Hudson Hotel, Midtown West, Manhattan, NYC, NY ****

Q: What is it? A: A place that used to be one of the hottest spots in the hotspot that we call the Ginormous Fruit. Today it’s less hot, attracting more tourists than models… but it’s a nice place to stay at and sometimes that’s just enough.

Hudson – Midtown West, New York, NY – the façade
Not a nuclear plant. Not a transformer station. No one else than Philippe Starck at his best. If I could vote for the most amazingly brutal façade of any hotel, anywhere, this would be it for sure. Thirteen years after its opening, it still holds its position.

Hudson Hotel – New York, Manhattan – the bedroom
Before the $20 million renovation of 2011 rooms were even more minimalistic. And in my opinion Philippe Starcks original design was better (too much dayglo green now). Those newly added bedside lamps by the British x-ray photographer Nick Veasey are pretty nice, though. I want one.

Hudson Hotel – New York, Manhattan – the bathroom
The bathroom featuring a mirror with illuminated frame. A frosted window between shower and bedroom allows more light into the bathroom. It’s comforting that there’s a curtain that will prevent any bedroom companion to even imagine what you’re doing on the toilet.

Hudson – Midtown West, NY – the lobby
A classic. To the right; the green-lit escalators leading up to the magnificent lobby which has not been touched by those in charge of renovations. To the left; the huge front desk. Aurora works there and she made check-in so much nicer simply by being a nice human being!

Hudson – Midtown West, NY – the escalator
Possibly the most well-known escalators in the hotel world. Luckily there’s one leading up to the lobby and one leading down to the entrance. Both are the same color.

Hudson Hotel – New York, Manhattan – the bar
Years ago, Jennifer Lopez threw a few parties in this then pretty hip Hudson Bar, which meant that security at the entrance loved to give folks carrying large cameras (read: me) a hard time. The bar still has a cool disco-floor and a hand-painted Francesco Clemente ceiling mural. The bar is still a crowded spot during AW hours. No. Erase that. It’s not a spot. It’s a scene.

Both the stars have now left the building…
When bringing the Hudson up, you can’t bypass Ian Schrager, the man who changed our views on what a hotel is. He’s also the guy who created the Hudson in the year 2000. He is no longer involved with the Morgans Hotel Group and therefore not longer with the Hudson. Philippe Starck who designed the Hudson was not involved in the latest big renovation/update of the Hudson. So is the Hudson really the Hudson these days or has it become something else than the Hudson it once was?

The brutal façade of the Hudson isn’t going anywhere.
The outside of the Hudson remain. The green-lit entrance and matching escalators of the Hudson are still there. Public spaces such as the lobby of the Hudson and the library of the Hudson are kept intact. The bar of the Hudson looks pretty much the same, but has adopted a new concept, called Henry, a liquor bar. But corridors are no longer dark/grey/black. Carpets and doors are poisonous green. And the main restaurant, the Cafeteria (which had one of the better hotel breakfasts in NYC) has given room for Hudson Common, a something that resembles a sports bar a tad too much. The main elements of Philippe Starcks original design remain but a TV-screen with basketball? At the Hudson? C’mooon!?

“It’s so tiny you have to go outside to change your mind.”
My guess is that the management of the Hudson would prefer the description they provide at their website: ”Inspired by the romance of transatlantic travel…” It has been renovated, but the so-called upgrades haven’t always been for the better. They’re lacking the touch of Starck (who either is a genius or a clown, depending on who you ask). The general impression remains: Tiny rooms with makore wood panels. And no minibar anymore! It’s worth mentioning that the room in the photo above, despite being large as a postage-stamp, is in fact a mid-size room at this hotel. There are about 1000 rooms available. Which is way larger than your average boutique.

It’s still a hotel I recommend.
The concept still works: Minimal rooms and spectacular public spaces at a price tag that will not make your plastic melt. In addition, every member of the staff that I met was friendly, helpful and even charming (the latter would go for Aurora who made checking in a lot of fun). There was a time when those working at the Hudson were considering themselves way cooler than their guests. Not so anymore. But I still miss the breakfast buffet they used to serve. It was $26 but you could fill your bowl with fresh berries. Please, bring it back, Hudson management! Speaking about concepts that work; another Hudson is scheduled to open in 2015, in London, UK. My gut feeling is that Europe will welcome you with open arms.

Errata: The escalators are not green-lit. They are chartreuse-lit. My bad. Sorry.

Hudson Hotel
356 W 58th St
New York, NY 10019
United States

+1 212-554-6000

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