Sofitel New York
A taste of France in the heart of New York City.
For the weary traveler, the Sofitel New York is one of the best-kept secrets in the city that never sleeps. Appropriately enough, Bastille Day in 2000 marked the grand opening of the first Manhattan home of this upscale French hotel chain. Just a few blocks away from the hotel, that urban cauldron — Times Square — simmers round the clock, a perpetual Saturday night fever. There is no better place from which to appreciate the ebullient pulse of Manhattan. Crowds are so dense at moments that pedestrians would benefit from personal bumpers. But — miraculously — as you make your way eastbound, the human density rapidly subsides, the steam evaporates and you reach the front door of the Sofitel (a short walk on 44th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues), an oasis that will make you feel as if you have been transported miles away from the razzle dazzle of the Big Apple.
As you step inside, the soothing effect wafts into the lobby, one of the highlights of this establishment and in our opinion one of the most pleasant and welcoming among all the city's luxury hotels. This mood results from the dilemma architects Brennan Beer Gorman had to resolve when they were confronted in 2000 with a narrow, T-shaped site on which to erect a modern, yet traditional looking, hotel. Wisely, they devoted the entire central space to the lobby, which provides after all a guest's first, last and lasting impressions.
In the hands of designer Pierre Yves Rochon, this spacious area leaning on the Art Deco style feels intimate and classy, thanks to the harmonious caramel-colored fabrics interspersed with teakwood panels and green tapestry. The deep leather seating complements the fluted columns and torchières. The decorative ceiling reflects the patterned marble floor, and themes inspired by Paris and New York are featured in a bas relief under a black granite credenza. At the opposite end of the hallway, a grand curved staircase is decorated with a gracious trompe l'oeil representing Central Park. The superimposition of these international references has enriched this property with a unique cachet that puts the Sofitel in a niche of its own.
The 398 guestrooms and 52 suites are decorated in a similarly refined Franco-American Art Deco style and feature such inspirations as custom-made, wall sized rosewood or maple headboards with recessed niches. Rooms are spacious and include a desk and mini bar, which is checked electronically. While the keeper of the mini bar won't disrupt your stay, keep in mind that if you consume anything in the small fridge, it will be charged to you. There is also Wi-Fi access and WebTV.
The generously proportioned bathrooms contain separate large showers. Nice Hermès amenities are provided, as well as Evian water with nightly turndown service. The rooms' distances from the street and very effective sound proofing contribute largely to the overall comfort, virtually eliminating all traffic noise and the hubbub of the city.
At the desk and in the rooms, service is courteous and swift, although at peak hours it may take some time to get your bags up to your room. To stay fit at any hour of the day (or night), you can exercise using treadmills, stationary cycles and stair climbing machines in the small fitness room. For your business needs, each of seven meeting rooms can accommodate up to 17 participants. Obviously, this is not a large convention hotel, but it is possible to throw a party for 200 in the grand ballroom.
It also boasts Gaby Restaurant Francais, a brasserie, where in-season sidewalk dining can make you feel like a Parisian. The menu features French contemporary cuisine.
Luxurious without being ostentatious, this surprisingly calm Sofitel New York is ideally located for theater goers in the very heart of New York. As for those in town to visit museums, shop, attend meetings or gaze at the sights, this hotel is designed to soothe, pamper and provide a much needed place to rest your weary head.
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