Maverick Life: Maverick Mapper: New York in Five Hotels
By Emilie Gambade
Approximately 65-million people visited New York City in 2018, charmed by iconic buildings, skyscrapers, innumerable food trucks and the romantic greenery that is Central Park. From Time Square's neon lights and flashing 3D billboards overdose, to Williamsburg’s cool hype and a multitude of bars and small boutiques, New York is, in all its concrete glory, an old friend that prevents you from sleeping. Which is a shame, because we’ve rounded up our five favourite places to sleep at.
THE MARKThe red-carpet celebrities’ whispererLocated on New York’s Upper East Side, The Mark Hotel – which is nestled in a 1927 landmark building – was renovated and decorated in 2009 by Parisian interior decorator Jacques Grange. Grange, who worked on the homes of Yves Saint Laurent, Karl Lagerfeld and Princess Caroline of Monaco, is no stranger to creating phantasmagoric spaces that combine statement furniture and daring pops of colours and textures.
[caption id="attachment_231457" align="alignleft" width="3380"] View of the main dining room through the lobby at Jean Georges' The Mark restaurant in The Mark hotel in New York City[/caption]
Various influences merge at The Mark: The fixtures of the lobby (which, at peak hour of check-ins and check-outs, reminisces of DC Union Station’s main hall) evoke some ancient architecture and grand heritage, matched up with a je-ne-sais-quoi of modern glamour; the entrance pairs geometrical patterns, striped black-and-white marble floors with thick and soft carpets, beige tones and splashes of bright hues. The rooms have hi-tech elements like Crestron Electronics screens that control the place’s TV, air temperature and lighting with a touch. It is no wonder that celebrities settle at the hotel to prep for the nearby Met Gala (6-minute walking distance), its red carpet, the paparazzo and Anna Wintour’s nod of approval. If, like Coco Chanel at the Ritz, you decide to take up residence at The Mark, the 16th floor, five-bedroom, six-bathroom penthouse suite of just under 1,000 square meters with its private terrace, a fireplace and views on the Upper East Side and Central Park, will cost you a substantial $75,000 a night (approximately R1-million). A family once rented the penthouse (the largest and most expensive in the US) for 16 months.
In your bath, listen to:Empire State of Mind, Alicia Keys
Must Read:The New York Times or the Wall Street Journal, delivered to your door every morning
What to Wear: Oscar de la Renta – before heading to the Met Gala
Where to eat: Downstairs, at the restaurant of three-star Michelin chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten; enjoy some caviar and brioche amuse-bouche and other delicious petits-fours.
What to do: Try the stylish fleet of custom bicycles that are parked just outside of the hotel. They are available exclusively to guests at The Mark, and are complete with front baskets and signature black and white helmets. You’ll be in Central Park in two pedal shots. Freedom.
Price: from R6,500 a night to… don’t askLocated: 25 E 77th StTHE STANDARD HIGHLINEThe vertigo enhancerWhat makes the Standard High Line special is of course, its rooms with views that stretch to the Hudson river, Manhattan Meatpacking district and one of the trendiest parks in town, the highline – a linear stretch of over 2km of elevated terraces and walking paths built on the old railway. The hotel is also located right next to Soho, West Village and the Whitney Museum of American Art, making it the ideal stop over for a shopping- art- and food-focused stay. The tall building is an ode to Le Corbusier’s apartment blocks and the Esprit Nouveau philosophy, and an indirect homage to the architect’s clever use of space and purist style. The hotel is 17m high and boasts a glass façade, making the 337 guest rooms at front row position to tower (dangerously) over the highline and the streets below. Although enjoying uninterrupted views of the NY city life can be exciting, leaving your curtains opened might give passers-by at street level a great peek into the inside of your room: and the voyeur is being watched. Talking about voyeurism, The Standard Highline gave us one of the most viral CCTV-videos shared in 2014: Solange Knowles and her brother-in-law Jay Z having a heated interaction in the elevator soon after the Met Gala.
