The lowdown Hell’s Kitchen isn’t somewhere you would necessarily think to spend a holiday in New York, but I reckon Ink48 will change all that. One of those small bespoke hotels that’s catnip to travelers, it’s a renovated 1920s factory that takes glorious advantage of its high rise position in an area of the city that enjoys a building regulation that keeps all competitors at five storeys in height. Hence an award winning rooftop bar and some of the most glorious views I have ever enjoyed in Manhattan.
There’s a snug, reassuringly stylish lobby, all wood, bronzed metals and dim lighting. Oh, and don’t be put off by the doggy bowl as you go in – this isn’t quite Dog Hotel, but your darling little pets will be welcome.
The rooms From what I could see, there wasn’t a bad room in the place. I didn’t get a chance to see the 1,100 square foot Heaven Over Hell penthouse, as some lucky couple were having a wedding (and no doubt enjoying the adjacent rooftop 2,200 square foot terrace), but given the rest of the place it is no doubt splendid.
We had a suite with a stupendous vista across the Hudson (or the North River, as that stretch is otherwise known). We could have stretched out and touched the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum on pier 86 and enormous passenger ships docked at their terminals right outside our sleek strip of window.
It’s all as luxe as you’d expect. Yoga mats, bespoke Frette linens and rather kooky animal print bathrobes. The family rooms are perfectly adequate and for those of a more romantic disposition, they do some rooms with massive baths plonked right in view of the bed.
Eating Truly, the food at Print, Ink48’s restaurant, is astonishingly good. We dined with friends who are native New Yorkers (thereby spoiled for choice) and they were vowing to return by the time they finished their heirloom tomato entrées. Charles Rodriguez is Executive Chef (the dining room itself is a glam medley of bronze tables and leather banquets) and, in keeping with the hotel’s interest in sustainability, has devised a delicious menu that offers the chance to eat ingredients sourced from the local area - a sort of premier farm-to-table experience that has resulted it in Zagat’s guide placing it in the top 5 per cent of NYC places to eat. High fives to the peekytoe crab salad and the grilled arctic char with corn chowder.
Drinking Hurrah for Press Lounge rooftop bar, and in particular the AMAZING and utterly uninterrupted views over the Hudson and Manhattan itself. It’s buzzy, beautiful, opens at 4pm til 2am and is so popular with Mahattanites there is a queue outside every weekend. My husband and I doubled the average age when we popped up – but when in Rome…
Why Hell’s Kitchen? We are now evangelical about this area of NYC, somewhere I had never previously explored while living there. We loved the Hell’s Kitchen Diner on 39th and 9th, which sits right beside the weekend flea market – pick up vintage clothes (the coats and jackets are particularly decent), jewellery and some talking-point home pieces. Then pop into the fabled Pony Bar (named after the short drinks that used to be served at track meets) on 47th and 10th for craft beer, while lovers of genuine Mexican cuisine MUST check out Tulcingo del Valle on 655 10th Ave. At least pick up fabulous Mexican sweets to take home. Outside of food, try the Chinese Rub A Dub salon on 829 9th Ave, as you can get a 20-minute reflexology session for a mere £18. Just what you need when you walk as much as Manhattan demands.
The details Ink48 Hotel, 653 11th Avenue New York, NY 10036; tel 00 1 212 757 0088. Rooms from $409 (approx £257) per night.
By Eilidh MacAskill