The High Line, Chelsea Piers, Hudson River Park, and several galleries, shops, cafes and restaurants are close by
A, C, E and L trains one block away
While the pool is open year-round, its bar and grill is closed during winter months
No official spa, just treatment rooms in the gym
No free breakfast provided
Hotel is right across the street from construction garage
The 316-room Dream Downtown is a futuristic-looking hotel located directly behind the Maritime in Chelsea, near the border with the trendy Meatpacking District. The hotel blends public spaces together in a unique way: The fitness center has portholes overlooking the pool, and the pool itself has a glass bottom that looks down into the lobby. The hotel's scene is decidedly hip, especially at rooftop PH-D lounge (a popular celeb haunt). Gold King rooms have portholes surrounding the bed with killer views. Aside from the pool, nightclub, and snazzy interior decor, hotel features include a 24-hour gym, IGK luxury hair salon, a rotating art exhibit space, and two Mexican eateries. It's easily one of the hippest options in this area, and has edgier design than the nearby Gansevoort and Maritime.
The industrial-meets-luxury hotel perfect for trendsetters and partiers alike
The Dream Downtown, part of the Vikram Chatwal Hotel chain, has high-design modern style with plenty of playful nods to the building's history as a maritime operations center (the Maritime Hotel operates the other half of the structure). Specifically, there are porthole windows on the modernist facade, and glass windows in the bottom of the pool, overlooking the lobby. Even though the hotel only opened in 2012, major renovations to the lobby and restaurant areas took place in 2014, and some of the more aggressively futuristic elements of the design (a turnoff to some) were toned down. The slightly cheesy metallic furniture was replaced, and the space now has a more eclectic, bohemian feel, with tasteful velvet chairs, cowhide benches, psychedelic print footstools, button sofas and ottomans (that are still a bit shiny), wood panel walls, funky hanging light orbs, and an American flag beer can wall mural. Designers were mindful of all opportunities to maximize use of negative space, even installing a cozy sitting garden in the crevice right outside the lobby and underneath the stairs that lead up to the pool area. The rooms remain unchanged, and though they're high-design and beautiful, the slightly Jetson-esque aesthetic may not suit all tastes.
Commuter-friendly locale between Manhattan's socially diverse and stylish Meatpacking District and Chelsea neighborhoods
The Dream Downtown is tucked away from the hustle and bustle of Midtown on a relatively understated block in lower Manhattan. It's a bizarre structure on the block, actually. Dream's chrome, boxy figure perforated by five rows of portholes sticks out from the row of slender apartment buildings and brick high-rises surrounding it.
The hotel lies between the city's Chelsea and Meatpacking District neighborhoods, which offer a wide variety of attractions including the High Line park, the School of Visual Arts, Atlantic Theater Company, Chelsea Piers, Hudson River Park, Union Square and a host of cafes, shops, theaters, restaurants and art galleries. There's even a playground and park down the block for children to enjoy. The A, C, E and L trains are also one block away for accessing the rest of the city.
Sterile and ultra-modern with automated features, textured decor, artwork, and city-view porthole windows
Dream Downtown's 316 rooms and suites are stylish and futuristic. All rooms -- classified into Gold, Bronze, Silver and Platinum categories -- follow a crisp white color scheme with metallic accents. Snow white king, queen and full-size beds, perforated white headboards, furniture and quilted couches pop against the slate gray walls and silvery curtains. Block nightstands are topped with LCD-screen phones, quirky lamps, and alarm clocks. Porthole windows -- many with views of the city -- allow plenty of sunlight to bathe the rooms, making the space look even more sterile while illuminated, and the round porthole shape is echoed in the furniture (specifically, in the holes in the headboard and nightstands). Cowhide ottomans, blue and brown Persian rugs, brown leather chairs and Richard Phillips art portraits (which were featured on the popular TV show "Gossip Girl") soften the aesthetic. Certain higher-level rooms offer Juliet balconies overlooking the pool area or West 16th Street.
Aside from the impressive closet minibars and flat-screen TVs, all rooms are equipped with a state-of-the-art automated system that includes light dimmers, privacy locks, voicemail messages, and more. Bathrooms follow a metallic design scheme with stainless steal sink countertops and bathtubs, shiny silver mosaic tile walls, and chain-link shower curtains. In addition to traditional hotel offerings of soaps, shampoos and lotions, toiletries include dental and shaving kits with mouthwash, Q-tips and cotton balls.
A rooftop nightclub, restaurants, an art exhibit, and posh salon, but no spa
At the Dream Downtown, there are no shortage of property features. The IGK salon featuring celebrity hair stylists Franck and Leo Izquierdo borders the Morrison Hotel Gallery. During our visit, the rotating art exhibit space housed portraits by Chris Stein (all of which are available for purchase) and a massive 3D installment by Subodh Gupta.
While unfortunately there is no spa, there is a 24-hour fitness facility -- which overlooks "The Beach," Dream's pool area -- that has huge showers and treatment rooms for personal massages. The gym room contains two treadmills, two stair climbers, two arm strength and resistance machines, a bicycle, exercise balls, medicine balls, yoga mats, free weights, plenty of towels and free bottled water.
Dream's trendy rooftop club, PH-D, offers breathtaking views of the Manhattan skyline. While this part of the hotel is open to the public, guests get preferential access -- a major boon at this exclusive spot, which has attracted the likes of Jay-Z, Beyonce, Victoria Secret Fashion Show models, and major DJs.
Bodega Negra and Bodega Negra Cafe -- the hotel's on-site eateries -- provide sit-in and on-the-go Mexican cuisine options. The dimly lit Bodega Negra is is outfitted with guitars, guillotines, sombreros and tennis rackets along its walls and ceilings. Mexican blankets serve as doorway curtains and chair cushions. A plethora of melted candles on all the tables and shelves sets the ambiance, while old barrel bottoms along the wall house the remaining light fixtures. Two of the booths are surrounded by a decorative mosaic of miniature mirrors and a huge rotating disco ball covered in copper pennies accents the room. The much quainter cafe looks more like a diner with its checkered ceilings, glass brick front wall, posters on the wall, simpler seating arrangements, and take-out counter. Depending on the day, the Bodega Negra bar offers happy hour specials and free sangrias and margaritas for hotel guests.
Additionally, there is free Wi-Fi available, pets up to 25 pounds are allowed to stay for a fee, and during winter months, the lobby offers hot chocolate and hot apple cider (but no breakfast).
"The Beach" brings a taste of the tropics to the concrete jungle
Nestled quietly in between the hotel's North and South towers is an aquatic little escape from industrial Manhattan. The Beach, as the 4,800 square foot pool area is appropriately called, features an umbrella-covered seating area, wispy bamboo shoots, a hanging string of bulbs, lounge chairs around the periphery of the four-foot-deep pool, an overhead mural, and private cabanas with TVs and seasonally imported sand. Some lower-level room types have walk-out patio access to the pool. The heated pool is open all year round -- which means the polar bear swimmers are quite welcome here -- but the accompanying poolside bar and grill is closed for the late fall and winter season (the lobby bar and lounge picks up on this duty). As an added quirk, the bottom of the pool is see-through, providing a view of the lobby directly below.