No in-room coffeemakers (free morning coffee in lobby)
No spa (in-room massages available) and no pool
Minimalist interior design might strike some as barren
Located in a landmark building, The James New York - NoMad is a style-conscious hotel in Manhattan's ever-emerging NoMad neighborhood. Its 337 rooms have midcentury decor and noteworthy amenities, like Bluetooth speakers, brass minibars, and natural linens. All rooms lack coffeemakers, but free coffee, fruit, and pastries are provided in the lobby -- a lovely space that attracts both guests and locals to lounge, socialize, and work throughout the day. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch are served at Scarpetta, The James' gorgeous on-site Italian restaurant and wine cellar. Other perks include a speakeasy-like cocktail bar with live music, a 24-hour fitness center with Peloton bikes, and lots of private-event space. It's hard not to compare the James with the nearby Ace Hotel. Both have lobby scenes, upscale restaurants, vintage-inspired design, and similar rates, but Ace's clientele tend to skew a little younger.
A historic hotel given a thorough, boutique-y makeover
The gorgeous and ornate Beaux-Arts building that houses The James goes back to the early 20th century, when it opened its doors as the Hotel Seville. The Seville eventually became the Old World and upscale Carlton Hotel, before being revamped yet again into its current incarnation -- the sleek, chic, boutique-style James -- in June 2017. Former Carlton guests will recognize the landmarked facade, but that's it. And even the exterior may seem disorienting, as The James repositioned the main doors from Madison Avenue (where they were during the Carlton days) to their original place on East 29th Street.
The latest transformation came from the mind of renowned designed Thomas Juul-Hansen, who reimagined every square inch of the hotel (except the exterior and the stairwell). The Danish architect -- whose resume includes several Jean-Georges restaurants and ultra-tony private residences in New York, London, and Miami -- instilled the common areas and rooms with his streamlined design sensibility, giving the hotel a look that is minimalist and clean yet inviting. Midcentury-inspired details are everywhere, from the custom-made grated brass minibars in the bedrooms to the sleek velvet sofas in the lobby. The lobby's stylish nooks, couches, tables and chairs, loveseats, cowhide stools, and even window seats, are all illuminated by warm globe lighting and big arched windows. It's an inviting space that draws plenty of creative types to use it as a meet-up point -- whether they're guests of the hotel or not. The hotel's freelancer-friendly lobby appeals to business travelers, and the upscale restaurant, cozy cocktail den, and the stylish rooms and suites are good fits for couples. There's nothing here particularly suited for families with young children, but the hotel does have a kids' room service menu and will provide requested cribs and playpens in the rooms.
The James New York is located on the corner of Madison Avenue and East 29th Street (the lobby entrance is located on 29th Street proper.) It is three blocks north of one of Manhattan's most lovely green spaces -- Madison Square Park, which is almost always full of public art, picnickers, dog-walkers, and drum circles. At the southwest corner of the park, about an eight-minute walk from the hotel, is the famous Flatiron Building. The hotel is one block east of Fifth Avenue and a six-minute walk from the Empire State Building. Penn Station and Madison Square Garden are an 11- and 12-minute walk from the James, respectively. The closest subway is a short, two-block walk away, providing access to various NYC sights. Travel times via subway to top attractions include Central Park (22 minutes), The Metropolitan Museum of Art (26 minutes), and the 9/11 Memorial (20 minutes). John F. Kennedy International Airport is a little over an hour by public transit and the same by taxi (depending on traffic).
