Broadway shows are one of the biggest draws in NYC — in recent years, annual attendance has topped 12 million. That’s a lot of people who need rooms, and the Theater District obliges, with a wide range of hotels, across all price points. Finding the best hotel rooms in the Theater District takes more than plugging your travel dates into a search engine though. To save you the legwork, we reviewed every hotel in midtown to find the eight standouts. Each of these handpicked Theater District hotels impress with a unique sense of style and amenities that go the extra mile, from nightly wine hours to pillow menus to pet programs. Best of all, they’re close to the Broadway action. Check out our favorites, from the splashy Hyatt Times Square, which is crowned by the tallest bar in NYC, to the boutique Chatwal, housed in a landmark Art Deco building.
It’s not just aging Broadway stars who do it. Hotels also have facelifts. After a major multi-million-dollar makeover, the former Milford — once nicknamed the Lullaby of Broadway — reopened in 2013 as the shiny Row NYC. The stylish lobby with glass walls sets the tone for the rest of the hotel, which gives way to small but bright rooms that have pops of color like orange and blue to reflect NYC’s subway lines. The amenities have also been duly upgraded to the 21st century, with ergonomic desk chairs, iPod docking stations and feather pillows. The hotel’s arty glow seeps into the hallways, which have images of different NYC neighborhoods, from SoHo to the Meatpacking District. The District M lounge injects some downtown flavor into the hotel; it serves coffee by day and cocktails by night and is bolstered by a made-in-NY menu, with items like Murray’s cheeses. Of course, the great appeal of the Row NYC continues to be its location, on 8th Avenue at 45th. You can walk out of the hotel five minutes before show time. Rooms from $225. 700 8th Ave., 888-352-3650, book now
Paramount Hotel New York
The Paramount Hotel is an archive of New York design: The iconic hotel – built in a regal French Renaissance style – opened with much fanfare in 1928. Since then, a series of big-name designers have left their architectural stamp, including Ian Schrager and Philippe Starck. And, in 2013, the hotel unveiled another makeover (with a $40-million price tag), this time from Meyer Davis, the man behind such spots as the Nolitan and Locanda Verde. The result is “edgy elegance,” as the hotel puts it, with a double-height lobby dotted with plush banquettes and a reflective fireplace and airy, cool-toned rooms with splashes of royal blue. Theater fans don’t even need to leave the hotel: The Paramount features Queen of the Night, a genre-crossing performance that fuses “music, circus, cuisine, design and nightlife” in the Diamond Horseshoe, the revitalized basement nightclub that hosted vaudeville acts back in the 1940s. Another bonus for theater buffs: It was announced earlier this year that the hotel is now an official partner with the Tony Awards until 2016, hosting Tony nominee luncheons and cocktail parties. Keep an eye out: You never know who you might see lounging in the lobby. From $229. 235 W. 46th St., 212-764-5500, book now
The Muse New York
Looking for your muse? You’ll find it here. “Stay inspired” is the motto at this whimsically named hotel, which pays homage to the Greek mythological muses. The graceful lobby gives way cheerful rooms, hung with original art and filled with luxe amenities, from goose-down beds (hypoallergenic on request) to a minibar with organic goodies to fluffy animal-print robes. But what really sets The Muse apart are the thoughtful Kimpton Hotel services, like the Pampered Pets program. As they say here: Pets are not only welcomed, but encouraged. Your furry companion gets pet beds, food and water bowls, plus concierge recommendations of nearby pet-friendly restaurants, parks, groomers and shops. The Muse even has its own adorable Director of Pet Relations – a teacup Pomeranian named Ginger. The hotel also hosts a complimentary nightly wine hour, where you can mingle with staff and guests. As for dinner and a show: The Nios restaurant offers a creative theater menu in “three acts,” with dishes like smoked duck with manchego and lamb with sweet-potato gnocchi. For dessert? New York cheesecake, but of course. From $289. 130 W. 46th St., 212-485-2400, book now
