Suite: Cohen Suite | Size: 51-65 square metres | Price: From US$600 (about A$855) per night | Reviewed by: Kate Symons | theknickerbocker.com
Even amid the chaos of Times Square, in Manhattan’s Midtown neighbourhood, The Knickerbocker’s striking Beaux-Art facade stands out. A Leading Hotels of the World property, ‘The Knick’, as it is affectionately known, was built in 1906 and has been credited, in part, with transforming the crossroads of 42nd Street and Broadway from sleepy corner – if you can believe it – to the city’s most famous tourist attraction. For the glitterati of the time, The Knick was the place to be seen, although the onset of Prohibition brought the purple patch to an end 15 years later. After a long stint as an office block, the building was designated a New York City landmark in 1988 and, following a two year, US$230 million renovation, reopened as The Knickerbocker in 2015. The interior was gutted, but the grand facade remains intact. The result is a sleek hotel under the big, bright lights of New York City.
It is stunning to me that, despite the activity occurring right below my window, I am not bothered by noise in the slightest during my stay. Ten out of 10 to The Knickerbocker for soundproofing, and that’s just the beginning. The Knickerbocker has 330 guestrooms, including 27 Junior Suites and four Tribute Suites. Regardless of your room style, 3.6-metre ceilings, 2.4-metre doors and 1.8-metre windows create a welcome sense of space in vast contrast to the vigorous energy of street level. On the 16th floor, the Cohen Suite, named for the great American playwright George M Cohen, oozes sophistication with a neutral palette brought to life by luxurious textures and metallic accents. Speaking of luxurious, the grand marble bathroom provides a welcome retreat from the 42nd-Street commotion and, while this great city may never sleep, you’ll certainly want to thanks to the Stearns & Foster Euro-top bed.
Midtown hardly needs an introduction. To some, it is Manhattan’s beating heart while others will avoid the area, particularly the neon jungle of Times Square, at all costs. One thing is for sure, this lively neighbourhood is in the thick of the action. Just minutes on foot from star-studded Broadway, beautiful Bryant Park and all your Fifth Avenue shopping needs, The Knickerbocker is wonderful choice for travellers keen for the quintessential tourist experience.
Charlie Palmer at The Knick is the hotel’s signature restaurant, serving up what they call ‘Honest American Cuisine’. With the inclusion of dishes such as Maine Lobster, Upstate Farms Pasta Primavera, and Hudson Valley Duck, who am I to argue? And hey, I’m not one to argue anyway when the food is so lipsmackingly satisfying. Adjacent to the hotel lobby, Jake’s Coffee Roasters provides great cafe fare and plenty of grab-and-go options for those with little more than a New York minute to spare.
The Knickerbocker has been credited as the birthplace of the martini and, although the attribution is hotly debated, it’s the perfect excuse to place an order. If you need an excuse, that is. St Cloud is The Knick’s rooftop bar and even in a city jam-packed with bars on high, this is a standout. Ivy-covered walls and strings of sparkling fairy lights create a romantic oasis amid the surrounding concrete. Just add Champagne. Or gin, as it were.