by Ron Bernthal
When I arrived at the Gansevoort on a recent Sunday afternoon there was a long line of young, fashionably dressed New Yorkers waiting to enter the hotel. At Pastis, the trendy French caf�/restaurant across the street, the outdoor tables were packed with a colorful array of diners, and a bit further down the block a group of local politicos and architects were preparing for the opening the next day of the High Line, a new, 20-block, elevated city park built atop the remains of a 1930’s railroad track.
The long line, as I would discover later, was for the Gansevoort’s popular Plunge Bar, a rooftop pool and bar where topless males and bikini-clad young women dance to live music and enjoy tropical drinks long into the summer night. The Plunge Bar and heated pool, with underwater music and colored lights, are quite busy on weekends, but hotel guests can enjoy a much quieter version during midweek hours.
The hotel doorman, who somehow figured out that I was not one of the partying model-types heading to the roof, directed me to the front desk, where check-in was handled quickly and efficiently by two friendly young women, both with smiles to die for and dressed in black Hugo Boss outfits.
The 14-story, 187-room Gansevoort, located in the middle of New York’s historic Meatpacking District, provides the same type of exciting room design and ambience you find on the cobblestone streets outside. My room was decorated in a comfortable minimalist style, with a nine-foot ceiling, earth-tone walls and bed coverings, and a nice 10th floor view of the Hudson River from the projecting bay windows. The queen bed had a feather mattress, high thread count Egyptian cotton linens, and a hypoallergenic down duvet. Internet access is wireless and complimentary throughout the hotel, and the room CD player comes equipped with three music CD’s, including the hotel’s own signature music.
My bathroom shower was slightly disappointing, as it lacked the sensual glass shower stall and rain shower hardware often found in upscale hotels, but the Rodney Cutler bath amenities, in their lovely oval-shaped containers, and the attractive ceramic counter top and deep stainless steel custom sink are nice features, as is the use of backlit translucent glass, in muted colors, that take the place of the traditional closet doors.
Breakfast is served at Ono. a 300-seat, critically acclaimed Japanese restaurant for lunch and dinner, but a calm, reasonably priced, morning venue for either a traditional breakfast fare of eggs, potatoes, and apple-wood smoked bacon, or delicious sliced mango and papaya and granola, or Irish oatmeal. Breakfast cocktails and fruit smoothies are also available. Ono’s interior, designed by Jeffrey Beers, is quite interesting, especially the large wall murals of women’s tattooed backs.
The Gansevoort, which opened in 2004, has a 24-hour fitness center, a full-service spa, and 17,000 square-feet of meeting and event space. Architect Stephen Jacobs covered the building’s exterior with striking zinc-colored metal panels, internally illuminated glass columns at its entrance, and included a large, wrap-around canopy in the front, reminiscent of the area’s late 19th-century meatpacking buildings, many of which have been converted into high-end fashion boutiques, French bistros, and artisan craft and design shops.
The hotel is within walking distance to three other wonderful New York neighborhoods, Greenwich Village, Tribeca, and SoHo, and to subway and bus lines that run uptown. The Gansevoort’s High Line package coincides with the opening of the new elevated city park just steps from the hotel’s front door. As a boutique hotel with a large corporate following, the property offers high-end amenities and a great location for both leisure and business travelers.
18 Ninth Avenue at 13th Street
New York, NY 10014
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