Everything about Hotel Chandler comes as a welcome surprise, including the way the façade presents itself out of seemingly thin air, indistinguishable from the other taupe Murray Hill high rises until you notice a smart little awning and a rose-marble entry. For first-time guests suffering from nerves over what Midtown might throw at them (and anyone who’s ever stayed in Times Square or the Fashion District knows, it can be a crapshoot), the first glimpse of the entrance will elicit a sigh of relief. A Small Luxury Hotels of the World monogram is right at eye level, a uniformed doorman smiles a greeting, and steps lead up to the recently renovated Art Deco revival-style lobby.
Of all the public spaces, we love the Library Room the best (although it should perhaps be called the parlor because it contains a meager book collection). This is the kind of room where you could wait out a rainstorm for hours: cushy wing chairs and one peculiar little bamboo stool are arranged around a fireplace and flat-screen television. A loveseat is accented with colorful throws and one tall floor lamp features a base made of a Costa Rican tree. Photographs of the original tree hang elsewhere in the lobby.
In comparison to the handsomely styled library, the Chandler previously had only a small, simply decorated bar that felt almost like a private club. This space is currently undergoing a transformation, as is the adjacent restaurant, Juni. The restaurant will open in late summer with details on the bar still forthcoming. In the interim, the hotel serves a continental breakfast to guests in the Breakfast Lounge off the main lobby. Room service is also available from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
The guest accommodations are snug at entry level, as is the norm for Manhattan digs, but they offer as many comforts and conveniences as can fit in the space: Molton Brown bath products, rainfall showerheads, Frette linens and HDTV flat-screen televisions. Executive Suites on every floor provide space for up to four travelers or a very comfortable work-hangout pad for one or two. Each suite features a king-sized bed, flat-screen TV and full-length closet in the bedroom, a shower-bathtub combination with Molton-Brown bath amenities, and a full living room with a pull-out sofa bed, two armchairs, additional flat-screen and an executive desk. The four Chandler Suites are the cr?me of accommodations, with Jacuzzi tubs, fireplaces, bay windows and four-poster beds.
Regardless of room type, the complimentary amenities are what really make guests feel taken care of. In general, staying in a hotel means being hit with a variety of small, but annoying snags like $20 a day for Wi-Fi, a gym that doesn’t open till mid-morning and costs $15 to access, or a sudden storm and no umbrella packed for it.
The Chandler, however, takes care of so many of these little details without nickel-and-diming its guests. Wireless internet access is complimentary, the fitness center is open 24-7 and likewise complimentary and a sideboard provides coffee and tea around the clock. The tiny alcove of a business center offers free computer/printer access. And for that all-too-common flash flood, there are umbrellas in every guest room. This focus on a seamless, stress-free guest experience wins out over the ‘See and be Seen (and be charged for it)’ dazzle of other Manhattan hotels and keeps discerning international travelers going back.
Lena Katz is the author of the Travel Temptations series (SIP, SUN, SNOW), published by Globe Pequot Press in 2009. Lena is also a travel expert for Celebrations/1800FLOWERS and WEtv (online and on-air). She contributes to the South China Morning Post and ABC News online. Lena is a former Orbitz Travel blogger and former columnist for the LA Times. She's been published in Brides Magazine, Robb Rep...(Read More)