Nestled in the heart of Chelsea, lies The Renaissance, your new favourite boutique hotel in central Manhattan.
The main entrance and lobby area are understated yet refined with the former boasting a stone-walled arcade entry, made to embody the look and feel of an English manor; the latter with mahogany panelled pieces of artwork and antique installation. The vibe is clear, this is classic New York luxury with a modern twist.
On entering, we are greeted by a warm and welcoming team that quickly processes check in. You can tell this hotel is frequented by a wide mix of business and leisure travellers, which makes for a dynamic vibe both day and night. Because of this mix of traveller type, staff are prompt with requests, but always happy to engage in conversation if you have a little more time on your hands. To our right is the lobby bar with what looks like a spectacular selection of American whiskeys, perfect for a New York style night-cap. We’ll come back to the bar a little later in our stay.
For this trip, we are in a one-bedroom Suite on the fourth floor. We always feel a little miffed when receiving a low flow in Manhattan – there’s amazing views to be had – but on opening the door to our room, we quickly realise this is no second best accommodation.
The suite is spectacular – featuring a triple height ceiling with grand pieces of art adorning the walls. Brassy fixtures and colourful upholstery create a warm and upmarket feel. In the living room – a 6 metre high painting of a peacock feather, the design reflecting the new Renaissance brand tones with gold, blue and green hues. This gives the room a relaxing feeling while still keeping with the elegant nature of the hotel. This property was the first in the new Renaissance concept, which brings that very evident modern twist to classical luxury motifs – and it does it very well.
The bed is particularly impressive, with sumptuous bedding and white linen sheets – it’s difficult to get up each morning – and with so much to do on the door-step of the hotel – you won’t want to lie around in bed
The hotel bar features Renaissance’s signature ritual; a complimentary, locally inspired punch cocktail prepared by the hotel’s resident mixologist. We had to take a try on more than one evening on our way out – with the staff always on hand with recommendations.
This very friendly service made sure we were well looked after. This is a feature true to the rest of the hotel, all of the staff members are incredibly laidback which made them easily approachable.
Once you manage to get yourself out of the gorgeous aforementioned bed, The Renaissance is in perfect walking distance of the many features of Chelsea. Florists line the same street and GAY TIMES particularly loved the location as it is within walking distance of many LGBTQ+ establishments in West Village and Hell’s Kitchen.
Nighttime in Manhattan can be a mixed bag depending on your location. Times Square can be overwhelming and noisy, with lower Manhattan feeling sometimes desolate after office hours. However, the hotel neighbourhood was always a great balance of walkable bars, restaurants and queer venues whilst not being noisy or too busy. It’s location off a main avenue helps it achieve its pursuit of calmer atmosphere.
Finding a great hotel in Manhattan is sometimes about experiencing lofty expectations with a minor let-down on entry. Small rooms, tired furnishings and overcrowded lobbies. The Renaissance Chelsea defied all those tropes with it’s highly impressive stamp in the heart of Manhattan.
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