Midtown Manhattan has no shortage of upscale hotels—but as Times Square and Central Park have filled up, developers are looking for new locations. In late March, Marriott opened a new Renaissance hotel on West 35th Street, a block that already had a Wingate hotel, and was close to several other midscale properties, but lacked an upscale option.
“The Garment District is going through a revitalization,” GM David DiFalco said of the property’s location. “Having it across the street from Madison Square Garden and Penn Station made it a no-brainer. The location is as good as it’s going to get.”
The new hotel is notable for its extensive outdoor space and for its use of technology in its public spaces.
Fresh air is a key feature of the hotel, with multiple spaces offering al fresco options. Suites on the 37th floor have balconies that look over the city. Few other buildings in the West 30s reach that height, providing a good range of views in all different directions. On the eighth floor, some rooms have 300-square-foot private terraces that look over Madison Square Garden and Penn Station. These terraces have a full outdoor living room set up for relaxing outdoors, and are about as large as the rooms inside. The walls between the terraces can be removed, letting large groups socialize in a private space.
And outside of the hotel’s restaurant is an 8,000-square-foot patio with a retractable roof. Foliage in planters can be adjusted to create private spaces as needed, and a high-table area at the edge looks south over Penn Station and its departure board—a nice perk for business travelers stopping for a drink before catching a train. “It’s a huge space; we’ve had parties there already,” DiFalco said. “Nobody in the city has anything of that size.”
The hotel is decidedly next-gen in terms of technology. When guests emerge from elevators, a projection on the facing wall seems to open up as well, with video clips of a person skateboarding, flowers in Central Park or Grand Central Terminal. A hallway that connects the hotel’s 34th Street back door to the main entrance on 35th Street has a “living” wall that interacts with guests walking through it, creating abstract or ambient art that reacts to human movement.
But the coolest touch is in an alcove located near the 34th Street entrance that serves as a digital guide service. Through a partnership with Time Out New York, the hotel’s team of concierges will curate a database of events, restaurants, shopping venues and shows that is updated daily at 4 a.m. “The digital technology is very forward-thinking and progressive,” DiFalco said.
And at the top of the hotel, four-story LED screens tower over the neighborhood with a digital clock visible from all over Midtown (and from the patio downstairs). The design changes hourly to stay fresh and continually catch the eye.