Soundtrack:Don’t Touch My Hair, Solange Knowles
In Your Bag: A pair of sneakers for a fresh morning run on the highline and an exploration of the neighborhood
Must Read:Creation is A Patient Search by Le Corbusier
Where to eat: The Wild Son for their Good Morning Sunshine sandwich - 53 LITTLE WEST 12TH ST
Not to miss: The Whitney Museum of American Art
Price: from R2,700 a nightLocated: 848 Washington StTHE AC HOTEL TIMES SQUAREThe de facto Page OneThe AC Hotel stands right opposite the New York Times and if you’re lucky enough to have a room with windows looking over 40th street, you’ll have direct views onto the army of journalists working late into the night as well as the flow of reporters and guests walking in and out of the iconic media building. The white marble reception area is modern and so are the bedrooms, with sleek 21st Century-style furniture and comfortable bedding. The hotel doesn’t waste time or effort into superfluous luxury and the rooms are spacious and super comfortable without being over-the-top. The hotel is centrally located, a stone's throw away from Broadway on one side and few meters from major retailers on the other. Don’t miss a small library tucked between the hotel and a restaurant, just a few meters away: the Drama Bookshop; it is an Ali Baba cavern for anyone interested in theatre-related literature, plus you might spot a stage actor strolling between the bookshelves.
Soundtrack: David Shire
In Your Bag: A notebook and a sharp pencil
Get in bed and watch:Page One, Inside the New York Times by director Andrew Rossi
What to Wear: A Muji black T-shirt (the boutique is opposite the hotel), Levi’s jeans and a pair of Converse
Where to eat: Japanese eatery and sushi bar, Yama Ramen, located 47-50th Street Rockefeller Center
Price: from R2,000 a nightLocated: 570 Tenth Avenue at W 42nd StreetTHE YOTELThe capsule hotel Star Trek wished it had inventedThe good thing is, even jet lagged and slightly lost, you won’t be able to miss Yotel with its bright purple neon light covering part of the outside façade. The creation of Yo! Sushi’s Simon Woodroffe, and his business partner, Gerard Greenehotel, the hotel is a mastery of functionality packed in rooms not bigger than… a large cupboard. Mimicking Japan’s capsule (or pod) hotels, Yotel has automated check-in and check-out, hot drinks at every floor, free wifi, and Yobot, a “friendly” robot with an 18m of hydraulic arm that sorts out the luggage-storing facility. The rooms are equipped with motorised beds, stored-away tables, “rejuvenating rain showers”, charging points for more devices than one can pack and on every possible corner, clever smaller storage for your personal belongings. As a stark contradiction to the pod philosophy, the hotel also boasts spacious public spaces and one of the largest outdoor hotel terraces in NYC.
Get in bed and watch:THX1138 by George Lucas or the latest episode of Star Trek
In Your Bag: Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life
What to drink: Coffee – even in year 2080, you will need to start the day with a punch
Soundtrack when you’re in the tiny shower:Tokio Hotel by Moonsoon
What to wear: a puff jacket from Uniqlo and Venus moon boots by Moncler
Price: from R1,700 a night, depending on the seasonLocated: 570 Tenth AvenueTHE McCARREN HOTEL & POOLSofia Coppola’s next movie setTaking its name from the nearby McCarren Park, the McCarren Hotel & Pool was designed by interior decorator Fernando Santangelo, the man behind the 2010 renovations of Los Angeles’ Chateau Marmont. It is no wonder then, that the décor of The McCarren Hotel & Pool looks like the set of a Sofia Coppola movie with its seventies-inspired furniture, carefully curated art works and grand chandeliers. It hints at Somewhere, the movie starring Stephen Dorff that Coppola shot entirely at Chateau Marmont in 2009; it feels like LA sans the decadence. The décor somehow inspires languor; still it feels like behind the apparent tranquility of its saltwater swimming pool (one of the largest in New York) and the inviting, carefully lined up lounges and comfortable sofas, a celebrity is about to rock up, wrapped in a bath robe, a cigarette dangling from the mouth and scandals running behind. Soon, legendary moments will be witnessed but never spoken about. What happens at The McCarren stays at The McCarren…
Soundtrack:No Sleep Till Brooklyn, the Beastie Boys
On the coffee table: Cluedo and Monopoly’; get ready for a night of murder mystery and money games