Sleepover: Paramount Hotel
A bed for the night in New York
Sunday 20 June 2004
A Philippe Starck hotel designed for Ian Schrager, the Paramount is a dime's throw from the hustle and bustle of Times Square. Don't expect to see a name plaque. Look out instead for the red roses sprouting from the marbled façade. Of course, this doesn't impress all visitors: I heard one soaked guest complaining that he had been walking up and down in the rain looking for the place.
The lobby is a highlight in itself: a huge space with an extremely high ceiling - 22ft to be exact - and a mismatch of designer chairs, benches and sofas that has no real theme but somehow works perfectly. A sweeping staircase leads to the mezzanine level, where you can people-watch from the balcony - a meeting point which buzzes day and night. The lifts are something else. Each is lit in a different mood-inducing glow (red, orange, blue and green). A daily weather report is displayed on a mirror on each floor. And the location is perfect for the theatres.
The comfort factor
On closer inspection our bedroom could have done with a lick of paint - and a few more square feet - but the furniture will quickly divert your gaze. The mammoth, low-set bed, decked out with crisp white linen, heavy duck-down quilts and lots of pillows, sits under a gilt-framed, cushioned Vermeer print. A TV and goodies drawer is tucked neatly inside a tall, thin cupboard. Roses, juicy apples and a cookie greet you on arrival.
You can depend on having one of the famous Starck stainless steel basins with single high tap - which splashes water everywhere but looks good. Soap and shampoo comes from the hotel's Aqua signature brand. Other products in the range can be found among other goodies with a price tag attached. Ouch!
The food and drink
Take the lift to level two for breakfast, lunch or dinner in the Mezzanine restaurant, or drinks in the Library bar. Funky music adds to the chilled ambience. Around $60 (£32) per head for three courses. Breakfast, which is served until 11.30am, costs around $25 (£14): the full American will set you up for the day, or try the Paramount granola - it's the best I've ever tasted.
Staff who look like they've stepped off a catwalk discreetly glide around the foyer. The clientele is a mix. I clocked businessmen, mothers and babies, even a rock band. A fashion shoot was under way in one of the rooms and Carrie Bradshaw was sitting next to me in the bar - OK, that's a lie, but it looked like her kind of place.
Just a short walk from the Rockefeller Center and the shopping opportunities of Fifth Avenue.
Hotels in New York don't come cheap and it's difficult to find a bargain. But with the pound so strong against the dollar, the Paramount is worth every cent. A standard double room costs $165 (£90) per night.
Fully accessible, with deluxe king rooms best for people with disabilities. Children welcome.
Paramount Hotel, 235 West 46th Street, New York City, NY 10036, USA (00 1 212 764 5500; www.ianschrager.com).
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