NEW YORK NEW YORK! THE REFINERY HOTEL
A reasonably new hotel has descended onto Manhattan’s fashion district to bring the dark and mysterious allure of an upscale hotel to an otherwise uninteresting area of the city. If you’re in the city for the first time, this might just tickle your fancy. It’s located a short stroll from touristy Times Square and is home to one of the cities’ trending rooftop bars.
Rates from $459 for a studio queen
I had high expectations for a hotel that seemed to pitch itself as a refined product – well, at least, that’s what I gathered from the name [The Refinery]. The hotel has all of the right ingredients for success – a dark lobby that lures you in with intrigue, large rooms with impossibly high ceilings and enough character to inspire a Scott Fitzgerald novel. It also has a great location if you’re in The City for just a couple of nights and plan to visit Broadway – really, what was there not to love before I had even stepped foot inside the hotel!?
The hotel is situated in Manhattan’s fashion district – a rare location for upscale boutique hotels. However the hotel has embraced its’ unique location in a building that was once a hat factory. Snippets of this are seen at every turn: from public spaces through to small touches in rooms like wrought iron desks and antique gold handles in enviable bathrooms that are large enough to swing a cat.
At the popular lobby bar guests can enjoy live jazz every evening of the week and complimentary coffee is also available to take away in the mornings. These are nice touches that show the hotel have added an element of care to guests’ experience whilst at the property.
The service and attitude of staff was sadly a little touch-and-go. Some staff were incredibly welcoming, warm, and would go the extra mile to accommodate you. Others were short and abrupt, almost with a snooty attitude that left you feeling more than disgruntled, especially if you’re forking out nearly $500 a night to stay here.
The first thought is sure to be one of size: the rooms at The Refinery Hotel are generously spacious. The interiors are kept mostly black and white, with warm wooden tones adding character and charm. The bathroom was undoubtedly my favourite feature, however I was a little deflated to see there wasn’t a bath tub.
The renowned rooftop bar
If there’s one thing I had mixed feelings on, it was the rooftop bar. The rooftop bar itself is quite a happening place and it even has an impressive view of the Empire State Building. But as a hotel guest, its hard to appreciate the space too fondly. Late in the afternoons out-of-house guests descend on the property and form an orderly queue to make their way up to the rooftop bar. This means that one (of three) guest lifts is entirely dedicated to the rooftop bar and it subsequently takes up to 10-15 minutes just to reach your room from the lobby and vice versa (alternatively, you’ll probably end up taking the stairs).
There are a few generous extras at the hotel that deserve mention. The jazz in the evenings brings the hotel to life, but you’ll struggle to find a seat amongst the many out-of-house guests who come to enjoy the hotel’s rare upscale appeal for the area. The fitness facilities are quite generous, which is another plus. The housekeeping staff are very efficient and offer turndown service on top of your daily service – however sometimes they forget to knock so be sure to make use of that ‘privacy’ sign!
This hotel shows great potential. It is warmly welcomed as a rare upscale boutique property on this end of town (so close to Times Square), but it requires a few minor tweaks to live up to the name that insinuates a refined hotel experience. Hopefully this comes with time, as the property is still relatively new. The hotel is a great choice for the younger crowd (who don’t mind crowds), especially if you’re after a more upscale experience in such a central location.