Luxury Hotels: New Yorkís Hellís Kitchen has a reputation of being the bad part of Manhattan. It has a rough and tumble history with shades of Damon Runyon written all over it. The musical Westside Story was loosely based on the ethnic conflicts of the area. On a New York trip just a few years ago, an associate warned me of walking around even during the day! Today, gentrification has taken hold and Hellís Kitchen is one of the upcoming artsy strongholds in the city. Hellís Kitchen is in midtown. A name change to Clinton is being pushed to freshen up the image, but I still like Hellís Kitchen, with its ghosts of the past.
Even 10 years ago people would have thought it crazy to build a luxury hotel in this area. But today, many Broadway actors and artists live in the revitalized area and restaurants abound, many with outdoor dining tables New York-style.
The Kimpton Hotel Group, one of my favorite upscale lodging chains, gazed into their crystal ball and built Ink 48, forecasting the revival of the community. Overlooking the Hudson (you can even see the US Intrepid from parts of the hotel), Ink 48 is a wonderful place to stay while in Manhattan.
Walking distance to Times Square (take a cab if you must, but the walk will do you good. Itís only about 20 minutes away) and new shops and renovated brownstones make the stroll from Ink 48 interesting.
A few words about Kimpton Hotels: each are unique and interesting. Every property has a different story and feeling, yet has a comfortable atmosphere at the same time. While the trend is stark in many upscale chains, there is a warm and friendly feeling at Kimpton without ever going over the top.
Ink 48 is housed in an old printing building, for which it is named. Paying homage to the former residents who worked there years ago, the hotel is designed to impress and imprint their guests. With fantastic views of the city, as well as the Hudson, Ink 48 has everything going for it.
As you enter the lobby you are greeted with European sounds playing in the background. Visitors to the hotel match the interesting background music, as they are a mix from all over the world. Ink 48 has become an international travelers melting pot. The accents I detected on my visit hailed from France, Germany, the Middle East and England as well as American voices from across the States.
Shades of warm autumn colors are the benchmark of the hotel, providing a comfortable atmosphere for work and play. The trend in new hotels is to feature stark and minimalistic dťcor that leaves me cold. Ink 48 is anything but cold.
Hereís a special note to animal lovers who travel with their pets. Ink 48 is a pet-friendly hotel. Iíve been to pet-friendly hotels and they have a fragrance that is not pleasing or friendly. Ink 48 is a wonderful way to get away with your entire family, including Fido. To make it all the more pet-friendly, tropical fish greet you in a small bowl on the counter at the registration desk.
Rooms are spacious and laid out well. Our view was nothing short of spectacular. At night, a spectacular view of the Hudson River provided an amazing light show. During the day, we watched as cruise ships pulled into port, while tourists lined the gangway to the Intrepid.
Our bathroom was oversized, easily allowing room for two people. One could shower while the other can put on their makeup. The shower is separate from an oversized tub.
Large flat-screen television displays can be seen from the bed in the master, while another TV provides entertainment in the sitting area.
Beds in hotels are always funny things. For me they are usually hard and uncomfortable. I always sleep well at a Kimpton. The beds are specially made (you can buy the mattress and bedding for use at home) and are very comfortable.
Ink 48 has beautiful views as Iíve mentioned. On the 16th floor is PRESS, a delightful lounge offering drinks and light fare. This is one of the new hot spots in the city, with lines extending to the street. Seating is on a first come basis and reservations are not taken. A casual elegant dress code is required, with well-dressed denizens of the city, schmoozing and looking at views of one of the most exciting cities in the world.
After a hard day of meetings or shopping, thereís nothing better than relaxing at a full-service spa. Or skip all that hard work and just head to InkSpa to be pampered for the day.
InkSpa offers more than you would expect from an ordinary hotel spa. There are the rubs and tubs and potions to be sure, but there are a few extraordinary services you donít find everywhere. For example, you can host a private spa and catered lunch for up to 12 friends, with a variety of treatments for your skin, muscles and spirit. The InkSpa is total luxury and comfort.
The service, views and comfort at Ink48 are outstanding. Location is great (itís especially close to the Javits Convention Center).
At the heart of the hotel, as in all the Kimptonís Iíve stayed including Portland, NYC and LA, are the staff. Friendly, helpful and willing to go the extra mile, staff members seem to work effortlessly to make your stay special.
Full Disclosure: Mark Alyn was a guest of Ink 48, but all opinions expressed are entirely his own.