Luxury Hotels: Hotel chains are always opening new outposts in New York City. Properties are demolished to make way for new structures and some are built from scratch. From the Four Seasons to the Ritz-Carlton to Hyatt to the W, most chains are familiar to locals and tourists alike. Firmdale Hotels may not be a household name ó yet. The small British-based boutique hotel firm ó owners Tim and Kit Kemp have six properties in London ó opened the tony Crosby Street Hotel to much fanfare in late September 2009 in Soho. Its quick success has placed the company on a small list of elite hotel chains in New York.
The Crosby is a mix of urban chic and English countryside. The lobby is airy and inviting, showcasing English plants and natural sunlight. To the right of the lobby is the cozy drawing room, at which guests and their friends can order high tea and feel like the lady of the manor. The Crosby Bar on the north side of the lobby offers repasts three times a day and great cocktails. Sit at the pewter bar and watch the stylish girls in sky-high stilettos pass by. During summer months, enjoy the ivy-covered Lafayette Street Patio and the leafy Sculpture Courtyard out back. The unique organic seatingóbenches and chairs constructed of tree limbs and branches ó showcases the hotelís commitment to being environmentally friendly. The hotel is LEED certified and plans to become GOLD LEED as soon as possible.
The 86 rooms and suites are each unique and aesthetically pleasing. Rooms are colorful, cozy and airy, with high ceilings and large windows. Suites feature floor-to-ceiling windows, cushioned window seats with views of downtown Manhattan, large ottomans, kitschy dressers and king beds enveloped in Frette linens and white tufted bedspreads. Each room has a different mannequin standing at attention by the entryway, embellished in the same pattern as the colorful headboards. Bathrooms include Miller Harris bath products, two Lefroy Brooks Limited sinks, heated towel racks and expansive showers with powerful adjustable showerheads. Co-owner Kit Kemp is an interior designer by trade and mixed and matched colors and patterns in an atypical way. Florals are juxtaposed with stripes and other prints, and colors, some on opposite ends of the spectrum, share space on the same fabric. My room mixed olive green, orange, teal and purple in a way that was neither garish nor off-putting. Colors are repeated throughout the suite; in the cushions, on the window seat, the ottomans and lounge chairs.
If youíre lucky enough to reserve the Meadow Suite, youíll have access to a private garden oasis. The hotelís American Woodland Meadow features 50 different kinds of native plants. Itís a quiet refuge and is best enjoyed during a late evening stroll.
The hotel also has a 99-seat screening room in the lower level. It can be booked for private events but is open to the public on Sunday evenings during the hotelís Sunday Night Film Club. Guests pay $50 per person for a three-course dinner and a seat to view recent and classic films. If dinner is too much, you can always opt for a cocktail, bar snack and a movie ticket for $25 per person.
Like itís tony siblings in London, the Crosby Street Hotel has become the go-to place for locals and savvy out-of-towners looking for a chic yet welcoming oasis in a bustling metropolis.
Shandana A. Durrani
Shandana A. Durrani is a travel and lifestyle journalist based in New York City. She is the author of "Day Trips from New York City" (Globe Pequot Press, 2011) and co-author of "Insiders' Guide to New York City" (Globe Pequot Press, 2011), both travel guidebooks. She was Cigar Aficionado magazine's Travel Editor for more than 10 years and has visited such far-flung locales as New Zeal...(Read More)