Hotel Spotlight

Royalton Is the Intimate Boutique in the Heart of NYC

by Keta Bagashvili
Royalton The dark and intimate lobby at Royalton Hotel. All photos courtesy of Royalton Hotel.

Royalton Hotel
New York, New York
Cozy, $$
Looking for a quiet place to rest your head in Midtown Manhattan? Royalton Hotel is a debonair, four-star property mere steps from the hustle of Times Square, Bryant Park, Fifth Avenue, and the meetings that business travelers need to have in the neighborhood. And it has quite the hospitality pedigree: When it opened in 1988 as a buzzy collaboration between hotelier Ian Schrager and designer Philippe Starck, the Royalton was at the forefront of the global boutique hotel trend. Its restaurant was the epicenter of media power lunching; the long catwalk lobby was a home base for the global fashion crowd. In recent years, the hotel has tried to keep its recapture the magic under new management, with a yacht-club-inspired facelift by of-the-moment designers Roman and Williams. And while the first floor is sleek, the rooms are light and comfortable, many with wood-burning fireplaces, a rarity in Manhattan. In all, it's a good choice for hiding out in the middle of the city crush.

The lobby.
The solarium in Penthouse North.
City view alcove rooms have queen- or king-sized beds.

At a Glance

Vibe: A pocket of dark, intimate, sophisticated calm in the center of one of NYC's busiest neighborhoods.

Standout Detail: The catwalk-style lobby and its strikingly long fireplace.

This Place Is Perfect For: Cool tourists and business travelers who don't want to stay in a giant chain hotel, but still want to be close to their meetings in Midtown.

Rooms: 168 rooms have low-lying mahogany beds with porthole cutouts in the headboards, curved walls, wood-burning fireplaces, wall-to-wall suede sofas, WiFi, a working table, ambient lighting, and huge bathtubs adorned with reflective tiles that recall the disco balls from Schrager’s East Village bar, No Malice Palace.

On-Site: An in-house restaurant, two bars, 24-hour fitness center, and a small conference room.

Food + Drink: The hotel doesn’t offer room service, but you won’t go hungry. Close to the 43rd Street entrance, Restaurant Forty Four serves classic club grub for lunch (hamburgers, sandwiches, and melted cheese on everything) and bistro fare for dinner. The hotel was famous for its tomato soup, which had been cooked by the same chef for decades. But new management took it off the menu — and saw sales drop. Needless to say, it’s back on. Bar 44 does breakfast until noon and cocktails in the evening. The nautical theme is notable in the globe lights, netting-like architectural details, wood columns, and sea blue textiles. Another bar at the 44th Street entrance feels quieter and slightly hidden, though the best place for a cocktail may be around the lobby’s nearly twenty-foot-long fireplace.

The bathroom in Penthouse East.
Restaurant Forty Four.

Bar 44.

What to Do Nearby

The hotel is steps from Times Square, Theater District, Rockefeller Center, Bryant Park, and the 42nd Street Library with its incredible reading rooms and art installations. For a cool souvenir, stop at beloved Asian bookstore Kinokuniya or hit the flagship boutiques (Henri Bendel, Bulgari, Bergdorf Goodman) along Fifth Avenue. When hunger strikes, grab breakfast at the new Blue Box Cafe at Tiffany and Co. or an unforgettable meal at Le Bernardin.

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