Sometimes, before diving into all the excitement, noise, heat and hurry that Manhattan serves up on a summer day, all a body really wants is a no-fuss cup of coffee. Or, stepping out of the Big Apple’s fervid jostle at the end of the day, one hopes for a comfortable couch; not in some ‘scenester’ lounge where a crush of office workers is vying for the same seat, but in a room that’s like home, only much more posh. For those moments of peace before and after the action, this bijoux charmer is perfect.
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 crème 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.