There’s a solid argument that the goal for a modern boutique hotel is individuality. The sense that you’ve shunned all things cookie-cutter, all things familiar, and walked into a one-of-a-kind apartment…one that has equal parts warmth and immaculate design cues.
The Whitby’s New York offering takes midtown Manhattan’s chaos and grind, and pops chic, cheeky, noise-cancelling headphones all over it: you’ve (blissfully) forgotten where you are from the moment you walk in. Every inch of the hotel feels like it’s been meticulously thought out, bursting
with eccentric objets and wild canvases.
This hits you upon entry. You’ll weave your way through arresting sculptures and way-out hero pieces in the lobby alone. And if you think all this luxe eccentricity feels more than a little bit British, you’d be spot-on: the Whitby was dreamt-up by Tim and Kit Kemp, the British duo who’ve long since won over hearts in London with their hospitality group, Firmdale Hotels – famed for their Covent Garden and Charlotte Street spots. “We feel that Midtown can be just that little bit too serious and what we wanted to add was colour and wit,” Kit said about the space. Mission accomplished, then.
Each of the 90-or-so rooms here has an individual design direction, meaning no two stays will be the same – Kit has made sure of this herself. But if we could gently guide you in one direction, it’d be a beeline towards the terrace suite – there are a few categories of these, and none will do you wrong.
These suites encapsulate precisely what it is we go to New York to chase: immaculate design, dreamy architecture, a distant hint of the wild energy of the city, and satisfying retreat of your own quarters.
Yes, you can reach Central Park or the MoMA quicker than the barista will make your morning latte. But there’s a case to make that you can get a culture injection without ever leaving the Whitby.
The food offering is a cut above the average, and, mood permitting, we endorse a swerve towards the squid ink pasta – crisp, fresh, with just the right kick of chilli to put an end-stop on the day.
Yes, the hotel is lacking a pool or spa – so if you’re looking for a pampering, you’ll probably want to head elsewhere. However, if you’re only squeezing a few days into NYC, the prime location, 24/7 gym, and sheer cosiness of the Whitby makes for an awfully good squeeze.
While you’re In the big apple
Double-down on style and NY-worthy experiences.
One of New York’s vibiest (and American GQ-endorsed) menswear hideouts is only 20 minutes away on the F Train. Expect crazy soft knitwear and slouchy, skate-inspired hero pieces for your wardrobe. 18east.co
This well-kept secret in New York isn’t totally a secret anymore – but fame hasn’t made a meal at Eric Ripert’s haunt any less dizzying. le-bernardin.com
Haegue Yang at MoMA
With Handles, Yang – the Korean-born, Berlin-based artist – has created an immersive, experiential world that totally rebels against any notion of ‘genre’.
A great way to lose an afternoon. moma.org