Insights • Inspirations • Destinations • Design

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Perfect New York Hotel? (At Least For Literary Lovers)

New York has always had an allure for writers. Gritty, compelling and full of metropolitan myths and gossip, it’s long been a subject matter that’s begged to be written about. "Rome may be a poem pressed into service as a city," as Anatole Broyard once put it, but New York is an energised, explosive editorial, bashed out with emphatic passion and Carrie Bradshaw-style zeal. It’s a bumptious collection of phrases and clichés, all patched together with a couple of dozen exclamation marks and then put out there on the newsstands and bookstores for its fans to soak up.

Even the city's hotels seemed to be designed for writers. The famous Chelsea Hotel was, of course, a Mecca for novelists and journalists, with everyone from Arthur Miller to Tennessee Williams, Dylan Thomas, Jasper Johns, Thomas Wolfe, Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan calling the place home at one time or another. The Algonquin was another noted hangout for writers, notably Dorothy Parker and her Round Table pals. Other hotels have incorporated libraries into their interior design, to appeal to the book lover in all of us. The Library, The Night Hotel, Q Hotel, The Mercer and Andaz (among others) all feature book-lined spaces in either their lobbies or their suites, so you can browse the shelves for some Manhattan inspiration.

Searching for a hotel to stay at for a visit in May, I checked availability at all my old favourites. The Library was as full as A A Gill author talk. The Mercer was booked out with celebs. And the Andaz was just too darn expensive.

That's when I stumbled across NoMad. And I tell you, it was like finding a first edition of Cecil Beaton's Portrait of New York. Complete with dust jacket attached.

NoMad is a book-lover's mirage. A magnificent Beaux Arts building in the newly fashionable NoMad neighbourhood (North of Madison Square Park), it has only been opened for a few days. (So the availability is pretty good!). Now it doesn't look like your standard Manhattan hangout, but that's a good thing, in my opinion. It's more Parisian in feel, but with a modern, New York influence.

The rooms were designed by Jacques Garcia – who wanted to recreate the feel of a beloved Parisian apartment of his younger years. Each features clawfoot baths, antique plank floors, views of the Empire State and Flatiron Buildings, and a distinctly glamorous look. Oh – and there are also vintage desks, should you wish to write about it all.

But it's the public areas where NoMad really shines. Inside this historic old gal is a gracious, thoroughly gorgeous new interior, complete with a grand high-ceilinged lobby, a double-storey Library bar with a mezzanine catwalk and a staircase imported from the south of France, and a salon-style dining room called 'The Parlour'.

The idea was to create a place that felt like "a great house" in the "grand European tradition". They've certainly achieved it.

I, for one, will be tickled pink to stay here.

1170 Broadway  New York, NY 10001. P (212) 796-1500.

{Images via NoMad and Hotel Chatter}


  1. How exciting! It looks very stylish. Thank you for sharing, I love living vicariously.

  2. How gorgeous!!!!
    Hope you will be able to drag yourself away from the library bar and use the antique desk to write and tell us all about it!!!! J. xx

  3. Have a great time in New York!

    The public rooms do look fabulous, especially for all book lovers. So much ambience! Will be interested to read whether they live up to the images and expectations. Sadly, loathe the recent trend for bathrooms to appear inside the bedroom. I like to shower/bathe in the privacy and comfort of a lovely bathroom. Do not/not want to look at the bath tub from my bed. I continue to love the traditional Asian hotels like the Sukhothai in Bangkok where the bathrooms are huge and luxurious and beautifully decorated down to the potted white orchids and the white bathrobes and enormous mirrors. Of course a hotel in Western Europe with rooms of this size and luxury would be affordable only for the super rich.

    In May this year we'll also be away, in Milan, then Antibes, Aix en Provence and St Remy - rooms and bathrooms (no baths inside bedrooms for us) will be much more modest in size and less luxurious, but still comfortable and pleasant.

  4. This has nothing to do with libraries but I was thinking this morning of your recent post on your difficulty falling pregnant. I have nothing helpful to add but please know that I often wonder how you are going and hope you are ok with it all. I haven't been there but I have seen friends in the same situation and it's heartbreaking. Fiona x

  5. Oh Janelle! I'm sighing in Hobart. That bath! But the library is just captivating. Please take some photos when you're there! J x

  6. New York hotel is really a perfect hotel as it looks like amazing with old style of designing. Actually that is the strong part of the hotel that attracts your eye towards it. Thanks for sharing.
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Thank you for stopping by. It's always lovely hearing from The Library's readers.

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