The Best Room In The House: The Greenwich Hotel
It should be like sitting down to watch an action film where the lead role of a New York taxi driving sociopath is taken by renowned bad boy The Honourable Sir Rocco Forte: “You talking to me? Well, I’m the only one here. Who the fuck would you like to talk to? Concierge finishes at 9. Room service, sir?”
OK, enough with the easy jokes. Of course Mr de Niro’s not going to be working behind the desk on his days off from filming. But maybe we’ll catch sight of him sipping a chai latte in the drawing-room, or perhaps hear him in the other room slamming the head of the General Manager with a baseball bat because he didn’t think he could trust him anymore. At the least, we want to make sure that he brings the same intensity and attention to detail that he brings to his acting.
The good news is, he does (the attention to detail stuff, not the killing of the GM). I suspect that only in a de Niro production would you get a dozen real Japanese craftsmen flown in to spend 6 months hand knitting an authentic bamboo ceiling together without nails or rope for the beautiful swimming pool. It’s enough to make you take up backstroke. And only in a de Niro production would the bellboy be called Hallelujah (‘Hal to my friends’).
The Greenwich Hotel has the feel of a New York varsity club which itself was based on an old English country house. There is a substantial drawing-room with a roaring fire, comfy armchairs in purple tones and soporific dim corners. Outside, is a courtyard. These areas, along with the pool and spa, are kept exclusively for hotel guests and it encourages the clubby feel.
When you walk to one of the 88 rooms, you walk along wide creaking floorboards, under reclaimed beams, and past hand-cut terracotta tiles imported from Italy. The corridors feel intimate, with tall atelier windows and stripped red brickwork. Surprisingly, the hotel was built to commission, taking six years from the ground up.
The rooms are all individually styled, but what seems consistent are French-style padded bedsteads, more wooden floors, creaking old wardrobes and generous helpings of marble in the bathrooms. Pick a room with a balcony and you can sip your own chai while admiring the sunset.
This is not an extravagant 5 star but a place to step out of New York into, where it’s okay to stop for a minute.
The best room in the house is undoubtedly the two bedroom duplex. It continues the country house comforts, with reclaimed wide oak wooden floors, and an open fire, but the whole thing is given New York razzamatazz with floor to ceiling windows. It is the most stunning hotel room I have ever walked into.
The bathrooms are not extravagantly sized, but each has a double sink, and one has a roll top bath carved from a single piece of marble.
Throughout the hotel, you’ll find an eclectic collection of second-hand hardback books, and great toiletries, by Red Flower of NY. It’s these touches of detail that make it so homely, that makes you want to kick off your shoes and fall asleep under a book.
This is definitely Mr de Niro’s place, with his attention to detail and his understated simplicity. You can hear Mr de Niro’s voice in all of this, from the subtly variations introduced into the new bricks, the choice of comfortable but not extravagant throws, the individual, heavily woven cushions, the artfully chosen books. And when asked what he wanted after the carpenter had finished with the wide-planed oak floors, you can almost hear his simple answer: kilim. CHRIS WEST
The Greenwich Hotel thegreenwichhotel.com.