New York City never aspires to be anything but itself. Unlike Dubai, Shanghai or any newer cosmopolitan cities that grasp at designing parks, centers and buildings that look globally appealing, New York City loves its textured past. In fact, I go to New York City just for its celebrated history even though I admittedly also revel in its modern revampings. On a recent visit to the City That Never Sleeps, I couldn’t have selected a better hotel and adjoining restaurant for a real New York experience.
The 208-room Quin hotel, short for “Quintessentially New York,” opened just over a year ago nearby Central Park, Carnegie Hall and the famed 5th Avenue. The Wayfarer, an American Grill restaurant, opened soon after in partnership with the Quin. Together, the hotel and restaurant are quickly luring locals and travelers alike through their doors.
The Quin is not the type of hotel to have Les Clefs d'Or concierges or a banal gift shop. Two aspects I love about the hotel are its attaché staff and unmatched commitment and celebration of the arts. Rather than concierges, the property has a vetted fleet of experts each called an attaché, a term traditionally meant to describe "a technical expert on a country's diplomatic staff at a foreign capital." New York City might as well be a foreign capital, and thus the title is perfectly apt for those who would like to nab the most difficult dining reservations, exclusive gallery invitations and coveted designer trunk sales scoops.
In addition to attachés, there is a dedicated arts curator, DK Johnston. He leads the Artist in Residence, Art Salons and collection development of the hotel. The property currently displays 18 original pieces from international artists such as Blek le Rat, the Paris-based “godfather of street art,” within the lobby, gallery and floor landings. Several more works from Johnston's San Francisco-based Arts Fund are in-room, a treat for art aficionados like myself. Even more delightful is the chance to bump into one of the hotel's "artists in residences" on a casual ride down the elevator or stroll down a hallway.
The Quin honors it artistic history with an Artist in Residence program that reserves a handful of guestrooms for artists to work and live in for extended periods of time. The result of this generous pro-art hospitality is a growing number of works for the hotel's permanent gallery, including those from Nick Walker, the British graffiti phenomenon.
Attached to the Quin is the sizzling seafood restaurant, The Wayfarer NYC, which provides all of the food and beverage services for the hotel. Again I find a the name amusingly apropos for New York City. Wayfarer simply means "a person who travels on foot," which no less describes every traveler or native of the Big Apple. The restaurant has its own Design Statement, a highbrow declaration for an eatery, but the Wayfarer has some serious design clout.
The two-story, 10,000-square-foot restaurant mixes ‘70s-era minimalist touches with a 1920s social parlor aura. It sounds like a peculiar era pairing. Yet, the handsome pewter bar, undulating rich brown leather booths and lacquered wood paneling work with the black-and-white photography of disco divas like Tina Turner. The hanging disco ball nearby the bar is fitting.
The ‘20s and ‘70s were indeed times of revelry and cultural renaissance in the city. But just eight months old, the Wayfarer has already become a convivial hot spot. When I visited on an early Tuesday evening the restaurant was abuzz with after-work Wall Streeters, Manhattanites and cultured crowds. The menu is distinctly sea-focused with locally sourced clams, oysters tempura, petit lobster rolls and crudo making up most of the dinner menu.
Service is sincere and swift in a New York way. The entrées such as the Crispy Skin Scottish Salmon are notable. The steak tartare starter was exceptional as were many of the raw bar offerings, such as the Solitaire, a platter of fresh bay scallops, mussels, clams and oysters. Bottom line: New York City’s must-do combo is the duo of the Quin and The Wayfarer NYC.
Katherine Sutton Bond is a freelance travel and luxury item writer for Justluxe.com. She's traveled the world and sampled some of the leading hotels and destinations of the globe. She often covers luxury events and technology. ...(Read More)