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- Rooms 16.5
- Public Spaces 18
- Service 17
- Overall 17
Let’s get something out of the way: most of the guest rooms at the Hudson, a hyper-stylized Philippe Starck dreamworld of a hotel just two blocks from Columbus Circle and Central Park, are minuscule. Fittingly, they’re a modern take on old-fashioned trans-Atlantic ship cabins, and though they’re under-sized, starting at just 130 square feet, the design is fully realized — walls paneled in rich, dark cherrywood, African hardwood floors, bedside lamps by the British x-ray photographer Nick Veasey. Beds covered in crisp Egyptian cotton linens and billowing down duvets don’t make the rooms any larger, but like the C.O. Bigelow products in the bathroom, they certainly make things cushier.
If you’ve heard the cliché about the city’s sleeping habits, you know that the point here is not to hole up in your room, anyway. There’s plenty of acreage to roam in the Hudson’s de facto backyard — that would be Central Park — while the hotel itself offers an Alice-style wonderland of social spaces. To say that you’re transported as you enter the hotel is to put it quite mildly. The lobby, with soaring glass ceilings and brick walls dripping with ivy, is reached through an escalator encased in a luminous glass tunnel.
The theme continues in the heated, glass-roofed Private Park, home to forty-five-foot trees, still more ivy-covered brick, and a mix of antique and modern garden furniture that invites a long, drink-in-hand laze. For something cozier, the Library Bar is styled after an old English drawing room — enormous fireplace, antique billiards table, and classic leather sofas and wing chairs. But the Sky Terrace is the real pièce de résistance; from the fifteenth floor, views of the city and the Hudson are spectacular.
The bold, whimsical design makes for a hotel that feels as much like a social club, not so much an escape from the buzzing city outside as a more private, stylish version of it. It’s a departure from the midtown norm, to be sure, but if you’ve read this far, you’re probably as inclined as we are to score that in the Hudson’s favor.