Celebrity hair salon IGK borders art-gallery space
Turndown service and twice-daily housekeeping
Free Wi-Fi throughout
Noise from various on-site hot spots can be heard in some rooms
Some guests find the automated lighting panel system frustrating
No business center
While the pool is open year round, its bar and grill is closed during winter months
There is often a wait list for pool loungers
No official spa, just treatment rooms in the gym
No sauna or steam room in gym
The 316-room Dream Downtown is a futuristic-looking hotel located directly behind the Maritime Hotel in Chelsea, near the border of trendy Meatpacking District. The hotel blends public spaces together in a unique way: The 24-hour fitness center has portholes overlooking the pool, and the pool itself has a glass bottom that looks down into the lobby. Design is no less important in the rooms, which are heavy on hyper-modern style (sleek white sofas, wall-mounted shelf desks, flat-screen LED TVs, chrome lamps) and have porthole windows -- many with killer views. The hotel's scene is decidedly hip, whether at the pool deck, rooftop lounge, basement bar and club, or sleek Japanese restaurant. Aside from these hot spots, the hotel also features a luxury hair salon, an art exhibition space with rotating works, and a Mexican eatery. It's easily one of the hippest options in this area, and has edgier design than the nearby Gansevoort, but lacks Gansevoort's middle-of-Meatpacking location.
The industrial-meets-luxury hotel is perfect for partiers and the trend-conscious
The Dream Downtown, part of the Dream Hotel Group, 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 2011, 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 velvet chairs, cowhide benches, button sofas and ottomans, funky suspended orb lighting. An American flag mural is fashioned by Tecate beer cans. 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, though, and their slightly Jetson-esque aesthetic may not suit all tastes.
Commuter-friendly locale between Manhattan's 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. The A, C, E, and L trains are also one block away (at the 14th St. Station on Eighth Avenue) for accessing the rest of the city.
Two-minute walk to Chelsea Market
Four-minute walk to the High Line
Eight-minute walk to Whitney Museum of American Art
11-minute walk to Chelsea Piers and Hudson River Park
Ultra-modern with automated systems, textured decor, and city-view porthole windows
Dream Downtown's 316 rooms and suites are stylish and futuristic; their look strikes most guests as sexy and sleek, but others as sterile. All rooms -- classified into Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum categories -- follow a crisp white and gray color scheme with metallic accents. Snow-white king, queen, and full-size beds with perforated white headboards and white tufted sofas pop against the silvery blackout curtains and slate-colored marble-print carpets. LCD-screen phones and Tivoli radios top block nightstands with porthole-like cutouts and 40-inch Samsung LED Smart TVs are mounted above minimalist shelf desks on textured gray walls. Porthole windows -- many with views of the city -- allow plenty of sunlight to bathe the rooms, and their round shapes are echoed in the furniture (specifically, by the holes in the headboards and nightstands). The sharp aesthetic is softened in some rooms with artfully distressed Persian area rugs, cowhide ottomans, brown leather chairs, and contemporary artwork (Richard Phillips portraits, featured on the popular TV show "Gossip Girl"). Certain higher-level rooms offer Juliet balconies overlooking the pool area or West 16th Street.
Aside from the impressive closet minibars, all rooms are equipped with automated systems that includes privacy locks and voicemail messages. Light dimmers are also on this system, and some guests have found themselves missing traditional light switches. Bathrooms follow a metallic design scheme with stainless-steel sink countertops, white penny-tile walls and floors, and metal chain-link shower curtains (which look cool, but aren't particularly effective at keeping water strictly within the walk-in shower). 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 lounge, underground club, two restaurants, and a posh salon (but no spa)
While there is no spa at Dream Downtown, there is a high-end hair salon, IGK, bordering an art gallery space with rotating exhibits. There are also huge showers and massage rooms at the 24-hour fitness facility, which overlooks "the Beach," Dream's 5,000-square-foot pool deck. The gym contains treadmills, stair climbers, arm-strength and resistance machines, a bicycle, exercise balls, medicine balls, yoga mats, free weights, and towels.
Dream's trendy rooftop club, PHD, 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 rap stars, Victoria's Secret models, and major DJs. The subterranean rock-music club, The Electric Room, has cocktails and cool British-pub decor (picture distressed-leather Chesterfield sofas emblazoned with Union Jack flags and antique mirrors painted with graffiti-like Queen's Guard imagery).
Bodega Negra and Megu, the hotel's on-site eateries, provide Mexican and Japanese cuisine, respectively. The dimly lit Bodega Negra 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 tables and shelves, plus light fixtures housed in old barrel bottoms along the wall, set the ambiance. Two of the booths are surrounded by a decorative mirror mosaic and a huge rotating disco ball covered in copper pennies accents the room. Mirrors and low lights also define the aesthetic at Megu, the clubby and high-end Japanese restaurant that opened in September 2016. Guests enter the showy space via an infinity-mirrored staircase, which leads to the Kimono Room, Bar and Lounge and the main dining area, both aglow in low red and blue lighting.
The Dream's various dining and nightlife spaces -- The Beach, PHD, and Electric Room -- can be booked for private events, as can several dedicated meeting and event areas. These include a 4,350-square-foot ballroom with LCD projectors and a DJ booth (soundproof screens can create smaller breakout rooms) and The Library, a teak-walled conference room on the second floor. A bi-level, 2,500-square-foot suite, called The Guesthouse, is also available for special events. The Guesthouse comes with a terrace and glass-bottom hot tub, but special personnel, like security guards and baristas, can be hired for an extra cost.
Additionally, there is free Wi-Fi available throughout, pets up to 25 pounds are allowed to stay for a fee, and during winter months, hot chocolate and hot apple cider are available in the lobby.
"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: The Beach, as the 5,000-square-foot pool area is appropriately called, features a four-foot-deep heated pool surrounded by lounge chairs and wispy bamboo shoots. A solarium with imported sand and two private cabanas with flat-screen TVs is on one end of the deck, and an umbrella-covered seating area is on the other. Some lower-level room types have walk-out patio access to the pool. The heated pool is open all year round, but the accompanying poolside bar and grill is closed for the late fall and winter season. Another downside is that there is often a lengthy wait list standing between hotel guests and the coveted loungers. As an added quirk, the bottom of the pool provides peek-a-boo views into the lobby, directly below.