Q: What is it? A: A hotel. Another one created by Sean McPherson, the man behind Maritime Hotel and The Marlton among others. The Walker, formerly known as the Jade, almost has it. Or, well… it has, but there’s still room for improvement. Or maybe that other girl in the reception was just a trainee?
Gene Kaufman, architect: “The idea was to have the finished building look and feel like it had been part of the Greenwich Village neighborhood forever. The building is completely new construction, but we wanted to convey a sense of a prior life and have the hotel feel rooted to its place.”
The inside also looks like it’s been around for a while. With rotary-dial phones and all. But everything is new. For that you can blame Andres Escobar of Andres Escobar & Associates who was in charge of the interior design. It’s honestly quite attractive. Both public areas and guest rooms.
Bathrooms are tough spaces to design. This one was fairly OK, although the overall feeling was slightly cold, if you ask me. Plus one of those halfway glass partition that looks good in theory but in practical terms means that you will have quite a bit of water on your bathroom floor.
One of the most successful and unique lobby spaces I’ve seen in a long time. ”Initially problematic”, the architect said. But when there was a flooding in the corner of 5 Ave and 13th I got somewhat scared. The staff managed to seal the entrance off before the water started to flow down that grand staircase.
They started out as champions…
This could have been a five-star location in my book. Check-in was a dream. Friendly. Attentive doormen. Charming front desk. ”Finally, a successful new hotel operation”, read my mental note. And the lobby is spectacular in an intimate and cozy fashion. Very few details will tell you that the building is brand new and that the hotel opened in spring 2013. It’s elegant, attractive and despite looking old it feels new. Andres Escobar & Associates did a good job, not only with the lobby but also with the guest rooms.
But then the machinery start to creak…
I show up at the front desk with some shirts for pressing. ”There’s an iron in your room”, the young lady says. Well, of course, but now I wanted to leave these with you to have them pressed, I argue with a tone of voice so smooth that I’m even surprising myself. A confused girl reluctantly accepts my laundry bag + list, looking even more surprised when I ask for express service. It seems like the folks at the then Jade, now Walker, need to step up the training of their staff. I detect little frictions. The bill is almost reluctantly presented to me. I quickly realize that I need to grab my case and hail a cab on the Avenue of the Americas myself. I’m puzzled. Especially since check-in was a dream.
I will give it another chance. Yes, I will.
I won’t do it reluctantly. I really want this place to feel like a great hotel. The location is superb. The architecture is flawless. Rooms are very attractive with their makassar ebony and textured hardwood. Sean MacPherson, the hotelier behind the Maritime Hotel, The Marlton (only six blocks away) and others, certainly master the art of ”infusing places with feeling”. But the same MacPherson has also said ”It’s not like L.A., where things are cool for a long time. In New York you only get a year.” Then, Mr. MacPherson, your year will soon have expired. You’d better kickstart staff training. Can you pull it off in three months? I’d like you to. Honestly, I do.
52 West 13th Street
New York, NY 10011