New Boutique Hotels in Manhattan Draw Millennial Travelers

The Whitby is a contemporary art-inspired hotel with 86 individually designed rooms, some with skyline views.

When Millennials wish to experience a destination “like a local,” one of the first considerations is a hotel that will set the right tone. Many Gen-Y travelers seek out boutique and lifestyle-brand hotels or other accommodations that are not “cookie cutter” in design or feel. These types of properties are becoming more and more prevalent in Manhattan, popping up amid the mega-hotels and other skyscrapers. The following recent and upcoming openings have the bonus of being within minutes of several exciting new attractions and experiences.

Firmdale Hotels’ new The Whitby, for example, is a contemporary art-inspired hotel with 86 individually designed rooms, some with skyline views. Each of The Whitby’s guestrooms and suites sports a colorful, carefree style and has floor-to-ceiling windows. Some even have private terraces. The Whitby Suite is the top accommodation: a two-bedroom unit on the top floor with furnished terraces. Its bathrooms are finished in marble or granite and are stocked with Firmdale’s exclusive bath and body collection.

The Whitby Bar has a 30-foot pewter bar, gray oak floors, warehouse-style windows and vaulted ceilings with a skylight. The hotel also has its own 130-seat cinema.

The Whitby, which opened in February, is Firmdale’s second New York hotel (the other is the popular Crosby Street Hotel in SoHo) and is minutes away by foot from Central Park, the Museum of Modern Art, Rockefeller Center and Fifth Avenue’s luxury shops, and also a short stroll from the Theater District.

Adjacent to Bryant Park and Times Square, the LUMA Hotel is set to open in late April with rooms that have platform beds, L-shaped sofa beds, smart TVs and large windows with electronic control sheer and blackout shades. The hotel will also house the Ortzi restaurant with selected menus by Chef Jose Garces. Bonus: Guest can have handmade chocolates by Garces Group delivered to their room.

Health-conscious Millennials should appreciate that LUMA guests have complimentary access to Blink Fitness at Bryant Park. Additionally, the park hosts free public boot camps, yoga and Tai Chi classes, though schedules vary depending on the time of year.

Don’t let its size — 612 rooms — fool you. Moxy Times Square is set to be the New York City debut of the Marriott lifestyle brand, which strives for a free-spirited, boutique feel with the social heart of a hostel. Each room is outfitted with walk-in rain showers and built-in design features free Wi-Fi plus personal screen casting — YouTube, Hulu, Netflix, Pandora and more. Moxy will also have a seafood restaurant, a Grab N Go market, an all-day breakfast café, a lobby bar and lounge, and an indoor/outdoor rooftop lounge.

The Moxy, scheduled to open in late summer this year, is actually a few blocks south of Times Square proper, so independent-minded Millennials can avoid the touristy area if they wish as they set about to explore Manhattan, yet still have Broadway theaters just a few minutes away by foot.

For those who want to be smack in the middle of everything, the new-build Times Square Edition Hotel at West 47th and 7th Avenue is another forthcoming hotel whose large inventory (452 rooms occupying 21 floors) belies its boutique personality. When opened, it will have 100,000 square feet of retail, dining, entertainment and event space, and an 18,000-square-foot HD LED sign wrapping around the bottom corner of the building. The hotel will be Manhattan’s second Edition; the first occupies the landmark Clock Tower overlooking Madison Square Park, home of the original Shake Shack.

The DoubleTree by Hilton New York City — Times Square West, which opened in February, is worth visiting for its 4,000-square-foot Lovage Rooftop and Indoor Lounge, which has 17-foot-tall floor-to-ceiling windows and a glass roof. If your Millennial clients want to celebrate a milestone occasion and invite all their friends, they can book the Lovage all for themselves — with room for 300 people.

A little farther south in the Garment District, the year-old Renaissance New York Midtown Hotel is interactive and visually changes with the seasons. Its “intelligent” hallways respond to human movement with digital murals and also play subtle sounds to create a futuristic ambiance. The out-of-the-box elements continue inside the guestrooms, where travelers can find hidden artwork in their cupboards.

Also in the Garment District, Embassy Suites New York — now accepting reservations for October 2 and beyond — soars 39 stories, and is topped by Sky Suites that afford lofty views of the city. The hotel also has an outdoor space dubbed the Sky Lawn Café.

Latest in Midtown Experiences

From cool to kitschy, there’s always something new to experience in “The City That Never Sleeps.” Perhaps the most eye-opening one is at the Empire State Building, where guests can now enjoy 360-degree views from the 86th-floor observation deck as early as 5:30 a.m. with the new Sunrise Experience. Alternatively, they can stargaze until 2 a.m.

Gulliver’s Gate in the heart of Times Square is a brand new interactive attraction with more than 300 miniature buildings and 3-D printed replicas of New York and other world cities. Madame Tussauds recently unveiled an 18-foot-high interactive head of King Kong as part of their new exhibit, KONG: Skull Island Experience. In July, Opry City Stage will bring Nashville to the Theater District.

November will see the debut of NFL Experience Times Square that will present 4-D films with exclusive footage, interactive displays of NFL training and game plans, physical challenges and memorabilia. Also later this fall, National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey will virtually take visitors to the depths of the Pacific Ocean, where they can interact with marine wildlife.

Recent dining innovations include James Beard award-winning Chef Todd English’s The Stinger Cocktail Bar & Kitchen inside the InterContinental New York Times Square Hotel (with a cocktail program led by mixologist Francesco Lafranconi) and, inside Grand Central Terminal (a two-minute shuttle train ride from Times Square), Chef Claus Meyer’s Great Northern Food Hall presents Nordic-inspired cuisine spread over 5,000 square feet.