A Home Away From Home in Manhattan

Over the past ten or so years, I've had a chance to visit New York City for business and pleasure a good dozen times. When you visit a particular city that often, you tend to become partial to a specific hotel - call it a home away from home. It provides familiarity and allows you to get to know a specific area of the city.

My choice when visiting New York City, more often than not, is The Shoreham Hotel. The hotel has gone through quite a few changes and an expansion or two since I first started staying there in the late 90s. The hotel's minuscule 1920s-era lobby has been expanded to a much larger lobby with a trendy bar/restaurant with doors that open to the sidewalk, sleek meeting room s and a nicely laid out breakfast room. Recent renovations have added an art gallery and fitness center - amenities that were but a dream a decade ago when the hotel had roughly 80 rooms. Today, the hotel has 174 rooms, all of which have been renovated.

The hotel's style is a blend of modern design with touches of art deco that recall the hotel's pre-Depression origins. Throughout you'll find touches like backlit perforated headboards (they seemed to be doing this about 10 years before other hotels) and art deco-inspired lamps and sofas. The hotel used to have some great Warren McArthur tubular chairs from the 1930s but, as best as I can tell, the hotel got rid of them.

Room sized can range downright miniscule (the small rooms in the first hotel expansion from the early 2000s) to larger suite-like rooms. I used to ask for rooms in the old part of the hotel but those have since been renovated. Chances are they will still be larger than the small rooms in the expansion. So, ask for a room in the original wing of the hotel and you should get more space. Bathrooms are relatively small but, unless you plan on spending an inordinate amount of time hanging out in the bathroom, they do the trick. The Shoreham has always provided great toiletries and in-room amenities like complimentary water, CD players, etc as well as complimentary espresso and other treats in the common area.

Room rates can vary depending on the time of year - sub $200 deals can still be found when the hotel is running specials. If you've got plenty of money to spare, you can rent out the hotel's penthouse suite for $1500 a night with the likes of Yves Saint Laurent. The hotel's Atrium Loft is profiled in a WB11 segment called Suite Party Places.

This block of W. 55th offers several dining options including a couple of nice Italian restaurants. Walk one block west and you'll hit Avenue of the Americas. One block east is 5th Avenue. A short walk north will take you to the south end of central park.

If the hotel is booked up, check out The Mansfield Hotel, one of the Shoreham's sister properties. I stayed there one summer and found it to be another great boutique hotel. Either hotel will provide you with a refreshing change from the typical Hilton, Marriott or Sheraton near Times Square.

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