Manhattan’s meatpacking district near Battery Park is nothing if not chic; it has the city’s best entertainment, an Apple store, theaters, and designer clothing stores. And it’s home to one of the best New York City hotel ideas around – it’s the Jane. An experience of the Jane is bound to leave you impressed with how there is practically every trapping of the luxury hotel experience included – albeit, somewhat downsized. You walk in, and the bellman, tricked out in all the requisite regalia, greets you like you were a visiting dignitary. When you go up to your room, and the hushed elevator slides to a halt at your floor, you are announced to your presidential suite; and inside, are all your regular luxury hotel trappings – a great bed, a large screen plasma, a high thread count bedspreads, and the (communal) bathroom has rainhead showers. There is just one little difference though – the room is just about the size of a very high-priced train compartment.
The Jane is, has to be, the cream of the New York City hotel experience. Because you get this experience for far less than $100 a night. If you stayed a whole month, it would cost you less than $3000 – and you would live in the West Village. The hotel has almost 350 rooms, and not one room is bigger than 200 sq.ft., if that. There are a number of regulars who come in, and who’s to blame them for wanting to? This is such a great new concept in the New York City hotel that there are more coming up. Take the Pod on E. 51st St.; in a city where space is the most expensive commodity you could imagine and where living standards are high. Manhattan could be the new Tokyo. When I heard that the British capsule hotel company Yotel was opening in Manhattan, I feared that maybe they were taking my new Tokyo idea a little too seriously. But they weren’t; they come up on West 42nd St. soon, they’ll have real rooms, albeit small ones. Some of these hotels have a few shared amenities like bathrooms; but they’re much better than youth hostels.
Boutique hotels have been around for about 25 years now; are these boutiques then? They could be, except that they’re less pretentious, and invest your money where it really counts. And if anything, these hotels are smaller than the boutique ones. New Yorkers live in tiny cramped homes too, and skip out to experience the town’s great entertainment whenever they are able. When anyone comes in from out of town to stay at these tiny new New York City hotels they can probably feel like authentic New Yorkers themselves.
These hotels work for locals too; go to the Ace on West 29th, and you’ll seen such a vibrant nightlife of artistic people, you’d think it was a club or something. This hotel has such great bars and restaurants inside that it’s turned out to be quite a destination. The rooms at a New York City hotel of this kind usually have the air of a first-class airplane toilet (in a good way). Everything seems factory-made, elegant, and very, very efficient. The Jane somehow has an elegant look to it; some others, like the Pod, use extreme styling. Perhaps this is the way boutique hotels will go from now.