The NoMad Hotel
1170 Broadway, New York; 212-796-1500; thenomadhotel.com; 168 rooms starting at $335 (U.S.); 13 suites starting at $595 (U.S.).
What was a 1903 beaux arts office building is now the oh-so-stylish 12-storey NoMad Hotel, where you'll find anyone wanting to be seen making the scene inside its consistently packed library bar. Named for its location (No)rth of (Mad)ison Square Park, a neighbourhood on the cusp of change, the sumptuously designed 168-room luxury property is itself a figure of inspired transformation. The gilt-edged Edwardian interior contrasts sharply with the rag traders and wholesalers still crowding Broadway, making the hotel feel like a sanctuary of bohemian chic.
Situated between the Flatiron Building to the south and Times Square to the north, both less than a 15-minute walk away, the NoMad is close to shopping, great restaurants, tourist sights and Broadway theatres. The subway is steps from the hotel entrance, but NoMad also offers guests bikes to ride during their stay, making exploration easy.
The NoMad is a little bit of Paris in New York. French designer Jacques Garcia's opulent and dreamy interior drips with patterned wallpaper and velvet settees, with an imposing marble fireplace and 200-year-old spiral staircase both imported from France. Original wood floors are covered in artfully worn Persian rugs and the walls with flocked wallpaper featuring travel-inspired art curated by Be-pôles, the graphic design house whose other clients include Louis Vuitton and the Theâtre des Champs-Élysées.
I loved the lobby bar – it's a stunning seven metres of mahogany backed by a sleek wall of wood and high-end booze. In the morning, the bar transforms into an intimate, light-saturated breakfast room where guests lounge on sofas as they linger over a newspaper and espresso.
WHOM YOU'LL MEET
Amid the peacock feathers and heavy draperies you may find Suzanne Timmins, fashion director at the Bay and Lord & Taylor. "It's my home away from home," she says. (Being amid the chic crowd at the NoMad likely helps her spot the latest trends.) Upping the cool quotient is hip Paris fashion and music label Maison Kitsuné, whose first New York retail store is in the lobby (find it sharing space with Canadian luxury leather goods brand WANT Les Essentials de la Vie).
EAT IN OR EAT OUT?
Definitely eat in. The people behind the three-Michelin star Eleven Madison Park have opened a restaurant in the lobby. On the menu you'll find the renowned $78 chicken for two: It's stuffed with brioche, black truffles and foie gras, and is a signature dish for chef Daniel Humm and restaurateur Will Guidara. The exquisitely roasted bird is so popular, Brooklyn Brewery created Le Poulet, a new brew with which to wash it down.
IF I COULD CHANGE ONE THING
For a hotel of this expense and calibre, the service level needs to improve dramatically. Upon arrival I received no help with my bags and no escort to my room. The front desk staff also tend to be more perfunctory than polite: I received no smile when I asked for information and then no real answer to my question. NoMad is a gorgeous hotel, but looks aren't everything.
The writer was a guest of the hotel.