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Oyster Hotel Review
An intimate, 88-room hotel with hand-picked, artisanal design, superior service, and seemingly endless complimentary amenities. The scene is quiet but the guests-only lobby, drawing room, and courtyard feel like a little TriBeCan oasis.
The Greenwich Hotel -- named after the street, not the better-known neighborhood -- is the hub of Robert De Niro's personal TriBeCa monopoly: he's co-owner of the hotel, along with its direct neighbors, Locanda Verde restaurant and the Tribeca Film Center (the hotel opened in April 2008, just in time for his Tribeca Film Festival that year). Other owners include developers Ira Druker and Richard Born, who are also behind the Mercer and Bowery hotels -- both of which are celebrity magnets.
Even if you're not famous, though, you'll feel famous in the super-private lobby, drawing room, and courtyard. Non-guests aren't permitted and no photos are allowed, so anyone, famous or not, can be discreet and feel at home beyond just their rooms. The courtyard and drawing room buzz with guests in the evenings, but it's a quiet scene that dies down by 10 on a normal night; it's exclusive, but not the party scene you'd find in the meatpacking district's Gansevoort or Soho House hotels.
The celebrity ownership and exclusive atmosphere may be a turn-on for some, but what the hotel flaunts most is being a "home away from home" for its guests. I'm no stranger to these kinds of hotel marketing gimmicks, but where many hotels fall short, the Greenwich Hotel actually follows through. The minibars are complimentary; Wi-Fi, DVD and video games are free; generously sized toiletries are provided in each room; and adjustments like cribs, extra beds, or different pillows and comforters are all part and parcel. Where so many hotels -- even the best ones -- (over)charge for so many of these things, the general policy of "it's on us" is a huge breath of fresh air.
The entire building is new (it used to be a single-story parking garage), but you'd never know it. The design team (which includes Samantha Crasco, Grayling Design, and the owners themselves) selectively used materials and techniques throughout the building with attention to old-time craftsmanship -- hand-made bricks from Pennsylvania; re-claimed timber on the floors and ceiling beams; antique mirrors from New York's famous Flatiron Building; and terra-cotta floors that were molded by an Italian, family-owned artisanal company. The 88 rooms and suites have unique configurations, furniture, and artwork, with equal attention paid to craftsmanship and style throughout.
Professional, friendly staff members -- all of whom receive butler training -- and who treat guests like, well, guests -- not just another customer.
The entire opening staff underwent intensive butler training before the hotel opened, so everyone from management to housekeeping is trained to provide top-notch service. As much as possible, they try to personalize amenities and service for guests, and it's nearly always complimentary. Newspaper delivery -- they'll deliver any major newspaper (international or otherwise) of your choice -- all are complimentary), turndown service, and daily weather reports posted in front of the elevators make staying here entirely effortless. Video game consoles, DVD players, dog bowls and organic pet food, and even special food and drink selections can be accommodated with a little notice.
The front desk staff doubles as concierge here, but unlike many hotels where this amounts to little to no real concierge service, staff knowledge of the surrounding areas is excellent. My questions about activities and directions were answered confidently without hesitation. They'll quickly handle reservation requests and arrange for city activities, as well.
In downtown's family-friendly-but-hip TriBeCa neighborhood, a block from the Hudson River Greenway. The direct surroundings make the block feel like a Robert De Niro's TriBeCa monopoly piece: the hotel is flanked by his restaurant and the Tribeca Film Center on either side, so this is the hub of his well-established film festival each year.
Greenwich Hotel is in Manhattan's TriBeCa neighborhood (short for "Triangle Below Canal" Street). Now gentrified, the area is now populated by stylish restaurants and designer boutiques. It still retains some of the funky, neighborhood character from its artist bohemia past, but the clean streets, great parks, and a number of good schools have also made it a stroller haven.
The hotel is also located a block away from the Hudson River Greenway, over 11 miles of pedestrian and bike trails that run along the Hudson River. The trail connects to several parks and public spaces, including Battery Park just south of the hotel. It's perfect for a scenic stroll, jog, or bike ride.
