How’d you like a view like this from your hotel room in midtown Manhattan? Okay, truth be told, the skies are rarely this dramatic in the Big Apple, but New York does get sunset and cloud drama, especially in the fall. Even without the sunset blessings or if you happen to be there on a dreary February day, it’s one helluva view, don’t you think? We thought so when we first checked into our Renaissance New York Midtown Hotel suite during a recent stay in late January when we headed east for the New York Times Travel Show, one of our favorite travel events in the states. Be sure to read my write-up on the event because if you love to travel, you won’t want to miss this annual event. If you’re a business traveler, you’ll also want to know about the Renaissance since it’s a stone’s throw from the Jacob Javits Center where so many conventions and events are held. Even on a cold day, it was an easy ten minute walk to the Javits — no taxis, Uber or metro. In other words, ideal!
Fairly new, the Renaissance New York Midtown Hotel, is New York City’s first multi-sensory, interactive “living” hotel. Created with the award-winning digital design firm Réalisations Inc. Montreal, the hotel has set up this very cool opportunity to interact with technology and digital artwork that apparently changes with every visit.
Guests and visitors entering the hotel from either 34th or 35th Streets (we used both as they are equally convenient) can interact with stunning digital displays projected along the corridor, a passage which spans the length of an entire block. The display does not change on its own, it only responds to human movement, and the interaction between walkerbys and the wall creates a visual tapestry of subtle, organic graphics.
In producing this ambient intelligence, an environment that is sensitive and responsive to the presence of people, Réalisations utilized a variety of technologies including reflective wallpaper, motion detectors, projectors and 3D cameras to capture and project data and movement occurring in the corridor. The oh so cool a “living” interactive wall showcases a vision of the digital future.
Think local artists and neighborhood experiences, showcasing the ever-changing tapestry of the city and the energy of the surrounding Garment District. Timed to mirror the opening and closing of the elevators, the projected digital displays are always evolving.
The hotel is a six minute walk from Madison Square Garden, one block away from Penn Station, a nine minute walk from the Empire State Building and a 13 minute walk from the Theater District. The rooms have free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs, marble bathrooms and mini fridges. Many have city and/or skyline views, and some have balconies or terraces. As for the suites? Modern, chic, artistic and creative and you get your own living room seating area. Take a look at our ceiling, which is pretty standard of other suites on the property — we checked! I had a look at three different suites and two standard hotel rooms. They are all expressively decorated with touches of whimsy, warm yet vibrant colors — in other words, artfully balanced that will appeal to both leisure and business travel guests.
Suite bathrooms are spacious, a rarity in New York especially in midtown.
Then there’s their ever so creative lobby and relaxing lounge area, as well as a fitness center.
If you’re on a VIP floor or have booked a suite (likely one in the same), you get access to their breakfast lounge, which is only open to YOU. One caveat is that it’s only open Monday through Friday, which makes it a great add-on for business travelers.
While we’re talking food, it’s worth noting their upscale sports bar restaurant on the premises called Rock & Reilly’s, which blew us away. Sure, it’s casual and FUN, meaning it’s a great venue for a few cocktails and to kick back. While it’s not fine dining, the cuisine is a cut above what you’d expect from a hotel eatery. The Food & Beverages director is Robert D’Arcangelo and the chef is Chef Chai Trivedi, who comes from Indian heritage and both went over and above to make us feel ‘at home.’ Be sure to read my write-up on the restaurant as it’s definitely worth a stop by and, as much as this may sound crazy given the chef is Indian, ORDER the pasta! His sauce is outa this world — even Anthony agreed! We couldn’t get enough of it although rest assured, their salads, brussels sprouts and apps were oh so delicious as well. They also have a dining terrace which is a nice plus.
And let’s not forget that view!
Note: I was a guest of the hotel but all opinions expressed are entirely my own. They didn’t pay me to write this or have any influence on what I wrote. This write-up is how I experienced the hotel.