Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
14-story Midtown boutique with a hip Downtown vibe
The Gershwin Hotel may have a private gallery, while the Washingon Square Hotel and Hotel Chelsea wouldn't be the same without their collections of homespun art, but Hotel Chambers, a 77-room Midtown East boutique, trumps even these legendary hotels with its collection of more than 500 original pieces of contemporary art in the lobby and guest rooms. The handsome property opened in 2001 as the brainchild of three hoteliers: Ira Drukier, Richard Born, and Steve Caspi -- responsible for many of the beloved boutiques in the city, including the Bowery and the Maritine, but Hotel Chambers is in a class of its own. From the fine walnut floor covered with Tibetan and Turkish rugs and the working two-story gas fireplace in the lobby, to the front desk made of parchment and Macascar Ebony and the leather- and mohair-upholstered couches, the details of this hotel have been as carefully curated as the works of art.
Art work is everywhere. Nearly every hallway of this 14-floor building is a de facto art gallery. The mezzanine level features a huge collection of coffee-table books on art, photography, design, and travel. There's original work hung throughout the lobby and in all of the guest rooms, too. Walls across from the elevators are painted with bright and elaborate murals featuring everything from birds to knights.
Located in bustling, tourist-friendly Midtown East -- three blocks from Central Park
The Chambers Hotel is located on a fairly quiet side street -- 56th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues -- in Midtown West, famous for its plethora of flagship luxury stores and mid-range shops. The hotel is also just a few blocks from the tony, residential Upper East Side and three blocks from Central Park, the world-famous 843-acre haven for the urban outdoorsman. Leisure guests will value the hotel's proximity to spots like Radio City Music Hall, Rockefeller Center, and the MOMA -- all within a six block radius. Columbus Circle and the Time Warner Center are about a pleasant 10-minute walk east on Central Park South.
Shopping is a popular pastime near Chambers, since the hotel is located close to the three Bs: Bloomingdales, Barney's, and Bergdorf Goodman's -- as well as plenty of other popular high and midrange shops, from Tiffany's & Co to the Apple Store.
Since the hotel is located in what is considered primarily a business district, crowds do tend to dissipate at night, but guests shouldn't feel threatened -- this neighborhood is plenty safe, if not a little dull in the evenings.Transportation is easily accessible. A doorman is always available to hail a yellow cab for guests, and access to numerous subway lines -- the F, N, R, B, Q, 4, 5, 6 -- are within three to five blocks. Parking is available on-site but expect to pay a pretty penny for it.
Relaxing rooms with platform beds design concept bathrooms
There are 77 guest rooms and suites at Chambers Hotel and each one is a little different in terms of layout, size, original artwork, and view -- but all are decorated with high-quality wood furniture and floors, purple and brown accents, and platform beds dressed in Frette sheets and lovely lavender chambray Fili D'Oro pillow shams. Standard Rooms are the smallest but still quite spacious by New York standards, with tall windows and a green armchair and ottoman, plus a large work desk. These rooms are carpeted. Bathrooms get high marks for water pressure in glass encased rainhead showers, concrete floors, and stylish bowl sinks. Fun extras include orange slippers, gourmet minibars, and free bottled water. All Standard Rooms look out onto the brick side of a neighboring building. Upgrade to a Deluxe Room for floor-to-ceiling windows on two walls and views of 5th Avenue or 56th Street. Suites are over-the-top spacious and divided into two levels via a wooden staircase. Some of them have huge furnished terraces overlooking the city. Technology here is pretty great, too. Rooms come with a wall-mounted 42-inch plasma flat-screen TV, iPod docks, fully loaded iPad, DVD player, and in-room safes large enough for laptops. Noise and cleanliness aren't issues here.
This little boutique packs a punch with lots of memorable freebies
This small boutique may lack the traditional features of a high-end boutique like an on-site fitness center or business center, but what it offers is thoughtful and a great value -- like free passes to a nearby New York Healthy & Racquet Club (with swimming pool), free Wi-Fi, and iPads to borrow. The hotel also offers in-room yoga instruction and massages. A fax machine and printer are available on request. A DVD library has an extensive list of titles with everything from art house to indie to old classics.
David Chang's Ma Peche, Milk Bar, and room service
Celebrity chef David Chang (of Momofuku fame) opened Ma Peche at the hotel in 2009. The restaurant serves French-Vietnamese dishes like beef tartare and rice noodles with spicy pork in the intimate main dining room for lunch and dinner, and breakfast is served on the mezzanine. The Milk Bar dessert counter serves inventive cookies, cakes, pies, and breads -- along with specialty coffees. A limited version of the Ma Peche menu is available from room service until late at night. Most guests take advantage of the plethora of fine dining, hot dog carts, and ethnic restaurants around the hotel. Concierge can offer recommendations and snag table reservations at hot spots.
Between the contemporary art (even in the guest rooms) and the high-design lobby, this luxury boutique feels as much like a SoHo gallery as a hotel. Central Park, the Museum of Modern Art, and Fifth Avenue are all within a three block radius. The cheapest rooms might feel like a tight squeeze but they're spacious for New York standards and lofted suites with expansive balconies are more like luxury apartments than hotel rooms. David Chang's Ma Peche restaurant and Milk Bar are hot spots for Manhattanites and hotel guests. There isn't a fitness center but guests get free passes to a nearby gym and pool. Chambers Hotel is a rare find for the Midtown East neighborhood. Though prices are high, most hotels in this neighborhood (St. Regis New York, The Peninsula New York, Four Seasons New York) are even higher and they don't offer room service by David Chang.