Get A Room
Not since the late nineties, when trendy boutique hotels were proliferating faster than you can say W, has Manhattan’s hotel scene been such a, well, scene. At least fourteen properties are scheduled to open by 2005, with a few of the most noteworthy taking reservations now. Chelsea welcomes two new residents in January: the teched-out Hotel Gansevoort (212-206-6700; from $325), with a rooftop pool, and the very affordable Sheraton Four Points (800-325-3535; from $169). Midtown’s Alex (212-867-5100; from $375) has just opened with 203 David Rockwell-designed rooms and the Marcus Samuelsson restaurant Riingo. Then, of course, there’s the new Mandarin Oriental (800-526-6566; from $595), the Time Warner Center gem sporting 251 rooms, a cushy spa, and enough glitz to outshine Trump’s place next door.
Bob the Builder
It seems a storied acting career, a pair of perennially successful restaurants, and a wildly popular film festival isn’t enough to keep a certain Tribeca resident busy. Who knew? Trying on a hotelier hat, Robert De Niro is furthering his revive-lower-Manhattan cause by building an 83-room luxury hotel at 377 Greenwich Street. The six-floor, brick-and-terra-cotta property is expected to open in late 2005 with swank rooms, a health club, and a 150-seat restaurant—no word yet on chef, cuisine, or secret reservations number.
Deal of the Week
Forget finding an affordable room in New York over the holidays; it’s challenging enough just to find a vacant one. Fortunately, all five W Hotels still have rooms available, with holiday packages starting at $249 a night (and they’ll toss in a $195 sterling-silver David Yurman ornament, to boot). Call 877-946-8357.
New York’s grandes dames catch spa fever.
•The Waldorf-Astoria opened its first spa in June, featuring a full men’s menu and a “Waldorf Salad gommage,’’ which exfoliates with ground walnuts and apples (212-872-4970).
•At the St. Regis’s luxe new wellness center, Thai massages and facials are complemented by groovy fitness equipment, like cardio machines outfitted with MP3 players (212-753-4500).
•The Four Seasons Hotel spent over $3 million renovating its spa, adding high-tech treatments as well as a classic men’s shave and a pedicure featuring milk and rose petals (212-350-6420).
•Beyond the usual spa offerings—seaweed wraps, body scrubs—the Plaza has personal trainers who will take you jogging through Central Park (212-546-5772).
Beth Landman Keil
If You’re Going To . . .
Forget Frette linens. The Block, a new hotel designed with snowboarders in mind, gives riders the amenities they really crave: Xboxes and PlayStation 2’s, free Wi-Fi, a sound system playing Verve remixes and underground hip-hop, and theme rooms designed by Jones Soda, Zoo York, and Vivid Video (530-544-2936; from $129).
The new Ritz-Carlton, South Beach, a $200 million restoration of Miami’s fifties-era DiLido Hotel, opens this month with 375 nautically inspired rooms, a stunning collection of original Art Moderne works, and a full-service spa (800-241-3333; from $299).
Visitors to the A-list Canadian Rockies resort now have a stylish place to rest their heads. Opening next week, the sleek Sundial Boutique Hotel offers 49 suites with full kitchens, gas fireplaces, sweeping mountain views, and close proximity to shops, restaurants, and bars (800-661-2321; from $212).
Lonely Planet’s new road-trip guides, geared toward the VW set, offer maps and cool itineraries that include quirky attractions as well as the best shabby-chic places to eat and sleep along well-traveled cruising routes like Napa and Sonoma wine country, California Highway 1, and Route 66 ($10 each).