Hotel Spotlight

At The Knickerbocker, a Tasteful Retreat in an Unlikely Spot: Times Square

by Rachel Kurlander
Facade All photos courtesy of The Knickerbocker Hotel.

The Knickerbocker Hotel
New York, New York
Modern, $$

Few words capture the decadence of old New York like Knickerbocker —there’s something about this moniker, now a bygone relic of the city’s Dutch ancestral past, that recalls industrious barons and well-to-do dandies drifting through fashionable salons and bearing witness to formative New York moments. The Knickerbocker Hotel, a 16-story building opened in 1906 by John Jacob Astor, is no stranger to this legacy: Babe Ruth was traded to the Yankees in the hotel lobby, F. Scott Fitzgerald and John D. Rockefeller went on some notorious benders at the bar, and legendary opera tenor Enrico Caruso was married on the roof. The original terracotta facade, mansard roof, and emblazoned subway entrance at the Times Square-42nd Street station may be all that remain of the hotel’s former life (The Knickerbocker closed its doors during Prohibition), but subtle traces of this heritage can be felt throughout. The landmark hotel reopened in 2015 as a sophisticated and contemporary haven in the heart of Midtown.

At A Glance

Vibe: A discreet, elegant, minimalist escape from the, erm, bustle of Times Square.

Standout Detail: Soundproof walls — we’re talking, I-never-knew-this-kind-of-quiet-existed soundproof — that shut out the surrounding cacophony so completely you’d be hard-pressed to believe that Times Square existed in the same universe, let alone on the same block.

This Place Is Perfect For: Travelers on business taking full advantage of weekday power lunches and their proximity to Midtown’s CBD. First-time visitors to New York who don’t want to sacrifice elevated levels of comfort for the convenient location.

Rooms: 330, including four tribute suites, each named after turn-of-the-century New York icons with special connections to the hotel. Soothing, neutral tones, exposed wood, and thoughtful details like adorable succulent plants and blackout shades complement modern amenities: flat-screen TVs, free WiFi, Android tablets beside every Stearns and Foster bed.  

On Site: Two 24-hour fitness centers equipped with cardio machines, a weight room, and a boxing pit, a large event space with a meeting room that can seat up to 160 people, 24-hour room service, and babysitting services for a surcharge.

Food and Drink: James Beard award-winning chef Charlie Palmer and his team serve up progressive American fare at Charlie Palmer at The Knick, a full-service restaurant, bar, and lounge located on the fourth floor. The St. Cloud Rooftop is the perfect spot for taking in views of Times Square while sipping on a martini, rumored to have been invented for John D. Rockefeller at The Knickerbocker in 1912. On the ground floor, you’ll find Jake’s @ The Knick, a grab-and-go coffee shop.

Highlights: The St. Cloud Rooftop, complete with a full bar, indoor and outdoor seating, the Club Macanudo cigar lounge, a seasonal concept pop-up space, and unobstructed views of the famous Times Square New Year’s Eve ball. Yes, this is the iconic place to be for NYE (if you’re feeling spendy). 

Book It

Spend the night. Click here for reservations.

What to Do Nearby

Situated right in the heart of Midtown Manhattan, The Knickerbocker is all about location, location, location. Broadway theaters, Bryant Park, the New York Public Library, and Times Square are all a stone’s throw away, and the concentration of subway stations in the area put the rest of the city at your fingertips. Nearby Hell’s Kitchen is home to some fabulous restaurants that will satisfy any craving, be it for a chic farm-to-table spot or a snug Korean BBQ joint, and the outer reaches of Midtown, where you’ll find MoMA, Fifth Avenue shopping, Rockefeller Center, and Central Park, are well within walking distance. 

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