Sleepover: Le Marquis, New York
Sunday 19 September 2004
Just off Fifth Avenue, two blocks from the Empire State Building in one direction, a few yards more from Macy's, the largest department store in the world, and within walking distance of Union Square and Greenwich Village. Just down the road, Broadway slices across Fifth Avenue at the Flatiron building, which is pinched to a point only 6ft wide. The nearby Garment District is stuffed with clothiers and haberdashers.
Bang in the heart of Manhattan with all the hustle and noise that that suggests, Le Marquis is cool, calm and collected, with unflinching staff, tranquil public spaces and serene bedrooms. You don't come here to rub shoulders with the jet set, but if pounding round New York knocks the stuffing out of you, this solid boutique hotel in Murray Hill is the place to restore yourself and still be only a few yards from the action. The building dates from 1907; the hotel opened last year after a radical makeover by George Patero.
The comfort factor
Beds you could get lost in have silky smooth Frette linen. And in the unlikely event that you stay in, there is techno stuff on tap, such as DVD, CDs, Nintendo, the internet, movies. Most visitors will just be glad to collapse into the cloudy-soft pillows and downy bedding after a hard day's shopping. If that doesn't do the trick, there's a sauna in the 24-hour health club.
The opulent little jewel-like bevelled sapphire blue tiles are quite lovely, and typical of Le Marquis's restrained, cooling décor. Fat Frette towelling robes are made for lounging in after a shower (for one or two) with Aveda's natural products. Some rooms have baths.
The food and drink
Help yourself to tea, coffee and fruit around the clock. Breakfast is self-service and costs $15 (£8). There is à la carte room service, and the hotel's Bar 12:31 offers light, sorry lite, lunch bites and, in the evening, Thai tasty bits. But there are several thousand restaurants around the corner. Best get started.
Quiet types of all nationalities, going about their business or stunned into silence by their sightseeing adventures. Deals are thrashed out quietly in the discreet, comfortable lounge as tourists ply doggedly to and fro.
From the hotel you can walk gainfully in any direction, hop on a bus at Fifth Avenue or pick up the subway lines 4, 5 or 6 at 33rd Street to head uptown to the Upper East Side and art galleries, or downtown to the Battery and Wall Street area. Grand Central Station is a few blocks north, with connections to the rest of New York.
Rooms cost from $299 to $550 per night, including taxes. From March to August there are deals from around $209 per room, per night. Bridge Travel (0870 191 7270; www.bridgetravel.co.uk) offers flights from Heathrow and two nights at the hotel from £615, based on two sharing.
There are three steps at the front of the hotel, but in 2005 wheelchair access from next door will have been built. Inside, a wide lift serves all floors and on each floor one king-sized room has been designed for wheelchair users.
Le Marquis, 12 East 31st Street, New York, NY 10016, USA (00 212 889 6363; www.lemarquisny.com).
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