The Chambers Street subway station is just around the corner from the entrance and is served by the 1, 2, and 3 lines, which run north-south on the west side of Manhattan. The area is safe and well-trafficked during the day; at night, it's not busy, but when I left the hotel around midnight to grab a snack at a nearby convenience store, people were walking around and the area felt safe.
Large and comfortable rooms and suites uniquely designed to evoke an Italian home. Generous amenities include large, top-quality toiletry sets, free snacks and Perrier from the minibar, and free DVD rentals.
Entering my room, my sandals clicked along the Siberian Oak floorboards and I approached the French doors overlooking the quietly buzzing courtyard. I couldn't help but gasp, "Wow! I feel like I'm in ... Italy!" The room's rustic design and open, airy feel along with the hum of guests below made me feel like I was in an apartment overlooking an Italian piazza.
The hotel's 88 rooms boast unique design and complementary amenities. Meticulously chosen leather settees, Moroccan tiles, Oriental rugs, and artwork are all placed in rooms constructed of reclaimed woods, hand-applied stucco, and hand-crafted tiles, so they feel more like an old (but very clean) Italian apartment than a New York hotel room. A hand-chosen selection of books, including several newly released art and photo books, fill the shelves of each room. Rooms and Suites facing the street are equally charming, but views of TriBeCa keep them more grounded in New York than the courtyard rooms. Prices range from $475/night for a courtyard room to over $1400 for the largest suites.
Equally stand-out to the impressive design is the quality -- brace yourself -- complimentary features -- free Wi-Fi, large McBride or Red Flower toiletries, international newspaper delivery of guests' choice, DVDs, PlayStations, and Wiis are all free. Even better, this is one of the only hotels in New York to offer free minibar snacks like Fastachi nut mix, Uncle Jerry's Pretzels, Charleston Chew, Cracker Jacks, Jujyfruits, Twizzlers, Oreos as well as bottles of Perrier and San Pellegrino. Wine and spirits are also available in full-size bottles, but they'll cost you extra.
A hotel owned by Robert De Niro wouldn't be complete without a television big enough to screen film festivals on, so of course all rooms have a 42-inch Philips TV. Cable includes 40 channels, including HBO HD and HDNet Movies, or guests can request a DVD player in their room and borrow from the free set of DVDs. Bose iPod docks are provided, along with separate alarm clocks.
Beds all have top-quality Swedish Dux mattresses (also used at the Setai hotel in South Beach) with thick pillow-top covers. Beds have down comforters and blankets, but the hotel also offers to provide guests with the pillow with "just the right softness" and a comforter with "just the right loft."
Bathrooms are as unique as the rooms themselves. There are over two dozen designs of the bathrooms, so some have shower stalls and some have tubs, with varying decor and layout. Rooms contain 3-ounce bottles of McBride toiletry products (still allowed past airport security), and suites contain full-size bottles of Red Flower products. Both are huge by hotel standards, whereby most toiletries come in tiny 1-ounce bottles, and soap bars are miniature.
Rooms and suites are spacious -- the smallest, Courtyard room, starts at 325 square feet, and the largest suites go up to 2,030 square feet. Specific room descriptions are available on the hotel's website. Main differences, aside from size, include toiletry sets, welcome amenities (my freshly baked cookies on arrival were nice, but if you book a suite chances are you'll get an even better gift, like complimentary champagne), and a few design differences (floorboards in the suites are reclaimed antique American pine, where standard rooms have new Siberian Oak, for example). All rooms and suites have wet bars, but some larger suites have full kitchens and dining rooms.
Rooms and Rates
Greenwich Hotel's hidden gem is its underground pool, which sits under a 250-year-old wood and bamboo Japanese farmhouse roof. The pool is lantern-lit and big enough for lap swims (but not Olympic-sized). The pool and spa were both designed by Japanese designer Mikio Shinagawa, who also designed Matsuri restaurant in New York's Maritime Hotel. The aesthetic echoes the rustic interior of the hotel, but with a Japanese theme.
