Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
A small luxury hotel right off of Times Square, with colorful history and a 1920s Art Deco theme
In 1905, celebrated American architect Stanford White (the Washington Square Arch; Madison Square Garden) completed construction of 130 West 44th Street for The Lambs, a very prestigious theatrical society that formed in 1874. (Members included John Barrymore, Charlie Chaplin, and Fred Astaire.) The six-story neo-Georgian building was home to a banquet hall, a small theater, a billiard room, and a grill room. Ten years later (by which time White had been famously murdered by his mistress' husband) the building was doubled in size, the addition an exact mirror image of the original structure.
Today, more than 100 years since The Lambs settled into their quarters, the historic building has been transformed into Times Square's most luxurious hotel. On a relatively calm block, just steps from the heart of Times Square, black wrought-iron fencing and a classic stone facade give way to timeless Art Deco interiors by renowned designer Thierry Despont, whose design makes you feel like you've stepped back in time to Prohibition-era New York (think: chrome detailing, oak wall paneling, a sepia-toned mural). And hotel planners worked closely with New York's Landmarks Preservation Commission to ensure that the building achieved landmark status: The original facade is still intact, as is an 18th-century French fireplace that was a gift from White to the Lambs, and two other fireplaces from the original building. The busy, high-end restaurant (with an adjacent lobby bar) on the first floor helps give the impression that this is the type of place to see and be seen.
The 76-room Chatwal hotel is the first hotel in what is expected to be a new line of luxury hotels from hotelier Sant Chatwal, whose son Vikram Chatwal owns Dream, Stay, and Night. The hotel joined the Luxury Collection by Starwood Hotels and Resorts in April 2011.
Half a block from Times Square, but not so close as to be woken up by the lights or traffic.
The Chatwal is just steps from Times Square on the relatively quiet West 44th Street. The street feels like a passageway between tourist-focused Times Square and the businessman's Midtown West. The block is full of hotels, a few restaurants, and some historic buildings (like the Belasco Theater).
The attractive rooms blend modern comforts with 1920s-era "cards and cocktails" touches
The rooms here meet all of the modern luxury standards -- Frette sheets and towels, down duvets and pillows by Down Etc -- but they also include fun, playful touches that bring guests back to the 1920s. The closets and desk are covered in pebbled leather, both designed to look like trunks you would have seen on a steamship in the early 20th century, and the desk top lifts up to reveal a lighted vanity. The coffee table holds a backgammon set. The mini-bar includes a box of candy cigarettes (which bare a striking resemblance to Lucky Strikes), Pastiglie Leone mints, a pack of cool old-fashioned playing cards (for a hefty fee), and books like The Great Gatsby (as well as magazines -- a modern touch I appreciated). And the desk has postcards decorated with Vargas pin-up girls.
All rooms have:
A small, lovely spa with a "lap pool" and a tiny fitness center. No business center, though.
A popular, see-and-be-seen restaurant by Geoffrey Zakarian
Chef and restaurateur Geoffrey Zakarian opened The Lambs Club Restaurant and Bar in the hotel, named after the building's original patrons. The small space has a clubby, old boys' club feel to it, with red leather chairs and banquettes, Art Deco decor that matches the lobby (lamps shaped like tall martini classes), and an 18th-century French fireplace that was a gift from the building's designer in 1905.
This 76-room luxury hotel in a landmark building near Times Square evokes the glamorous 1920s. Rooms combine high quality linens and beds with playful 1920s touches like backgammon sets, custom playing cards, and desks that look like steamer trunks. A restaurant by Geoffrey Zakarian and a small, lovely spa are the hotel's stand-out features.