"Back in 1898, when the building was first built, rooms had views," Adrien, the friendly receptionist, chuckled when I noted that I was looking out my window at a brick wall. "But then buildings grew up all around the place." Ah well, views, schmooze! I certainly didn’t mind the lack of cityscape, as there was more than enough to catch my interest in these chic, nautically themed rooms, the first created by famed interior designer Philip Starck for a hotel. The heads of the beds are notched into the walls for a cozy, almost four-poster effect; and some of the standard rooms have super-cool round bathtubs, tiled in tiny mirrors. A nice touch: loaner iPads in each room with free Wi-Fi. Even if you don’t stay here, stop by for a cocktail—happy hour in the block-long train of lounges here is quite the scene.
- Pauline Frommer