In the ultra-posh, storied and stressful environs of Manhattan’s Park Avenue, where taxis are harder to come by than chauffeured Bentleys and trust fund debutantes stare in heavy-lidded disapproval from the doorways, the Gansevoort Park Avenue is an unexpected haven of colorful, multi-cultural charm.
The music in the lobby sets the tone. If you arrive in the evening, it’s likely to be some brand of European mid-tempo electronic. On a rainy morning, languorous contemporary folk lulls the breakfast crowds to half-sleep in the lobby lounge chairs. The lobby furnishings are colorful and comfy statement pieces that contrast delightfully with the herringbone granite floors and breezy white curtains.
The crowd using the hotel room elevators is international and handsome but perhaps a bit more wholesome than expected. One sees as many happy families as hip-hop entourages, and a recent Sunday visit didn’t view a single open-necked silk shirt amongst the male clientele.
The tri-level rooftop bar is sexy and sceney, with dramatic lighting and the requisite $15 cocktails and posh finger food (truffle fries, Kobe sliders, etc.). The interior mixes tiny tables for two, low-slung couches and circular tables that can hold five or more. This accommodates a mixed crowd: couples out for a romantic evening, single women on the make, international business types ready to explore all New York’s sins and pleasures, with this as their home base.
The bar opens on one side onto the rooftop pool, which offers one of Manhattan’s top daylife scenes whenever the fickle weather will allow it. A dedicated door with doorman at the hotel’s ground-floor level keeps the entire rooftop scene exclusive without creating any drama in the hotel itself.
Ristorante Asellina doesn’t have a single bit of the rooftop’s velvet rope vibe, but the Italian fare at this pretty, sparkly, surprisingly friendly restaurant is mouthwatering. Sit at the bar and enjoy thin crust pizza and stuffed olives, or spend a couple hours in the dining room savoring fresh pasta, organic meats and wood-fired specialties.
And of course, exhale spa merits a mention — its brand-name appeal is as significant as the Gansevoort’s, and spa-philes would consider it as much of a destination as the hotel itself.
Though one never spends much time in a Manhattan hotel room, the Gansevoort Park Avenue does not force its guests into shoebox-sized spaces as so many of the city’s hotels do.
The 249 rooms are generously sized and very cheerful, with a similar design motif as the lobby: demure beige and herringbone floors, white curtains, and colorful splashes here and there in the soft furnishings. Oversized bathtubs are a welcome perk, whether you’re traveling on business and need a relaxing soak after a day of meetings, or wanting to end a romantic weekend getaway with a Champagne bubble bath.