I confess: I’m a fan of The Donald. The swagger, the money, the hair, the catch phrase. My interest in The Apprentice, however, has waned, and I missed the TV show’s introduction of Donald Trump Jr. So, when the opportunity arose to chat up Donald 2.0 about the new hotel he’s overseeing (with his sister and brother)—the Trump SoHo, which opened Friday in New York—I couldn’t resist.
We met in the hotel’s library, a masculinely decked out space with deep chairs, thick tables, and books no one will ever read. Besides being well-coiffed and well-clad, DT Jr. is:
• Confident. (“People said, ‘Isn’t it horrible they changed zoning code because of what you did?’ That’s the dumbest question I’ve ever heard.”)
• Affable. (“What drives me? My father calling at 5 a.m. asking why I’m not in the office!”)
• Self-deprecating. (“I’m probably the only graduate of the Wharton School of Finance to move to Colorado to work in a bar.”) Ok, kind of self-deprecating.
With the name Trump, you may not want to like him, but it was hard not to. And the hotel he’s helped create is kind of the same way. The 46-story, all-glass building is—to say the least—jarring in low-rise West SoHo (hence the need for zoning code changes). And the inevitable TRUMP sign out front fits in better at their Midtown property.
But the place manages to feel both hip and warm. The lobby (top) has 22-foot ceilings but also intimate seating areas. Spacious guest rooms are modern without being annoyingly so. And custom furnishings by Fendi Casa help make the place what DT Jr. calls “contextual”—the goal, he says, of all the Trump properties.
And then there are the views. Yes, I’m a sucker for a great view, and above the 19th floor here, it’s tough to find a bad one. West out over the Hudson, east to the bridges, even straight up 6th Ave. to the trees of Central Park, a full three miles away. (Lower down, the ballroom looks out onto a warehouse of storage lockers—but hey, I guess even the Trumps have to make compromises.)
In other words, you’ll be hearing more about Trump SoHo—and other hotels bearing the famous surname. Says Donald the Younger, “We want to take the hotel company to a whole new level and have a major hotel in every major market, both resort and cosmopolitan.”
Ambitious? Well, sure. After all, he is a Trump.
Rich Beattie is Travel + Leisure's online executive editor.