The pool is part of Shibui Spa, which offers an array of services that start at around $110 for the most basic facials and massages. The spa's director, Thuyen Nguyen, uses products and techniques from his native Vietnam, as well as other Asian-themed treatments. Access to the pool and locker room saunas is free to guests or anyone receiving spa treatments.
A large fitness center, located next to Shibui Spa, is in the basement but it doesn't feel dark and dreary. Brand new cardio and weight machines are provided, and a gym attendant is on duty. Personal trainers are available on request for $210/hour.
The courtyard and drawing room are both beautiful lounge areas reserved for guests only. Selective menus served from the same kitchen and bar as Locanda Verde are served. The drawing room has a large fireplace that they use to warm the room, and is full of beautiful details like tarnished glass taken from the New York's flatiron building and paintings by De Niro's father. The courtyard is tiled with large slabs of terra-cotta from Italy, and is full of lush plants and comfortable garden furniture. It buzzes with guests throughout the afternoon and evenings, like its own little Italian piazza.
Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel. A security code is provided to each guest at check-in, and the signal was great throughout -- I was able to browse quickly in the drawing room, courtyard, and my own room.
A free copy of The New York Times is delivered to each room daily -- guests can request a different newspaper from any country or city instead (complimentary, of course).
The homey environment and wealth of complimentary kid-friendly amenities -- Wii systems to top-quality rollaway beds -- plus quiet, comfortable rooms and family-friendly TriBeCa location make this a great family option.
Greenwich offers plenty of complimentary amenities to accommodate kids. Everything from cribs and coloring books, to Disney DVDs and PlayStation and Wii video game systems are available upon request, and all are free. Extra services like baby-sitting can be arranged on 24 hours' notice, at cost. There is a kids' room service menu available from 11am - 11pm that includes dishes like hamburgers, chicken fingers, and mac and cheese, all around $15/dish.
Rooms are a quiet, comfortable place for families to retreat -- and they're significantly larger than most NYC boutique hotel rooms. Impressively, the twin-size rollaway beds are actually Dux mattresses, just like the rest of the hotel's beds. They don't fit in all rooms, but guests can call ahead to find the proper room type for their desired sleeping arrangements. The surroundings are peaceful and windows let in little outside noise, so kids should be able to sleep any time of day without disturbance. Multiroom suites are available, and the largest even have full chef's kitchens for families planning a longer stay.
The extremely accommodating staff is really at the heart of what makes this place so great for kids -- they'll personalize rooms and offer welcome gifts, minibars, entertainment, and extras for families. The 24-hour concierge will also arrange excursions and family activities.
Rustic hotels, despite their unique character, often just don't feel that clean. Greenwich Hotel, however, manages to do both. It's homey and full of character (not brand new and generic), but even old Tibetan carpets and vintage decor seem like they've been scoured clean of dirt and germs. Like a well-maintained home, I felt inspired to take my shoes off at the door of my room. The drawing room and garden were equally clean, without a trace of the food and drinks served there.
Rustic Italian Locanda Verde opened in 2009, directly next to the hotel (street entrance is next door, but guests can also enter through the lobby). The restaurant is also co-owned by De Niro, and chef Andrew Carmellini's homestyle Italian dishes have been acclaimed in New York magazine. My own meal was fantastic, and prices are surprisingly reasonable for good quality, well-portioned dishes like ravioli or meat and fish courses (prices range from $18-$25 for main dishes; appetizers and salads are cheaper).
24-hour room service is available from the same kitchen. A separate menu is served in the drawing room and courtyard that's better suited to eating from the deep couches and chairs than a traditional dining table.
Transport to / from Hotel
Rental Car Service Desk Onsite
Supervised Kids Activities
|Things to Do||
Mini Bar (with liquor)
Separate Bedroom / Living Room Space
|Address||377 Greenwich St., New York City, New York 10013, United States|
|Also Known As||