Q: What is it? A: It looks modern. It feels modern. I’d say that it is a modern hotel in TriBeCa. Concept by Jason Pomeranc. Opened in 2009. Now sold to the Commune Hotels group. Target: Stylish business travelers and (I presume) couples.
The name Smyth plays off of the most frequently used alias when a hotel guest is checking in with the intention to, ahem… cheat on his/her loved one. According to hotel mythology, ”Mr. and Mrs. Smith” are not very likely to be married. That may not be good news if you are a happily married Smith who just want some rest.
Here’s where Mr. and Mrs. Smith are supposed to, as they say, ”do it”. It could also be the area where they will wake up well rested and reinvigorated. The latter is not as thrilling if you want to create a story. Truth is that this bed was incredibly comfortable. For sleep, that is.
A rather stylish bathroom, which is divided from the rest of your room by a frosted glass wall. So when your partner is doing no. 2, the room gets illuminated. You may note the backstage-styled light bulbs around the mirror, providing a bit of Hollywood-feeling and reduces shadows when applying make-up.
The staff at the Smyth were really friendly and helpful (although room-service forgot cutlery when bringing me dinner – mishap corrected swiftly). Doormen, front desk, house-keeping… all seemed to like their jobs. And if they in reality didn’t enjoy it, they will have promising careers as actors.
It’s pretty modern (it opened in February 2009). It’s also pretty big; 100 rooms. Architects: BBG, Brennan Beer Gorman. Interiors by design duo Yabu Pushelberg. And while this writer is feeling extra sophisticated, dropping names: In each guest room; a piece of art by Chicago-based artist John Sparagana.
Like they’ve built the new TriBeCa around it.
Certain hotels become aliens in their own neighborhoods, like if a space shuttle just landed in a medieval city. With the Smyth, the case is quite the opposite. Even though the place is modern (just close to 5 years at the moment I write this) it blends with the Triangle like a de Niro dressed for an illegitimate business dinner followed by drinks and cha-cha. It’s quintessential modern TriBeCa with huge windows and a rather masculine image. And it’s pretty good, especially if you are not paying the bill yourself.
Important first 40 seconds.
When I pass by the hotel the first time, it’s just to drop off my case before going to work. I spend maybe 40 seconds with the doorman and he manages to create a lasting first impression. A positive one, that is. When I return later, front desk is adding to the initial good first 40. It’s an efficient little apparatus in operation and it’s operating with confidence. Not that I expected anything else from one of the more sophisticated members of the Thompson chain. With a staff dressed in Helmut Lang and exclusive materials this bird is definitely shaking its tailfeather. In the hotel world, this is all supposed to rub off on you, dear guest.
Entering a roomy room.
Despite being one of the least expensive rooms in this hotel, #507 is rather spacious. I get the feeling that design duo George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg were briefed to create something sexy, an extension of the hotel name. It almost works. I find myself living in something modern, rather minimalistic and polished that feels more aimed at impress than deliver a warm, fuzzy feeling. No, it’s not very homey (designers have retail spaces like Bergdorf Goodman and Louis Vuitton in their portfolio). Props to them for the lobby that connects with a busy bar without it feeling like checking in at a nightclub.
So, how sexy is it?
The ‘sex’ is supposed to be in the name and, yeah… Kiki de Montparnasse “pleasure packs” are to be found in the mini-bar. I’d dismiss that as gimmicks as the Smyth feels more well-manicured than being aimed at folks wanting a little shag on the side, know what I mean, nudge, nudge… More importantly, the staff so good that you’ll remember them. A hotel typically have less than half a dozen chances per day to deliver service eye to eye. Therefore it’s a bloody mystery why so many are not making the best of that opportunity. A the Smyth they do. They score. That’s why that fourth star is there.
85 West Broadway
New York City, NY 10007
Tell your cabbie: West Broadway between Warren and Chambers.
HOTEL TRIVIA: This used to be a hotel managed by the Pomeranc brothers. Now, they’ve sold it (along with the Thompson name and a few of the chain’s hotels) to the Commune Hotels. A few of the Thompson hotels that will continue to be managed by the Pomeranc brothers, will from now on be renamed and part of the Sixty Hotels chain. Complicated? Yes, a bit. More importantly; does it affect the experience at the hotel? We’ll say after my next stay…