I took a photograph of a goldfish in a bowl on a purple yoga mat next to a 12-foot high window. In the background, a sweeping view of the Hudson River included the floating Intrepid Museum of Air, Space, and Sea —the moored aircraft carrier with the Enterprise Space Shuttle onboard. I was wearing a black and white Zebra-striped hotel robe pulled from the closet with a little card that said, “Go Wild.” Indeed! I clicked away gleefully with my camera—sailboats going by.
Welcome to Suite 1015 at Ink48, a Kimpton hotel on 11th Avenue near 48th Street. Our perch in this whimsical haven in the Hells’ Kitchen section of Manhattan has floor-to-ceiling windows stretched about 30 feet across, joining the bedroom and sitting area, as well as a corner bedroom window for some cityscape eye candy. We turned the bedroom’s actual flat-screen TV sideways, so we could watch the ships, barges, ferries, helicopters, and airplanes while sitting in bed—real reality-programming featuring life on the Hudson River.
My husband Victor and I had flown three thousand miles to attend a June wedding and didn’t want the gorgeous newlyweds to be the only ones enjoying honeymoon-like romance. We stayed the first two nights of our trip lusciously renewing ourselves in The Pierre, a Taj Hotel with a memorable view of Central Park.
Now we wanted the luxury of a spectacular view of another Manhattan feature, and we wanted to try something with more playful vibes, not far from the theater district. The bride and groom to be, had recommended Ink 48 on their wedding website to out of town guests as “Located just steps from the Hudson River on Manhattan’s west side, this Kimpton Hotel offers boutique style with terrific skyline views from many rooms.”
Guppy Love , Gyms, and Spas—Oh, My!
Our cab pulled up to the hotel’s entrance, where doggie treats welcomed four-legged guests at the front door. Upon check-in, when it was revealed that we did not arrive with a treasured creature, “Guppy Love” was offered. A goldfish with bright orange rocks in the bowl was brought to our room to be our pet-away-from-home.
My husband and I are both writers, so I liked the idea of staying in a converted printing house with a publishing motif. In the elevator, the non-guest floors are named after type fonts: Courier, Garamond, and Helvetica. The restaurant next to the lobby is named The Print. The rooftop bar, renowned for outstanding views, is called The Press.
The drink coasters in the room have a definition of white space on them: “… the area that does not carry any type or image.” Another guest instruction card explains that four-color process printing uses Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black to make all the other colors.
There are other creative touches (some of them for the context of the location and others typical of the Kimpton line of hotels). The back wall of the elevator is very tactile. I was told it was all horsehair, because the horses that pull carriages in Manhattan board close by. Ink48 offers afternoon wine and cheese gatherings for guests, sometimes with a visiting author.
The work-out gym has typical machines and bright colored hula-hoops you can take to your room. Our suite had a yoga mat and a card with yoga positions printed on it. It may be hard to get someone on the phone, but when you do, you can ask to borrow water bottles, work-out belts, and all kinds of goodies. You can also ask to borrow bikes for a ride along the nearby Hudson River. I imagined a real adventure of riding a little further over to nearby Broadway and Times Square
We never got to the cycling, cabernets, or hula hoops, but before checking out, I did indulge in a visit to the hotels’ soothing Ink Spa and a relaxing treatment called “Indelible Expressions.” The only stress was trying to decide which essential oil I wanted/needed (i.e., did I want to be de-toxed, relaxed, or energized?)
Hmmm. Hard to choose. I may need a lot of practice with such questions in the future to hone my massage decision-making acumen. Jennifer suggested I smell each oil and select the one most appealing to me. Lavender won, and in that quiet space, her skilled fingers eclectically blended massage styles to tease away knots.
Best Luxury Memories
While getting increasingly relaxed, I re-enjoyed some of my other luxury memories of Ink48, now imprinted (can’t resist) on my brain:
* We invited two married Manhattan couples we love to come visit us. We showed them the suite and enjoyed drinks on the roof, where 360-degree views include the river scene and the lights of Times Square and the Chrysler building. The night air and lofty panorama were stunning.
The husband of each couple told me separately that he hoped someday to live in a high-rise place in New York with a “real view” like the ones we had at the hotel. In this city, that’s high praise, considering one couple lives in the historic Apthorpe, one of Manhattan’s most desired addresses, and the other lives in three floors of a classic Brownstone on the West Side, a fantasy home.
* My next luxury memory: The bathtub was actually deep! I could bend my knees and be immersed! And if I left the bathroom door open and edged to the side, I could see the Hudson and the Intrepid! And, the tub was big enough for two people. I can tell you empirically that this is true, and that for all the dirty things couples may like to do on romantic get away vacations (Like biking), getting clean together can be very romantic.
*Lying in bed, we had an expansive view of sky only. One day it was the thrills of seeing storm clouds battle it out, but it was our last morning I remember best. We watched clouds – the fluffy clouds of childhood memories and languid days, when time seemed infinite.
We played a Zen game. Pick a cloud and think about it drifting into separate pieces until it disappears. This actually works. We would each pick a separate cloud and focus on it and watch it dissipate until it was gone. Any worries we had also seemed to become smaller and just drift away and vanish as we laid in bed on our backs staring at the sky—comfortably sharing the wonders of nature in one of the world’s greatest cities.
—Lisa TE Sonne for Luxury Travel Mavens