Once a no-man’s land of wholesale-only shops, the area - near the Fashion Institute of Technology - has become a Mecca for boutique hotels, with more than a handful sprouting up in the past five years.
The hotel’s 280 rooms pay homage to fashion with clean, modern lines. Ralph Lauren allowed the interior designers to reproduce one of his vintage polka-dot wallpaper patterns. Classic menswear pinstripes are utilized throughout the small rooms, from the navy blue carpet, to the headboards, lampshades and duvets. Bespoke nightstands with crisscross legs hark back to 19th century sewing machines and the polka-dotted bolster pillows echo the Lauren wallpaper, creating a uniform design theme.
Large windows offer postcard perfect views of the Empire State Building and high ceilings make the small rooms feel more spacious than they are. Bathrooms are tiny and utilitarian, with a small shower that may feel cramped for anyone who isn’t model-thin. You can console yourself with the Gilchrist & Soames London Collection bath amenities.
The centerpiece of the modern lobby is a pattern cutting table that doubles as a check-in desk. Employees, from doormen to check-in clerks, are clad in pinstripe uniforms, custom-made for the staff. The black and silver tones of the lobby are broken up by the colorful spools of thread in the art piece, “After Mondrian (Fashion 26)” by Devorah Sperder. Don’t forget to take a complimentary Crumbs cupcake at check-in (or check-out).
Eating and drinking
A number of rooftop bars exist in the neighborhood and Fashion 26 has one of the chicest. RARE View is small but offers a great view of the Empire State Building as well as the throngs below. The bartenders know how to prepare a drink behind the cedar bar - my favorite was the Fashionista Cocktail - and if you’re hungry, you can enjoy a light snack under the stars. If you get there on the early side, you’ll be one of the lucky few to have a seat otherwise you’ll have to stand around with the rest of the crowd.
The hotel has an outpost of gourmet burger joint RARE Bar & Grill. It seems a bit odd to have such a restaurant in a hotel that caters to models but the food is inexpensive and filling. You can try a variety of burgers made from choice cuts of beef such as filet mignon and rib eye, all topped with artisanal cheeses. But the guilty pleasure on the menu is the 'frickles' AKA fried pickles. You can’t stop at one.
The hotel doesn’t have a gym or spa. But with so many sights in the area, why would you want to spend your time working out?
Friendly and efficient. I was able to check-in and out quite easily and the doormen seemed to anticipate my every move. The complimentary Crumbs cupcakes helped.
Who stays there
Fashionistas, models and the men who love them. Locals tend to head to the rooftop bar during the warmer months.
The Christmas and New Year holiday period is high season, and avoid booking a room during the Fashion Week, which normally occurs during the second week of September and February. The hotel is a popular choice for out-of-town fashion writers and buyers. You can save 15 per cent by booking early. AAA and seniors get an additional 10 per cent off.
- Business Centre
- Fitness Centre
- High-Speed Internet
- Room Service
- Culture vultures
- Celebrity spotting
- Great views / scenery
- People watching
Pros & Cons
- Great rooftop bar
- Stylish rooms
- Too many fashionistas
- Small rooms and bathrooms