Arrival/Check-In: “Discreet” best describes the entrance to The James hotel. Located in SoHo on the corner of Grand and Thompson streets, the signage is so subtle my cab driver missed it the first go-round. We circled back and found the entrance, but I was surprised when I realized the gentleman I thought was waiting for my cab turned out to be the hotel valet — his understated uniform did nothing to give away his occupation. I paid the cab driver and followed the valet into a small entrance to an elevator for a short ride to the lobby. While I was checking in, the front desk attendant mentioned I had been assigned a room on the 17th floor, right under the bar. She suggested it might be noisy and offered to find an alternative, but with nothing immediately available, I opted to take my chances with the original room and didn’t regret it for a minute.
Guest Quarters: My corner room featured two walls of floor-toceiling toceiling windows offering sweeping views of the neighborhood and the Hudson River. The minimalist décor featured dark flooring offset by white walls. A small round table with one cafeteria-esque chair was tucked into the corner under a television mounted on a concrete column I assume must have been original to the building. Instead of a bureau or chest of drawers, a leather-topped bench did double duty as seating and storage space. Small nightstands and wallmounted reading lights bookended the king-sized bed. A hotpot for in-room tea and coffee service was tucked into the minibar cabinet. The bathroom was a bit on the dark side, even when I opened the privacy screen to let in natural light from the bedroom windows. A large walk-in shower featured a rainfall showerhead. In a nod to the green movement, the hotel stocks bath amenities by Intelligent Nutrients in large wall-mounted containers, but personal-sized bottles are available upon request. I was a bit surprised to discover body lotion was not in the mix that included shampoo, conditioner and body wash.
Services/Amenities: My one-night stay was too short to experience all The James offers. The hotel serves up complimentary beverages and snacks (coffee and pastry in the morning, fruit and water in the afternoon, wine and cheese in the early evening and freshly baked cookies at night) in the James Club Sky Lobby. The David Burke Kitchen offers locally sourced “modern American” cuisine with seasonal alfresco service in the David Burke Garden. The Treehouse Bar serves artisanal cocktails and light snacks, while the JIMMY rooftop bar is a “classic pub with a 1970s New York twist” that opens to a rooftop pool deck during warm-weather months.
The Experience: The James New York bills itself as a “luxury boutique hotel,” but I’d say it’s more “trendy” and “friendly” than “luxury.”
- Reasonable arrival-to-room time
- Separate tub and shower
- Large vanity
- High-quality towels
- Large, flat-screen television
- Large desk with convenient outlets
- Complimentary WiFi
- Ample lighting
- Quality bed linens
- Choice of pillows
- Powerful, unattached hair dryer
- Iron and ironing board
- Easy-to-set alarm clock
- On-site restaurant and bar
- 24-hour room service
- Coffeemaker in room
- Large, complimentary laptop safe
The James New York
27 Grand St.
New York, NY 10013
tel 212 465 2000
After driving through the arts and entertainment district of Delray Beach, I was expecting the lively and vibrant energy to follow me to my doorstep at Crane’s Beach House that evening. I was pleasantly surprised when the spirited rumble of a night downtown halted right at the front gate. As I walked the pathway to the front office for check-in, I was welcomed by a quiet rustle of the greenery and flowers that guided my walk, strung with lights and colorful, tropical décor. At check-in I was provided with a complimentary parking pass; although I would only be there for one night, I much appreciated this unexpected perk. I received my room information, including a pass code that would open my door. Keyless entry was a nice touch.
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