The Whitby, New York

Kit Kemp’s sig­na­ture use of mis­matched pat­terns, tex­tures and colours is again in ev­i­dence, to great ef­fect

Business Traveller - - TRIED & TESTED | HOTEL -

BACK­GROUND Open since Fe­bru­ary, this is the se­cond New York prop­erty for Lon­don-based bou­tique group Fir­m­dale Ho­tels (the other is Crosby Street).

WHAT’S IT LIKE? Like all Fir­m­dale’s ho­tels – which in­clude Lon­don’s Ham Yard, Char­lotte Street and the Soho – the Whitby has an im­me­di­ately iden­ti­fi­able de­sign aes­thetic, cour­tesy of co-owner Kit Kemp. Her sig­na­ture use of mis­matched pat­terns, tex­tures, colours and imag­i­na­tive art­works and arte­facts is again in ev­i­dence through­out the prop­erty, to great ef­fect.

The Whitby is most rem­i­nis­cent of the new­est Lon­don ho­tel to open, Ham Yard, al­beit on a slightly smaller scale. Like Ham Yard – also a new-build – its bright, rest­ful lobby has a loom ceil­ing in­stal­la­tion by Hermione Skye O’Hea and an eye-catch­ing clock­cum-art piece. This one, by Dutch de­signer Maarten Baas, is an in­ge­nious mixed-me­dia grand­fa­ther clock, the face of which shows a ghostly Fa­ther Time rub­bing out and re­draw­ing the hands as each minute passes.

The ground floor is ar­ranged in a loop – the lobby leads to the guest-only draw­ing room, which in turn leads to the Orangery and the Whitby bar. Staff are warm and keen to help, wish­ing you a good day on your way out, and wel­com­ing you back with a smile.

WHERE IS IT? On West 56th Street and Fifth Av­enue, three blocks south of Cen­tral Park.

ROOM FA­CIL­I­TIES There are 86 rooms and suites across 16 floors, rang­ing from en­try-level Su­pe­rior (31 sqm) to the 171 sqm Whitby suite. Each is in­di­vid­u­ally de­signed in colour­ful, homely style and has ware­house-style floor-to-ceil­ing win­dows. All of­fer free wifi, Bose speak­ers, Samsung TVs, Blu-ray play­ers, mini­bars, safes and free bot­tled wa­ter. Bath­rooms are clad in gran­ite or mar­ble and have twin sinks, walk-in show­ers (suites also have free­stand­ing tubs and TVs) and Kemp’s Rik Rak toi­letries.

Some 14 suites have pri­vate ter­races, in­clud­ing my 15th-floor dual-as­pect Ju­nior Ter­race suite, which was spa­cious, airy and well sound­proofed, with black­out blinds, a sump­tu­ous king bed, a desk with USB sock­ets, a walk-in wardrobe and a full-height case of books. The roomy ter­race was a great place for a night­cap look­ing out at the lights of Man­hat­tan.

RESTAU­RANTS AND BARS The Whitby bar and restau­rant is open for break­fast, lunch, af­ter­noon tea and din­ner. The ad­join­ing Orangery is a calm space for a cof­fee, a bite to eat or one-to-one, with a glass vaulted ceil­ing and a small ter­race. I had a very good break­fast, se­lect­ing some lus­cious fruit from the con­ti­nen­tal se­lec­tion along with a fill­ing av­o­cado toast dish from the à la carte menu. Din­ner was also ex­cel­lent, with both my roasted egg­plant starter and pork schnitzel main fea­tur­ing lovely, sub­tle flavours.

MEET­ING FA­CIL­I­TIES On the lower ground floors are three richly dec­o­rated event spa­ces – the ad­join­ing Aram­inta and An­rep, which to­gether hold 90 peo­ple for a re­cep­tion, plus the Read­ing Room, which seats 48 del­e­gates and can be used by ho­tel guests. There’s also a 130-seat screen­ing room.

LEISURE FA­CIL­I­TIES There is a well-equipped gym on the third level be­low ground. Michelle Harbi

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