Review: 1 Central Park, New York
General Info and Location
1 Hotels is the brainchild of Barry Sternlicht, founder of Starwood Capital Group. After a long delay due to the 2008 financial crisis, 1 Hotels opened its first hotel by converting the Gansevoort South Beach in Miami. It then opened its flagship hotel, 1 Central Park, in August 2015.
The hotel is located on 6th Avenue and 58th Street, a block behind Central Park South and directly behind the Ritz-Carlton Central Park. It’s easy to spot with its ivy-covered lower floors – there are over 24,000 different plants inside, around, and on the hotel. The abundance of green fits with the eco-luxury concept of 1 Hotels and was probably one of my favourite things about the hotel.
I paid $264 (excl. tax) for an Alcove King room, the second category room, but was moved up one category to a Studio King facing 6th Ave. I only found out about this during a second stay when I booked a Studio King and had almost the same room – key difference with the Alcove King is a slightly bigger size and better views.
Taking the room product at 1 Central Park as an indication of what we can expect as the brand grows, I cannot wait for it to pick up speed. Benefitting from that new hotel smell, overall I loved the design, the materials used, and the execution of the eco-friendly approach.
Wood dominates, in the floor, furniture, and against the wall behind the bed. The dark metal in the glass wall and the heavy sliding door separating the bathroom, the railings for the curtains and the light fixtures brings an industrial touch. I liked the chocolate leather headboard and the crisp white sheets. There are little pops of green in a potted plan on the desk, up on the wall, and even green “antlers” on the bathroom wall.
I loved the window seat, with base cushion and pillows, from which I had a view towards Central Park; a room facing 6th Avenue or a corner room on 6th and 58th will give you the best views.
Walking into the room, there are two different set ups, with the vanity either within or outside the bathroom. The shower is clad in niche light marble, with both a handheld and rain shower. A slab of wood has a little sand timer if you want to keep track of how long you are using water. A floor to ceiling set of wooden shelfs was stacked with lots of fresh white towels. Custom 1 toiletries come in large dispensers (soap at the vanity, body lotion, and shampoo, conditioner, and body wash in the shower – all “naturally derived from cedar and vetiver”). There is no bottled water in the room, but triple filters mean you can drink the water straight from the tap.
There are simple, intuitive panels to control lighting both at the entrance and next to the bed. Forgot to turn on the privacy sign when you stepped into bed? The panel is right beside you. Simple buttons like “wake up” and “relax” and “raise” / “lower” make it incredibly easy to create the mood you are looking for. Each room comes with little thoughtful touches, like a yoga mat, socks to keep you warm, and both a hair dryer and a steamer.
Eating and Drinking
Jonathan Waxman’s farm-to-table restaurant Jams occupies most of the ground floor. It hadn’t opened yet beyond a minimal continental breakfast spread. This is one of the few bones I’d have to pick with the hotel: at a hotel of this standard, the limited spread (it wasn’t possible to so much as toast the bagels they had) in my opinion needs to be offered complimentary to compensate for there not really being a proper breakfast option onsite. It shouldn’t be something you get charged $28 for. Disappointing.
One floor up from the lobby is a series of meeting rooms and a fitness centre with a decent selection of weights and exercise equipment. Central Park is a block away, which is fantastic for a run. There is a Tesla Model S that will take you anywhere within 15 blocks on a first-come, first-serve basis. It’s a gorgeously sleek car, and fits with the environmentally friendly approach.
WiFi is free throughout the hotel. I logged on when I arrived and it worked consistently across multiple devices. You are provided with a Google Nexus 5 which acts as the central device to control lights, act as remote for the TV, call or text with hotel staff, get your car from the valet, read your morning newspaper, and more. If you’re not used to it, it feels a little odd getting a call from the front desk despite the fact we do everything on our smartphones now. You soon you wonder why you ever found it strange though.
I did have some issues with the Nexus in its function as a TV remote. It wouldn’t always respond, but most annoyingly, the TV switched on for no reason several times. It woke me up twice during the night, which I wasn’t overly pleased with as you’d imagine – it was fixed the next day, which I was told was a permanent fix.
Service and Status Benefits
Overall, I found the staff to be very friendly. Many introduced themselves by their first name, and were easy-going and approachable. In particular, I thought the doormen did a great job in recognising guests and making you feel welcome, especially when I returned for a second stay a week later.
I haven’t been this excited about a new hotel brand in a long time. I thought the hard product was some of the best I have seen; every surface, every material, it all just felt and looked great. All in all, the room was such a pleasant space to be in, I’d jump at the chance to come back. 1 Hotels is working on a hotel at Brooklyn Bridge Park, and hopefully many more.