Streamlined rooms and suites with custom minibars and hand-carved bathroom sinks
The James' 337 rooms and suites share a streamlined style and many of the same upscale amenities. Minimalists will probably love the look, while others might find it a bit sterile. All rooms have gray geometric carpets and warm white walls adorned with pieces of original art by New York-based contemporary painters like Justine Hill and Margaret Evangeline. Low-profile beds have king- or queen-sized Beauty Rest by Serta mattresses, natural linens, geometric throw pillows, and USB ports and wall-mounted reading lamps on both sides. All rooms have Bluetooth speakers, free Wi-Fi, and flat-screen HDTVs between 40 and 72 inches. TVs are pre-programmed with Aerospace workouts and Kundalini yoga practices. There are vintage-style brass minibars stocked with Widow Jane bourbon (distilled in Brooklyn), Grey Goose and Tito vodkas, and Don Julio tequila. Triple-filtered water is provided for free, and guests are entitled to one free non-alcoholic snack from the minibar per day. (Rooms do not have coffeemakers, but free coffee is available every morning in the lobby.)
Hand-carved marble sink basins take center-stage in the bathrooms, which also have glass walk-in showers (not rainfall), custom bathrobes, slippers, hairdryers, and full-size eco-friendly bath products from the Australian Appelles Apothecary. All rooms have ironing equipment and safes.
At 195 to 235 square feet, Standard King or Queen rooms are suitable for solo travelers but might feel too cramped for two or more. The Deluxe-level rooms (King, Two Queens, and Corner Kings, which provide great views up Madison Avenue) are between 236 and 340 square feet. Jimmy Suites (King and Two Queens) are 475 square feet and feature two full bathrooms. The 640-square-foot James Suites (also available in King and Two Queens) has a full living room with several sofas and a dining nook. All suites have separate living areas with pull-out sofas. Two 1,050-square-foot Penthouse Suites have six-person dining tables, custom wood and brass wet bars, and face-to-face living room sets with sectional and regular sofas. James and Penthouse suites have soaking tubs as well as walk-in showers.
The new NYC outpost of Scarpetta, a bohemian cocktail lounge, and many options for special functions
The James' beautifully designed lobby is a feature in itself, and it offers free coffee, tea, fruit, and pastries in the morning, and wine-and-cheese receptions in the evenings. (The snacks, along with the one free daily minibar snack and free in-room Wi-Fi, are covered by the hotel's mandatory facilities fee.) Throughout the day, the lobby's many seating nooks are occupied by informal meet-ups and guests pecking away at laptops.
The Italian restaurant Scarpetta relocated from the Meatpacking District to The James, where it sets a sexy, upscale tone with vaulted brick walls, wood floors, leather banquettes, and sculptural marble high-top tables. Scarpetta is open for breakfast (for hotel guests only), lunch, and dinner daily, as well as brunch on Sundays, when a 12-piece band performs. With locations in the Hamptons, Miami Beach, and Las Vegas, Scarpetta has an international reputation for its sceney vibe and signature menu of crudo, pastas handmade in-house, and hearty meat and seafood dishes.
The hotel's room service has menus for breakfast, lunch, dinner, kids, dessert, and -- notably -- CBD. The CBD menu has snacks infused with cannabidiol (like tater tots and an ice cream sundae), as well as infused chocolate bars and beauty products.
Craft cocktails and DJ sets are on the menu at The Seville, a funky speakeasy-esque lounge with a bohemian vibe and lots of velvet, brass, mirrors, art, and library-like crannies. Both Scarpetta and The Seville are available for private functions and full-venue buyouts. Additionally, the hotel has 5,000 square feet of AV-equipped meeting and special-event space, including a Great Room that can accommodate 230 people.
The James' fitness center is a small interior room with windows facing an airshaft, but it is livened up with palm-printed wallpaper and a large flat-screen TV, plus full-length mirrors along one wall make the space feel bigger. The gym, which is free and open 24 hours, has LifeFitness cardio equipment, Peloton bikes, yoga mats, meditation bolsters, and chilled and room-temperature towels.
A dog-friendly property, the hotel provides beds, bowls, and even lavender calming spray and paw balm by The Holistic Home Company. There are no size limits for dogs. The hotel partners with Zeel to provide in-room massages. Same-day laundry and dry cleaning is available. Wi-Fi is free throughout the hotel, as part of the mandatory daily fee for facilities. Cribs, extra beds, cots, and playpens are all available on request.
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