Hotel Review: Distrikt Hotel, New York City

(C) Christina Saull Photography – All Rights Reserved

(C) Christina Saull Photography – All Rights Reserved

I love hotels. In fact, some (including my husband) may say that I’m obsessed with them. I love sleeping in a bed infinitely more comfortable than my own. I love watching cable TV channels I didn’t know existed. I love having someone else perfectly make my bed & fold my towels on a daily basis. I love not feeling guilty for eating a $4 can of Pringles out of the mini-bar at 2am.I love hotels & when I find one I particularly love, I tend to stick with it. For instance: the Library Hotel in New York City – it’s my default place to stay when I’m in the City. In fact, I’ve actually based trips to NYC on whether or not I could get into the Library for a non-bank account emptying amount. So the fact that we chose to stay at a different hotel when we traveled up to the Big Apple in October was a big deal. Luckily for me, the Distrikt Hotel blew my expectations out our 32nd floor window (which actually opened to let fresh air in).

Tall & skinny, the Distrikt Hotel is 32 floors/155 rooms of boutique chic-ness. Every three floors is done in a different “theme” with art dedicated to NYC’s neighborhoods. We stayed on a Harlem floor – there’s also Chelsea, the Financial District, Central Park & others. One thing I loved about the hotel is how it seamlessly blended in with its neighbors in the Fashion District’s transitioning neighborhood. I was nervous about the fact that the hotel was located across from the Port Authority Bus Terminal, but never felt unsafe, even at 1am. Even more encouraging, the hotel is active in the Fashion Center Business Improvement District & the over 60 non-profits that call the area home. I was also excited to learn that the hotel was totally locally focused – the walnut wood used in the amazing carvings in the elevators & behind the front desk was locally sourced, the architecture firm is based in Manhattan, the designer is based in Brooklyn, & even the welcome treats that greet every guest are baked locally. It’s the first hotel in New York City to completely focus on the City.

(C) Christina Saull Photography – All Rights Reserved

(C) Christina Saull Photography – All Rights Reserved

(C) Christina Saull Photography – All Rights Reserved

(C) Christina Saull Photography – All Rights Reserved

welcome snack
(C) Christina Saull Photography – All Rights Reserved

Our Grandview King room felt palatial by New York City hotel standards, but was actually only 250 sq ft. The amazing view of the Hudson River, Hell’s Kitchen & Times Square made me want to spend as much time as possible in the room. The linens were crisp & soft, the dresser & wardrobe space ample, & the little touches like the cupcakes they left us along with a “Happy Anniversary” note made the stay feel special.

(C) Christina Saull Photography – All Rights Reserved

(C) Christina Saull Photography – All Rights Reserved

(C) Christina Saull Photography – All Rights Reserved

(C) Christina Saull Photography – All Rights Reserved

(C) Christina Saull Photography – All Rights Reserved

anniversary roses not always included :)
(C) Christina Saull Photography – All Rights Reserved

The other thing that sets the Distrikt Hotel apart is the customer service. After a bit of a glitch & a rocky start at check-in (which I Tweeted about), our concerns were immediately addressed by the front desk manager & more than made up for. The majority of the staff was welcoming & even remembered little details like the fact that we had our anniversary dinner at Le Bernardin (& allowing us to gush about it the next day).

While the Library Hotel will always have a soft spot in my heart, it’s nice to have another chic, comfortable boutique hotel option in New York City. Distrikt Hotel, we will be back.

If you go, know…
– It’s definitely worth it to pay a little extra for a “Grandview” room – especially if you’re not a regular NYC visitor. Even on our third day there, I still could not get over how spectacular the view was.
– The breakfast in bistro downstairs was a bit limited & a bit pricey. It probably fits the needs for the European travelers who seemed to fill the hotel, but if you’re looking for a big, American-style breakfast, you’re better off to hit one of NYC’s many diners.
– I never found a book in our room that detailed the hotel’s services & area attractions, but learned it never hurts to ask – the front desk was able to shine my shoes for me!
– The robe provided in the room is lovely, but there’s only one. Probably could have gotten a second one if I had asked, but it seemed odd that I would have to ask when the reservation was for two people.
– You won’t be able to get a cab to save your life. This isn’t the hotel’s fault; it’s just how the City is. So be prepared to walk, or take the subway – it’s very conveniently located to the hotel just down W. 40th.

You may be surprised to know…
– the bellman speaks six languages
– starting in November 2011, the hotel will be using completely green solar & wind energy for their electricity needs
– the hotel is part of Choice Hotels Ascend Collection. Better known for their budget road trip options, Choice started acquiring boutique hotels three years ago
– the tile work in the lobby is an exact match to that in Grand Central Station
– the spelling of Distrikt comes from the Dutch spelling – the original settlers in New York City

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About christina

Christina is a 30-something D.I.N.K. travel writer & photographer who travels the world often wedged into the middle seat. Follow her on Twitter & Facebook.

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