By Kylie MacKenzie
Steps away from the best of everything in a quiet corner of the legendary NYC theatre district, The Chatwal on 44th is one of a collection of landmark buildings from the early 1900s by the flamboyant builder Stanford White (An extrovert with a penchant for beautiful women, White was shot in Madison Square Gardens by a jealous husband.). Around the corner from Times Square and minutes from Bryant Park, the iconic hotel has recently been restored to its past glory. Architect and designer Thierry Despont won the commission and, true to form, he returned “a romantically bejewelled urban retreat with a sleek modern design.”
The stylish new Chatwal is a welcoming oasis. The hustle and bustle of Broadway fades as we walk through the door, greeted by the hotel’s team of private butlers and concierges. Each of the 76 rooms and specialty suites sports built-in cabinets wrapped in faux leather to resemble pieces of classic luggage, walls upholstered in luxe suede and custom furniture designed by Despont. Fourteen even boast spacious terraces with fountains and seasonal foliage.
Our beautifully appointed 700-square-foot Producer Suite is perhaps Despont’s ‘pièce de résistance.’ Located in the penthouse, it’s a grand space for gracious entertaining. A spiral staircase leads to a spacious roof deck with a divine outdoor living/dining space and a one-of-a-kind view over the Manhattan skyline. Inside, the living room has its own fireplace, bespoke lighting and chic cinnamon-and-spice hued leather furnishings. Why not avoid the crowds at Times Square and enjoy the New Year’s Eve ball drop from here?
The Chatwal’s Lambs Club is named for the first American theatrical society that called the building home. It has been returned to its former glory under the direction of Chef Geoffrey Zakarian, who is known for his modern approach to American cuisine. Combined with The Lambs fabulous Empire-style décor and chic black-and-white portraits, the space is a timeless tribute to the stars of yesteryear. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, there’s also an ever-popular, three-course pre-theatre menu that comes with the chef’s personal promise to get us “to the show on time.”
Oozing with nostalgic glam, the glitzy Art Deco lobby bar, adjacent to The Lambs Club, has become one of NYC’s hot spots for the, ‘see and be seen’ crowd. By day, it serves as a chic gathering place. Come evening, signature cocktails and The Chatwal’s award-winning wine list take centre stage, with fashionably dressed theatre goers and hotel guests sharing after-show tales. I wouldn’t be surprised if Liz Taylor and Richard Burton stopped by for a nightcap.
For the shopping- and show-weary, tailor-made wellness services at Chatwal’s petite MYND Spa include a variety of enhancements using the latest technologies. A saltwater lap pool, jacuzzi plunge pool, fitness centre and private changing suites make a peaceful afternoon here a welcome respite.