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Best New York hotels: Gansevoort Park Avenue NYC
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Best New York hotels: Wythe Hotel
Hotel bars have always had a whiff of glamour, and at the current crop of cool New York hotels the cognoscenti rub shoulders with stylish out-of-towners. The Standard has one of the best New York lounges, while hipster hub Williamsburg now has a boutique hotel befitting its status.
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Bourgeois hipsters tired of crashing on couches will appreciate the New York outpost of the cool chainlet founded in Seattle by a pair of DJs. The lobby bar is always rocking with an eclectic crowd, and the hotel's two no-reservations restaurants helmed by chef April Bloomfield, the Breslin Bar & Dining Room and the John Dory Oyster Bar, are worth the inevitable wait. The music influence is clear: Many of the rooms in the 1904 building boast playful amenities like functioning turntables, stacks of vinyl and gleaming Gibson guitars.
The Gansevoort brought the tri-level rooftop pool-lounge-playground concept that's been making waves at its Meatpacking District property since 2004 to its newer Gramercy address. Get cozy on a double lounger by the rooftop pool (a glassed-in area is kept at a balmy 85 degrees during the chillier months), then swim through the bath-temperature water to an open view of the Empire State Building. When it's time for a cocktail, choose from one of four lounges—the Red Room has padded plum satin walls and floating banquettes topped with mini dance floors where you can live out your go-go-dancer fantasies (DJs preside over the space Friday and Saturday nights).
The expansion of this private members' club may have diluted its air of exclusivity (there are now branches in L.A., Miami, Berlin and Toronto, in addition to New York and the original London locations), but you could still jostle an A-list elbow at the bar. Designed as a place for creative types to relax, socialize and work, the converted warehouse space is split into six levels, housing a spa, a library, a screening room, a restaurant and bar—complete with a wood-burning fireplace—and a rooftop pool.
André Balazs’s lauded West Coast mini-chain arrived in New York in early 2009. Straddling the High Line, the retro 18-story structure has been configured to give each room an exhilarating view, either of the river or a midtown cityscape. Eating and drinking options include a chop house, a beer garden and the decadent top-floor Le Bain nightclub, where you can loll in the jumbo Jacuzzi with a cocktail and admire 180-degree views of the Hudson.
The Wythe may not be the first boutique hotel in Williamsburg, but it’s the first to capture the neighborhood’s elusive hip factor. Since the launch team includes Andrew Tarlow, the restaurateur behind popular local eateries Diner and Marlow & Sons, it’s not surprising that the sprawling ground-floor restaurant, Reynards, was an instant hit. Deejayed parties on the sixth-floor bar aside, the Wythe literally rocks: The hotel accommodates the ’Burg’s many touring bands in special quarters that sleep four to six.