Vintage, fabulous, stylish, gorgeous and every other complimentary adjective under the sun can be applied to New York City’s Refinery Hotel, a place you should add to the top of your Manhattan boutique hotel hit list.
A tight squeeze of a hotel affair that celebrates refined Manhattan style. Set in an unassuming spot on 38th, slap bang in the middle of the beating heart of the Fashion District, Refinery Hotel is a bit like a giant jazz bar with all its low lit mirrors, bright and giant bulbs and staff running around in bowler hats.
In its former days the space used to be a hat factory, which might explain the countless thread and scissor charms (look closely at the staff uniforms) and desks with old cast iron legs. Retro and industrial modern chic swiftly sums up the hotel’s overall style – think warm woods, thick columns, gothic arches, a black and white palette, contemporary furnishings and bold, Pollock-like modern art on the walls.
For five star digs with class, the hotel’s location is nearly impossible to beat. You’re lodged right in between 5th and 6th avenues and within walking distance of Times Square, the theatre district, Bryant Park and the Empire State Building. For the shopper in you, Tiffany & CO, Saks and all the luxury fashion houses a girl or boy could ever want are all within a short 20-minute spree down 5th.
If you really want to do the hotel in style, book the 400-square-foot Empire State studio king. As soon as you step inside, it’s pretty obvious at first sight that good taste is the hotel’s defining mantra. An incredibly long hallway leads through to a beautifully lit demi-palace crowned by a 12ft ceiling reminiscent of a quintessential Manhattan loft. Gleaming hardwood floors, two large blue and red abstract paintings and a mammoth floor lamp with a red patterned shade make the suite even more Instagrammable. A 42-inch television, large bed and a chair with a view of the Empire State are another plus.
The bathroom also deserves special mention. Kitted out in subway tiles, attractive brass and chrome accents, plenty of white marble and several light fixtures all worthy of your Pinterest board. Toiletries come courtesy of The White Company and slippers and robes from Frette, the luxury Italian linen house. Oh, and the seasonal cupcakes from the nearby Magnolia Bakery and a bottle of bubbly left on the large desk was another nice touch, too.
All of the hotel’s 197 rooms are decorated in a similar style, but there’s no beating the star appeal of its grand chambre.
Food & Drink:
The hotel restaurant Parker & Quinn is the ultimate throwback to 1920s New York. It’s laid back, welcoming and undisputedly American. The man behind the menu is chef Jeff Haskell who sources local ingredients for his vast collection of New ‘Merica dishes. One thing to note: the offering is vast so you might want to do a little research before you dine. There’s a great selection to devour, from salads (some ultra-healthy) to steaks, pasta, burgers and seafood – though be warned, quite a few dishes are extremely rich so you might want to eat light before you arrive.
If you have trouble choosing, go for a burger. Mine was mammoth and came with the best portion of fries I think I’ve ever tasted. If you go for breakfast, eat the Secret Pancakes (I can’t tell you why, it’s a secret).
Drink wise, you’ve got two options: the gorgeous rooftop bar with stellar Empire State views, or Winnie’s Bar a soft lit gold mirror paradise where you can listen to Gatsby-era live jazz all night long. Preferential treatment however goes to the former, by far Refinery’s greatest asset. Often praised as one of the city’s glammest rooftops, this sprawling amalgam of terracotta brick, wood, glass and fairy lights also offers an array of tasty handcrafted cocktails (go for the Uzu Margarita) along with a generous selection of small plates, sliders, flatbreads and desserts. Weekend brunch and allergen menus are also available.
Things to Do:
There’s a fitness centre for all you body obsessed types, as well as in-room massages and beauty treatments from local businesses the hotel partners with. The cute pop-up shop is also worth a visit, but in all honesty you should spend most of your time outside as the major perk of staying here is that you’re so close to everything great the city has to offer.
The service. I couldn’t fault it at all, especially at reception. On check-in I was offered everything from a place to sit to a bottle of water, tea, wine and I’m sure if I asked for it, life advice.
Hailing and calling a cab to pick you up can be a bit of a nightmare, but that’s the small price you pay for prime real estate.
63 West 38th Street, New York, 10018. Suites from 450 USD