Having had The Knickerbocker on my â€œhotels to discoverâ€ list for quite some time, I was delighted when the opportunity to spend a couple of nights there arose. Due to an LHW (Leading Hotels of The World) membership, the room was upgraded to a Premier City View Room and came with the promise of a mysterious welcome gift.
Entering the hotel was a pleasure as you could refresh with a cold drink straight in the reception from one of the glass dispensers with fruit and herb infused water. The counter also boasted a very generously sized bowl of candy. The only odd observation was that suitcases guests left while out and about were stored in abundance in the reception and not in a secure room.
Being one to enjoy longer hotel stays, I could see that The Knickerbocker definitely fit the bill of a place that could become a â€œhome away from homeâ€ for some time. This must be why the famed tenor Enrico Caruso made this his home during his long-running tenure with the Metropolitan Opera. His impact still lies in the 110 mÂ² Caruso suite on the top floor reflecting his luxurious lifestyle in the suiteâ€™s dramatic composition.
With its five stars, The Knickerbocker is known to be the first luxury hotel to settle on Times Square. It also possesses what is known as the best rooftop in Manhattan, The St. Cloud. With astonishing views and a lively ambiance you can lounge sipping cocktails with friends surrounded by lush living walls of greenery and blooming foliage. It is also known as one of the best places to spend New Yearâ€™s Eve with the closest view possible to the Times Square Ball.
The 43 mÂ² room became an extremely cozy oasis between outings in the city with the comfort of soft slippers, peshterry robes, Ted Gibson bath amenities, SFERRA 300-count Egyptian cotton sheets, a snug SFERRA woven-cotton blanket draped across the couch, fast wifi and fully stocked mini-bar. The master light switch also adjusted the light according to your mood and your option to flick a privacy button instead of hanging a â€œDo Not Disturbâ€ sign on the outside. I could go on about the amenities, but itâ€™s possibly easier mentioning the only thing I remarked as missing. It was a bit surprising that there was no service station with a coffee machine and kettle as everything else in the room seemed profoundly elaborate. A bath tub would have been a plus as well, but I must say the rain shower was extremely comfortable.
The fitness room of the hotel is extraordinary and it boggles my mind that it is not featured more prominently on the website of The Knickerbocker. Not only is it open 24 hours a day, it features equipment hardly ever seen in a hotel fitness room. The equipment is hand selected by New York Knicks NBA Star: Larry Johnson and his playlist provides an upbeat musical journey to accompany your workout. Which other hotel leaves you with the convenience of a stretch cage and a hi-tech boxing machine with complimentary water and fruit you can indulge in all day and night?
Craving a satisfying lunch we headed to the Charlie Palmer inside the hotel. The celebrity chef of which the restaurantâ€™s name is titled after also has his flagship, Michelin starred restaurant, Aureole, just across the street. We went for two light starters, the Tuscan Kale Salad and the Market Salad. As main courses the Long Island Striped Bass and Knickerburger seemed like obvious and recommended choices. The food was so pleasant that a dessert was in the cards as well and the choice fell on the Marinated Harryâ€™s Strawberries. As we happily rolled out of the hotel, we still had to remark on the North-American faux pas of using the word â€œEntrÃ©eâ€ for a main course. “EntrÃ©e” literally means “entrance” in French, or “starter” in this context.
Another place to grab a quick dessert and espresso is Wafels & Dinges in Bryant Park only steps away from the hotel. The Belgian waffles are heavenly and the park is a romantic place to lounge and take a quick break. Wondering what the mystery gift was, it was presumably the complimentary breakfasts and water bottles in the room. Breakfast is served at the tables or in-room if requested and the menu is very elaborate. Continental, American, healthy, the list of choices is fit for the most particular person around.
During the stay at The Knickerbocker we walked around a lot as most things that were objectives were conveniently close by. It is definitely a hotel that will be revisited and I could have easily stayed much longer there.
Photography by Edouard Lombard