By Susan McKee
152 West 51st Street
New York, NY 10019
(212) 765-1900 or (800) 237-0990
Rich Venetian and Florentine fabrics add a distinctly Italian flair to the lobby of the Michelangelo Hotel in New York City. The lighting fixtures were inspired by Roman cathedral torchères and the wood trim was adapted from original Renaissance period designs.
My bellman confided that he had been with the property for more than two decades -- through several name changes and owners -- but he definitely approved its current incarnation under Starhotels, an Italian hotel group.
Two king-sized beds didn’t make my spacious room seem in the least bit crowded. In fact, there was ample room for two armchairs with reading lamps and a desk. My only quibble was a paucity of electrical outlets to power my laptop (I had to unplug the desktop lamp to plug it in) and recharging everything overnight meant using the outlets in the bathroom.
There was a fully stocked minibar, large flat-screen television and a walk-in closet thoughtfully provided with two luggage racks – but, surprisingly, no in-room safe. The tub/shower combo was in a separate room with the toilet. There was a mirrored vanity area plus a makeup mirror next to the sink. (The unusual configuration of the small spaces probably stemmed from the hotel’s original life as an apartment building.)
Even though my room (cool and elegant in its peach, burnt sienna and tan color scheme) overlooked Seventh Avenue right at the corner of 51st, there was hardly any street noise. The hotel, occupying several floors of a Seventh Avenue high-rise, has 178 guest rooms and suites. Corporate apartments are available for longer stays. The lobby-level restaurant, Insieme (it means “together” in Italian) boasts one Michelin star. Insieme pits two distinct Italian styles of cooking against each other: classic and innovative. And Paul Grieco, the award-winning sommelier of downtown Hearth, has created a wine list that is second to none. This is one of the best dining options in the neighborhood
James Jolis, Head Concierge at the Michelangelo Hotel since 1998, was born and raised in Paris, France. He’s fluent in French, Spanish, and English, with a working knowledge of Italian and German. Whether you need subway instructions or tickets to a sold-out Broadway musical, he’s your source. The hotel’s small fitness center in a renovated third-floor guest room has three machines and two weight benches.
It was a pleasant surprise to find a reasonably priced (for Manhattan) hotel room that’s quiet, elegant and well-located. The European flavor imparted by its Italian owners (Starhotels) is a definite plus.
Rates start about $500, but check for package deals and specials (I’ve seen rates as low as $325 per night).
© February 2009 LuxuryWeb Magazine. All rights reserved.