So, this week I stayed at the Night Hotel in Manhattan while I attended the SMX East Conference. I’d registered too late to stay in one of the conference’s negotiated-price hotels (the Sheraton Towers), and I found the Night Hotel had similar pricing. (Besides, the Sheraton had a negative report in the Bedbug Registry, while the Night Hotel was gloriously free of such demerits!) I love all things Goth, so I looked forward to this opportunity!
The Night Hotel is one of Vikram Chatwal‘s luxury hotels, and it’s billed as having a Film Noire / Goth theme — very appropriate for “Gotham City”! I could easily see this being off-putting to many potential guests as potentially too disturbing or scary to be restful, while simultaneously being intriguing to many others such as myself. Also, it could easily be concerning, since a theme hotel could be high on concept and low on customer service. So, here’s my review of the place, along with pics!
The hotel is located at 132 West 45th Street, just off Times Square in Midtown, NYC. The exterior of the hotel is cool, with blackened windows and a giant gothic “N” logo banner that has slowly flashing backlighting.
I arrived, checked-in and went straight up to my room. I’m somewhat impressed by the room’s swipe card right off the bat, since it has a mini-map imprinted on the reverse side:
The one odd warning the desk clerk gave me was that they will charge you if you put your own drinks into the small bar refrigerator in the room — a whopping $35 charge, if I recall correctly! I didn’t get all that irritated from this, because I assumed that the rule may have come about because they use one of those automatic bars which charges you when you remove an item. However, it is unusual — I’ve never had a hotel anywhere quibble about charging for me to put a bottle of water in a room fridge.
The hallway to my room looks a bit like the hall of a spacecraft, with lighting along the lower half of the walls:
The room was one of their cheaper numbers, and was very, very small, with a narrow path around the bed. In many cities this would seem ridiculous, but I’ve stayed in Manhattan a number of times and am aware of how much space is at a premium. What would otherwise seem bad seems acceptable in the right context.
The rooms are not so dark as you might imagine. The lighting is funky, and when you first enter they’ve set up indirect lighting from under the bed which is a fantastic effect, and I liked how the carpet was relatively light, having a gray-and-white alternating pattern made up with the stylized gothic letter “N” from the hotel’s logo. Wallpaper with a cool black-and-white pattern also alternated with black walls and the window curtain that had the same pattern. The bed was a large sleigh-bed headboard of padded leather that curved up over the bottom part.
The housekeeping service has also been trained to leave the radio going lightly for when you enter your room each day, tuned to some rock station. I really like that effect! Though, some of the more militant of conservationists might loathe the waste of energy when people are not in the rooms. (As a techie, I note that the hotel could have one of those lights and radio set on a switch equipped with a motion-detector so that it will come on when someone steps in the door, instead of being left on until guests arrive.)
The desk area was disappointing, since I intended to work on some client work as well as put some finishing touches upon my slideshow presentation for the conference. The desk was extremely narrow and the chair low with no back. The chair could double as an ottoman.
While the room was small, the bathroom was more of a microbath, having barely room to turn around and a shower with no door. The bath lighting was barely sufficient for me, and I know my mother would’ve complained a lot about not having enough light in there. Quite a few goths I know might’ve struggled to put on their makeup, but I think most would suffer in silence in favor of the rest of the cool theme. The doorless shower seems to be a bad design flaw, since it makes it virtually impossible to take a shower without getting substantial quantities of water on the floor. However, if the hotel doesn’t have a beef with that, nor does anyone complain from the floor below, then it’s no biggie.
The room in bath is very clean, although I saw a number of places where wear-and-tear have eroded the luster very slightly. Some minor carpet wear. One or two walls which appeared to have too cheaply-thinned paint coats. One wall next to the door appeared to have some splash marks — I’m not sure if it was something housekeeping missed, or dried paint drips. I inspected the bed very closely before using it, and found it very, very clean. I felt mild amusement that one of the bed’s side drawers was equipped with a copy of Deepak Chopra’s Kama Sutra, as well as mild disappointment that the Gideons had apparently not distributed their books here, too. Why not? Perhaps Vikram doesn’t know that classic Goth music and fashion also incorporated religious iconography.
I was very, very disappointed not to find instructions in or around the desk for connecting to the internet. I called the front desk and was informed that their connection was down and their logins weren’t working. Since internet is a must in my line of work, I very nearly checked out at this point — this was a very bad sign. However, I was able to connect up by purchasing time via the nearby Millenium Hotel’s WiFi access (something like $15 for an hour!), and was able to use that until I left for the conference reception. By the time I returned, staff had found a login on their network which worked, and I used that the remainder of the evening. Once online, the access speed and connection reliability were actually pretty good.
The bed turned out to be extremely comfortable! I’ve slept in a great many hotel beds all over, and found this one to be one of my top-five!
The rooms seemed quite sufficiently sound-proofed. I think I heard other guests briefly a couple of times out in the hallway, but otherwise the place was much quieter than a number of other hotels I’ve stayed at in Manhattan.
The Night Hotel provides complimentary continental breakfast in their lounge in the morning, and this was okay, although very small. I can’t complain at all about this, because I haven’t found all that many accommodations in New York City which provide this! It had a couple of choices of juice, milks, pastries, scrambled eggs, tea and coffee, and only three cereals to choose from. Really the only downside is that it’s served in their lounge/bar area, giving one the feeling that one has just awakened after passing out in a nightclub, and is now eating breakfast in an environment alien to the concept of breakfast! It feels weird to eat breakfast in a bar lounge. But, like I said — I feel so grateful to have complimentary breakfast in an NYC hotel that I’m really not complaining about the environment at all — I’m more amused at the slight feeling of disconnect. (They also offer breakfast via room service.)
The staff were all uniformly friendly and polite. They were perhaps younger than average for hotel staff in New York, but they also seemed to be pretty customer-service oriented.
Weirdly, I never saw any goths while staying here! I was probably coming in/out at the wrong hours to run into any, since I was working close to an eight-to-eleven conference schedule. Most of the people seemed to be young couples, Europeans, and one other businessman. Admittedly, I was never really gothed-out, either, since I was here on business. The staff tell me that they do get a lot of goth guests, though.
The lobby and halls were probably the most high-concept areas of the hotel, design-wise. The furniture was sleekly modern, with perhaps an antique buffet thrown in, and a couch with a cool black-and-white exotic animal skin (this won’t be to the liking of animal-rights activists). The high-attitude photography used in the hotel’s marketing materials was throughout, and gave an air of mystery. Slightly sullen, thin models sporting tattoos, coming half-out of their clothing, in all sorts of staged tableaux.
The one and only negative surprise was a $10 charge for internet use on my bill upon checkout. I don’t believe I’d ever been informed at any point that there was a charge for internet use. This was cheaper than many places that charge for internet, however, and I only had problems with access the first night, and I really used internet three nights — so, I didn’t complain.
I was so pleased with the cleaning staff that I left them a higher-than-usual tip in my room when I left!
In all, I think the stay was well-worth it. The hotel is in expectable price range for a Manhattan hotel, and perhaps a bit cheaper than many other high-end or boutique hotels. It was clean, well-maintained, and well-managed. The goth motif is fun, and light enough that many “normals” would have no real problems in staying there. It is *not* a family hotel, and parents with young children should look elsewhere. The location is great for tourists, and fairly pleasant. I’d give it about 4 stars.
Based on this experience, I’d definitely like to try out other Vikram Chatwal hotels — I like the imagination displayed in this place, coupled with solid hotel service!