The Hotel: Stay.
On a Map: 157 West 47th Street (between Sixth and Seventh Avenues)
The Neighborhood: When I got off of the subway at 42 Street, Times Square, chaos was all around me. That statement probably sounds pretty sinister so let me put it another way: Quite simply, this is the New York City most tourists know. Times Square is the main thoroughfare for chain restaurants and larger-than-life versions of stores (think Toys R Us on steroids). For theatergoers, one attraction of interest is the TKTS stand, which sells discounted tickets for Broadway shows. (Needless to say, when I walked by at 5 p.m. on a Tuesday, the line was fairly long. As could be said for most operations in existence to help save cash, try to get there early for the best deals.)
Although Stay., a hip hotel by Vikram Chatwal in Midtown, definitely feels the pulse of its surroundings, once I walked onto 47th street the crowds had died down considerably.
First Impressions: Stay. is the epitome of cool—even down to the simple period after the name. Meant to be a good option for savvy travelers who value cool design but don’t want to fork over half a paycheck, nothing screamed “traveler on a budget.” Downtempo music emanated from the lobby, which featured a cool Medusa snake-like white glass chandelier, which reminded me of my days studying glass artist Dale Chihuly’s work in college. The aquarium in the lobby was also a pretty cool touch.
A Room with a View: Remember when I mentioned the neighborhood, right? Don’t expect picturesque Central Park vistas. I saw double room 201, which was a good size and faced 47th street. The design was sleek, with Hermès orange bed sashes on crisp white sheets. The splash of orange was continued in the artwork, which was reminiscent of black and white fashion and landscape photography with a dash of color. Nice touch: The room was on the second floor but was dead silent due to the soundproof windows.
Is It Worth It? Yep! I think this hotel caters to most types of travelers who value things like design elements and everything modern. This is not the hotel your grandparents stayed in, so if you are a traveler who wants old school New York (think china tea sets, wall tapestries and floral upholstery) go closer to Fifth Avenue and Central Park. I think the ultra-cool common areas are the biggest draw. I stayed for a drink and a few appetizers at Aspen Social Club. The food alone was amazing—try the polenta fries—and the space pairs a rustic holiday in Colorado with a trendy New York atmosphere. The ceiling is salvaged barn wood and the leather chairs are by local designers in Brooklyn.