Outside, it’s the loud and modern world. Inside, it’s a refined tribute to the 1920s. Housed in a landmark Stanford White-designed Art Deco building, this boutique hotel offers a time-out from Times Square. The handsome, spacious rooms, artfully modernized by designer Thierry Despont, are outfitted in all the requisite luxury amenities: 400-thread-count sheets, a pillow menu and designer bathrooms with rainshowers, his-and-her sinks and a TV. Another bonus is the restaurant, which is a destination itself and in a different league from the chain restaurants that dominate the area. The Lambs Club, helmed by chef Geoffrey Zakarian (of Food Network fame), is named after the Lambs, the first professional theatrical club in the U.S. The setting — red leather banquettes, sultry lighting, a stately fireplace — matches the refined New American cuisine served breakfast through dinner (including an excellent pre-theater menu for $49, available from 5 to 6:15pm), which recalls the steak-and-three-martini era, with dishes like lamb drizzled in hollandaise, and New York strip with glazed short ribs and beef tongue. From $499. 130 W. 44th St., 212-764-6200, book now
After a stay here, you may prompted to say, “I think this is the beginning of a beginning of a beautiful friendship.” That, of course, is one of the famous lines from the film Casablanca, after which the hotel is named and styled. But don’t think that this is one of those tacky theme hotels — far from it. Casablanca Hotel, like the rest of the esteemed Library Collection, has style. The lobby decor is a toast to Morocco, with tapestries, rattan furniture and tiled mosaics, as well as a piano, much like Rick used to play in the film (“A kiss is still a kiss …”). The snug but well-appointed rooms have unique, homey touches like wooden slats over the windows. The overall effect is one of an elegant tropical hideaway, which is bolstered by the fact that the hotel has only 48 rooms. Plus, the hotel offers a host of generous amenities, including free breakfast (fresh fruit, thick oatmeal and scones, plus gluten-free toast, should you like). In the evening, mingle with other guests and staff at the complimentary wine-and-cheese reception at Rick’s Cafe. But, it’s also easy to work off all those free calories: The hotel gives out free passes to the nearby New York Sports Club, a quality full-service gym. Ease into the evening by curling up in bed for an in-room screening of Bogart and Bergman; the hotel has plenty of Casablanca DVDs in stock. From $255. 147 W. 43rd St., 212-869-1212, book now
Room Mate Grace
Enjoy a dash of downtown in Midtown at the colorful Room Mate Grace. From the Euro-styled crowd to the creative furnishings, this is a hotel that skews more funky than formal. Hallways lined with boldly patterned black-and-white wallpaper lead to comfortable rooms with arty lights and plump beds with silky linens. The Washington Post accurately summed it up: It’s like the “Spanish-born love child of a Kimpton and a W.” The hotel also has this important amenity: New York City’s only swim-up bar. Suffused in a glow of pink and blue, the hotel’s 21-foot-long lobby pool has a swim-up-bar that hosts pool parties — DJ music and all — that heat up the hotel a couple of times a month. From $199. 125 W. 45th St., 212-354-2323, grace.room-matehotels.com
If you’re sitting in the historic lobby of the Algonquin Hotel and something soft rubs up against your legs, don’t be alarmed. It’s probably Matilda the cat, the hotel’s beloved mascot. Few hotels reveal NYC’s rich artistic history like the Algonquin Hotel, which was the site of the Algonquin Round Table, where Dorothy Parker, George F. Kauffman and other writers and artists famously traded witticisms in the 1920s. The rooms are elegant and well-appointed — all were fully renovated, along with the rest of the hotel, in 2012. The Algonquin’s legacy reads like a who’s who of the past century: William Faulkner wrote his 1950 Nobel Prize acceptance speech in his suite; Douglas Fairbanks and Orson Welles honeymooned here; and Angela Lansbury and Tallulah Bankhead both lived here in their teens. After an evening of Broadway, top off the night at the sultry Blue Bar, where you can sip cocktails and spout Dorothy Parker bon mots like “I shall stay the way I am, Because I do not give a damn.” From $386. 59 W. 44th St., 212-840-6800, book now
Hyatt Times Square
The 54-story Hyatt Times Square, Manhattan’s largest new Hyatt in more than 30 years, is a stunner. The swank silver tower has 487 apartment-style rooms and suites designed by international design house George Wong. Its hallmarks are massive windows, dark woods and art themed around NYC. Plus, the hotel also has a host of upper-echelon services, including a gleaming new full-floor fitness center and Timeless — the Marilyn Monroe Spa, which has glamor-kissed treatments like the Marilyn Signature Fassage (a facial massage) — perfect for your close-up. As night falls, head up (and up, and up), to Bar 54, the tallest hotel bar in NYC, where you can sip cocktails surrounded by the bright lights, big city. From $269. 135 W. 45th St., 646-364-1234, timessquare.hyatt.com
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