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W New York Times Square
1567 Broadway (corner of 47th St.)
New York, NY 10036

Fax: 212-930-7500

Ultra-louche and Ultra-hip
By Rubin Carson

Glitz and glamour are only part of the story of the W-New York Times Square hotel. At the corner of Broadway and 47th Street in the heart of the Theater District, W is the best-located hostelry in the universe. Everything you can dream of is a mere five-minute walk away—so you can shop while dreaming.

Dreams are the operative word upon entering. Forget crystal chandeliers, plush Louis sofas and brooding mahogany armoires. It's instant Waterworld as you're enveloped by glass-enclosed flowing rapids. Then guests are whisked by elevator to the fourth floor (aka The Living Room): The Zen-like space is dominated by a black lacquer bar surrounded by white leather seating tubes and glowing mesh alcoves. Beautiful couples are seated everywhere presumably having found that perfect stranger.

Guest rooms have breathtaking views of Manhattan. Square footage is modest, but rooms have the spacious feel of your basic zillionaire's Gulfstream. The goose-downed W bed and 27-inch TV are worth the price of admission, but there's more: large glass desks overlooking the panorama of the city, a fully-stocked in-room bar with local microbrew, and coffeemaker with W's own blend of coffee. Adding to the space-age ambience are the resin cube nightstands and sliding translucent panel leading to the bathroom. A complete surprise is the huge glass-enclosed stall shower-- not a dollop of water on the floor no matter how intense the pressure.

Steve Hanson's Blue Fin Restaurant (part of the same group that includes Ruby Foo's, Atlantic Grill and Blue Water Grill) anchors the W's first floor. It's his latest seafood restaurant with raw bar and live jazz facing directly onto the lights of Broadway. The dual level space seats 350 with semi-private alcove dining upstairs and is packed on weekends. Blue Fin is responsible for the 24-hour room service as well.

Like everything at W, the cuisine is dazzlingly simple. An appetizer of pan-seared jumbo lump crab cake with asparagus salad and citrus tarragon rémoulade was delicious. Equally memorable was the sesame-crusted Big Eye tuna surrounded by butternut squash, chanterelle mushrooms, snow peas, and ginger soy vinaigrette. For unreconstructed beefeaters, the oven-roasted dry-aged sirloin "au poivre" with creamed spinach and buttermilk onion rings is as succulent as any New York steakhouse offers.

After dining, it's downstairs to Rande Gerber's The Whiskey—a 7500 square-foot bar/lounge that has become Manhattan's ultra-hip night spot. There's a dance floor for the light of foot, tiles that change color on contact, a screening room and a communal bathroom. Communal bathroom? Explained the hostess: "The stalls have windows on them where you can look out but not in. It's kind of kicky, but you get a lot of friendly vibes. And it's the best place in town to meet people."

(Updated: 06/30/08 HC)

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