Maybe the reason I’ve always favored the West Side of Manhattan to the East Side is that the western edge of the island is closer to Malibu. Not by much, mind you, New York being both the quintessential big city but also quite small geographically, but the preference goes beyond the psychological. The East Side represents Old New York and it has the East River but, frankly, it’s not much of a river. The West Side, on the other hand, has got the Hudson, a river that’s both wide and quite beautiful. Looking out across its storied expanse to New Jersey, the riverbanks still quite green and lush in spots, you can almost get a whiff of the frontier. But for a long time the West Side was considered the back end of New York, a somewhat tough area and not a place where the important things were. But from the transformed Meatpacking District to the new Hudson Yards, the West Side knows how to cash in on that famous grit. Which, of course, is getting less gritty all the time.
And if these are slightly philosophical thoughts, well, please forgive me, because I know that New York is not the kind of city that holds either idle thoughts or nostalgia in particularly high esteem. What New Yorkers do prize, though, is a good view, and from just about anywhere at the Kimpton Ink48 Hotel you’re going to get one. That’s because the hotel is a tower located at 48th Street and 11th Avenue, a vantage point which affords sweeping views of the Hudson from one side of the hotel and electric views of Midtown from the other.
As the hotel says, the majority of the 222 guestrooms and suites showcase those views through oversized windows—and most have sunset vistas, too. High ceilings confer a loft-like quality which is accentuated by a bright, contemporary—dare I say, Californian?—sort of décor, so don’t think Gotham gloom, think Pacific light. There are neutral color palettes paired with unexpected (for New York) pops of color, with custom furnishings and fixtures like overhead lamps with shipyard-inspired pulleys—a nod to the Hudson River piers nearby—as well as ceramic bedside lamps, nightstands with leather inset tops and stylish throw pillows. If you really want to dial up the drama, check out the Heaven Over Hell Penthouse Suite, which, they say, must be seen to be believed. I didn’t see it, but I do believe it, because the view from my room on a lower floor was so stunning I didn’t bother with pictures because none could hold a candle to the real McCoy.
The Press Lounge is perched 16 stories above and is one of New York’s best rooftop destinations with breathtaking views of the Manhattan skyline and Hudson River year-round. On my visit, I spotted TV’s Delaina Dixon (of the popular site DivaGalsDaily.com) and we agreed that the views from up here were simply divalicious. Two things I love about the Ink48’s rooftop lounge, besides the view? Baseball caps are not allowed and there is no bottle service—socially speaking, I can’t think of much that is more offensive than wearing a baseball cap (unless you’re playing baseball) or anything more obnoxious than “bottle service,” so kudos to the management here for keeping things classy. Now, back at the lobby level, there’s a hosted wine hour with a thoughtfully selected red or white every evening (the PRINT restaurant is also located on the lobby level) and here you can, if you really insist on it, wear a baseball cap (though I didn’t see any).
This location has a printing press past, hence the name, but today it’s on the edge of the rapidly changing Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood. Stay here and you’re within fairly easy walking distance of nifty stuff like the High Line (love it), Hudson Yards (don’t love it) and, should a Broadway play be on your agenda, Times Square. But the place is anything but touristy, which is why at the end of the day, you’re going to love it. Visit www.ink48.com.