29th Street: New York’s New Hotel Corridor?
Continuing the precedent set by the new Eventi of building hotels in unexpected Manhattan neighborhoods, the new Gansevoort Park Avenue will open on August 16 at the interesting but decidedly unhip corner of Park Avenue South at East 29th Street. In a sort of no-mans-land between Gramercy Park, Murray Hill, and Kips Bay (call it Grammurray Bay? Kipsmercy Hill?), the swanky new hotel may do for its neighborhood what its sister hotel, the Gansevoort, did for the now-ubertrendy Meatpacking District.
I have reason to be optimistic after taking a tour of the property last week. The interior design, with fabric-covered walls, faux stone, modern light fixtures, and earth-toned color scheme set off by unexpected blasts of royal blue, lime green, and rose was meant to “bring uptown and downtown together," according to designer Andi Pepper. Even the smallest guest rooms are good size; many have narrow balconies, some with views of the Empire State Building.
The three-level rooftop offers several bars with floor-to-ceiling windows and one set outdoors. My favorite: the Plunge Bar, more Moroccan than Midtown, with low leather club chairs, long colorful bench sofas, and drum tables. Just outside the bar is the hotel’s swimming pool, with gorgeous rooftop views and, staring up from the bottom of the pool, a painting of 1940s-era pin-up girl.
The hotel will open in stages. In October the hotel will debut its restaurant, Asellina, a 250-seater with a Sardinian chef. It’s all impressive. But whether Grammurray Bay will become the next Meatpacking District is still up in the air.
Smart Traveler Mark Orwoll is also the international editor at Travel + Leisure.