A dedicated lifestyle hotel from Ian Schrager that first brought life to the then-sleepy Columbus Circle and still flickers as a place to be. The striking design of Hudson Hotel, by master of concept Philippe Starck, became mythic amongst jetsetters and scensters for this graphic mixture of stark and romantic sightlines and furniture pieces. It cuts quite a figure, that’s for sure. The Library Bar, and the countless other public spaces, still remains an exclusive spot with regulars and those making an effort. While the dark-wooded walls and neon-lit hallways still have a draw, all those years of revelry and public attention are starting to catching up with the first edition of this property.
Rooms skew towards the small size—although the floor-to-ceiling wood walls certainly doesn’t expand the illusion of space. It’s a beautiful concept. The truth however is that wood wears down after a while, especially repeated banged suitcases and whatever else happens in hotel rooms. Like all Morgans Hotels, the standard amenities abound from plush robes to workstations to internet access. Nothing too over the top, however.
Bathrooms are weirdly designed with little room between the toilet and the facing wall (sorry folks over 6-feet, you might not fit) and the sink takes up the whole vanity. There is shelving for product stashes, and the white tiles give the illusion of cleanliness. Free Malin+Goetz though!
Like all Ian Schrager properties, the lobby is central pulse of the hotel where further adventures lay behind. There’s a lot going on this lobby, not just human traffic, but design-wise: African wood reception desks face a neon-yellow plexiglass cube that contains the escalator, an army camouflage ivy tent hangs over large glass Baroque chandelier. Steppenwolf would have felt at home here—and we all know that Starck and Schrager love an entrance.
Modest 24-hour basic fitness center available to guests of the hotel.
A few restaurants have come and gone, and now the tastes of Umami Burger in its Flagship location offer juicy beef patties in a snappy casual setting (or upstairs in the room). There’s a $28 breakfast buffet in the Library, but it’s not particularly a hit amongst guests.
The Library has become an institution is nightlife, though it currently isn’t as hot as spot as it used to be. The dramatic space, which winds through a club-room with high-stacks of books and pool table draws in a crowd who perhaps belong to the sorts of clubs this is modeled after. There’s also the Hudson Bar, perched above the Lobby and designed with Jalisco in mind offering tequilas and mezcals in a more subdued setting. In warm weather, the rooftop garden opens and most likely becomes the hotel's economic driver for the year: this place gets packed.
The hotel is steps from the Columbus Circle station that sees the 1, A/C and B/D trains all dock.
Right near the hotel is the Shops at Columbus Circle, which have the consistently performing Landmarc (American Nouveau and great wine) and oMomfuku Noodle Bar, as well as the exclusive sushi Bar Masa and Michelin-starred Per Se. Jean-Georges’s splendid Nougatine (5-minutes) is also a short walk from the hotel.
Drinking can be a bit more of a daunting task in these parts, but never pass up a chance to dine a the bar of Gabriel’s (5-minutes walk).
WHY WE LIKE IT
The Hudson Hotel is a stunner, but like all great beauty, looks fade. Come for The Library, but maybe sleep elsewhere.