Although I’ve been to New York more times than any other city in the world, I still don’t have a good grasp on the city’s hotel scene. That’s because for many years, my family had a studio apartment on the Upper East Side and I stayed there the majority of the time. Unfortunately, we sold the apartment, but that’s only opened the floor for me to check out the city’s finest hotels—and of course, report my findings back to you.
A couple of weeks ago, I spent two nights with my dad at a luxury hotel that I’d never even heard of, called Hotel Chandler, and I quickly discovered that it’s one of the city’s hidden gems. Here are seven reasons you might want to stay there the next time you’re in New York City:
Hotel Chandler’s location is perfect for business and leisure travelers alike since it’s at the intersection of the Flatiron District and Murray Hill (31st Street between Madison Avenue and Fifth Avenue). There are subway lines just a few blocks away; Grand Central Terminal is a 10-15 minute walk and there are all kinds of stores, shops, and restaurants nearby, including Eataly, which is eight blocks away and is where my dad and I went for some authentic Italian food. The hotel is also just a short walk from the Empire State Building, Madison Square Park, Penn Station, and Times Square.
2. Boutique, but classic
One reason you’ve probably never heard of Hotel Chandler is that it’s not one of those over-the-top, hip, stylish hotels fighting for travel blog headlines. Instead, it’s a classic boutique hotel in a 1905 Beaux-Arts building that underwent a $10 million renovation just last year. The owners don’t want it to become a trendy property and rather prefer it being a quiet hotel in Midtown Manhattan with a “home away from home” feel. Hotel Chandler has 138 rooms and suites that feature an intuitive layout and an array of luxury amenities. Guest room design features includes smooth, black granite work desks and rich cherrywood armoires.
3. Stay connected and charged
You might think that a hotel that’s 100+ years old would lack electrical outlets—heck even relatively new hotels in New York City do—but not Hotel Chandler. Leisure and business travelers will appreciate all the outlets, including ones by the bed. On top of that, they also offer complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi.
4. More complimentary goodies
In addition to the free Wi-Fi, the hotel also has a complimentary coffee and tea service set up in the lobby. There are also newspapers in the library. My dad and I also really appreciated the complimentary overnight shoeshine service because there’s nothing like having shiny and clean shoes.
5. Luxury items
The bathroom is stocked with Molton Brown toiletries and the comfortable beds come with soft Frette Italian sheets and fluffy duvets and pillows. My dad and I looked forward to the evening turndown service because the maid leaves Le Belge chocolates. One of my favorite parts of the rooms was the working desk, which comes with a ridiculously comfortable, ergonomically correct chair. And did I mention that my dad loved the Frette bathrobes and slippers so much that I think he’s still walking around in them?
Since the hotel is in the middle of a side street, not many vacant taxis drive by so if you want one and don’t want to walk out to one of the corners (especially on a cold or rainy day), the doorman will chase one down for you. Gotta love that!
Juni is the hotel’s boutique restaurant, which serves seasonally inspired dishes in a small 50-seat space. Acclaimed Australian chef Shaun Hergatt takes great care with every flavor, taste and texture to ensure that each dish lives up to the restaurant’s name, derived from the Latin word for June, the heart of the harvest season. My dad and I had lunch there and all they offer are a few seasonal choices and a prix fixe menu for $30 for two courses or $35 for three. For starters, we had parsley root soup with tapioca and granny smith apples. For my main entrée I had something I’d never heard of before…cocoa tagliatelle with broccolini and hon shimeji, while my dad had the black kingfish with pommes purée and blood orange.
Hotel Chandler is a special hotel and perfect for those who are not looking for a scene. They have a helpful, friendly team that seems to enjoy working there so it seems there’s no reason this place won’t be around for another hundred years.