waitress apologized but charged me for the replacement as if it was what I ordered. Similarly, I ordered a club sandwich through in-room dining on a Sunday Afternoon. The club sandwich was listed on the “all-day menu,” but the person who took my order told me that the “all-day menu” wasn’t available on Sundays so I had to order something else. In short, the culinary team needs to provide greater flexibility at a hotel of this caliber, especially for such basic requests as chocolate chip cookies and a club sandwich.
My favorite amenity is the basement-level Red Door Spa. While I was sadly unable to get a spa appointment during my stay, I appreciated the modern fitness center and amazing current pool. While small, the area is rarely used by other guests and is such a rarity in Manhattan!
Overall, this Art Deco stunner is the best hotel I’ve found in New York. It’s excellent location, lavishly-appointed accommodations, and impressive staff are among its most impressive attributes. What I love most, however, is the fact that The Chatwal lets you forget that you are just one block from the epicenter of Times Square—arguably, the world’s largest, filthiest tourist trap—by transporting you back to a far more sophisticated era!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Chatwal, A Luxury Collection Hotel, New York.Once home to the prestigious Lambs Club, this Stanford White designed landmark was reborn as The Chatwal in 2010. Fusing Art Deco style with Manhattan’s signature sophistication, The Chatwal has reinterpreted the elegance and glamour of classic New York City.Offering 76 guest rooms, inclusive of 27 suites, The Chatwal features a current pool, 24 hour fitness center and is home to The Red Door Spa by Elizabeth Arden. Guests are invited to enjoy celebrated “Iron Chef” Geoffrey Zakarian’s Lambs Club Restaurant, featuring modern American Cuisine. Wireless internet access and butler service is complimentary to all guest rooms. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com, HotelTravel.com, Expedia, Hotels.com, Cheap Tickets, TripOnline SA, Priceline, Odigeo and Tingo so you can book your The Chatwal, A Luxury Collection Hotel, New York reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- The Chatwal Hotel New York City