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New York is electric. Retail wonderland aside, the Empire State is brimming with architectural treasures, trendy restaurants, and some of the most atmospheric neighbourhoods you’ll ever come across. It’s a city that truly never sleeps, and it is this same raw energy and vigorous passion for art and design that translate to some of the most inspiring hotels at its core, Manhattan.

These Manhattan hotels span the spectrum, from top-shelf luxury to swanky Millenial boutiques, but they all have one thing in common: An impeccable eye for design. Here, you’ll find Art Deco cues at one, and mid-century modern lines in another — a reflection perhaps, of the pulsating metropolis’ diversity. 

Here are the best design-focused hotels in Manhattan in 2019. 

Moxy NYC Chelsea
Moxy NYC Chelsea

The third to join Marriott’s millennial-oriented Moxy Hotels is Moxy NYC Chelsea, a 349-room establishment that sits in Chelsea’s buzzing flower district. Fittingly, the experience begins via an unassuming entrance through the decorated Putnam and Putnam Flower Shop, leading into a green oasis within the concrete and steel building by Stonehill Taylor.

The hotel is a constant contrast of both the natural and concrete jungle. A Brutalist concrete staircase culminates into a cosy lobby lounge swathed with plants, while the rooms are overseen by Yabu Pushelberg, who has deftly transformed the rooms with adaptable sensibilities. Moxy’s 35th-floor bar — The Fleur Room — not only offers stunning views of the city’s skyline, but is also a tribute to floral extravaganza below with floral motifs and water droplet-inspired chandeliers.

The Whitby Hotel
The Whitby Hotel

As the 10th boutique hotel opened by British hoteliers Tim and Kit Kemp, The Whitby Hotel is a proper labour of love by the discerning duo. 

The Kemps are armed with the philosophy that “hotels should be living things not stuffy institutions,” and so the chic townhouse departs from typical neutrals to sport bold, cheery colours. Kit’s good eye for design is apparent here — the lobby doubles as gallery for alabaster plinths by sculptor Stephen Cox, while each of the 86 rooms have been individually designed to make every stay an experience. 

Breakfast is served at The Orangery, an airy space reminiscent of brasseries of yore, and furnished with specially commissioned wrought iron chandeliers and hand-etched porcelain vessels. Other common spaces worth your time include a petite courtyard and the 130-seat cinema for its film club.

Soho House New York Hotel
Soho House New York Hotel

If you’re the sort to hang out at pools, there are few in New York that are as star-studded and Instagrammable as Soho House’s. The only problem is that you’ll need exclusive membership for access — unless you book a room at the hotel.

Thankfully, the world’s coolest private members club offers stays that are just as design-savvy. Situated in the Meatpacking district, the hotel looks not a tad out of place between a legion of swanky restaurants and high-end shopping spots. Here, rooms are individually-designed too, so expect a diversity that ranges from minimalist to rustic. Every space in here is one to see and be seen, including its rooftop bar that enjoys panoramic views of downtown Manhattan.

The Refinery Hotel
The Refinery Hotel

The Refinery Hotel takes its spot in the heart of Manhattan’s buzzing fashion district as a contemporary property, but its history steeps deep into the early 19th century as a former hat factory. So the 197-room hotel wasted no opportunity in pay homage to the building’s millinery days, evident from the cast-iron leg desks (resembling early sewing machines) and the needle, thread, and scissor charms each of its staff sports.

Select rooms here have spectacular views of their landmarks they’re named after — the Empire State studio king room for example — but all boast the same retro-modern and chic interiors and modern art pieces. The mood extends to the jazz bar in the lobby, where 1920s New York is brought to life once again with prohibition-era cocktails and vintage aesthetics. 

Waldorf Astoria New York
Waldorf Astoria New York

New York isn’t short of impressive architecture, but only a handful make it into the crosshairs of New York City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission to be granted landmark status. 

Lauded for its Art Deco interiors, especially those within its grand ballroom and Peacock Alley, the 350-room icon boasts a storied sense of history throughout the hulking property, from antique lifts and gilt-lined ballrooms to the Cole Porter’s vintage piano in the restaurant. Art Deco touches are aplenty, but for the true Waldorf Astoria experience, you’ll need to book its Presidential Suite, where almost every US president has famously resided at for the past 70 years. 

Ganservoort Meatpacking NYC
Ganservoort Meatpacking NYC

Launched by the same guys behind the impossibly hipster The Curtain hotel in London, Ganservoort Meatpacking NYC boasts the same Millennial-approved sleekness as its European counterpart. 

The rooms are big on views, with the city skyline and Hudson River all visible from the vibrantly decorated rooms. Surprisingly, it’s also big on space, with soaring twenty-foot ceilings and wall-to-wall windows for an airy feel, and kitschy stock photos that add to the eclecticism of the property.

Park Hyatt New York
Park Hyatt New York

Tucked under One57, one of the city’s tallest and most lauded residences, the swanky hotel already scores high in terms of location, being just minutes away from landmarks such as MoMA and Times Square.

Here, the modish lobby sets the tone for the minimalist property, which is later accompanied by plenty of natural stone and avant-garde floral designs for a more inviting atmosphere. The walls are lined with more then 350 pieces of museum-quality art, which should prove to be an early treat for fans of the city’s museums. While all 210 rooms are equally flawless, it is the beautifully-fashioned pool on its 25th floor that remains to be one of its biggest attractions.

7 design-led hotels in Manhattan, New York to check out this year

Shatricia Nair

Managing Editor

Shatricia Nair has a passion for motoring, beauty, and wellness, and is perpetually knee-deep in the world of V8s, retinols, and latest fitness trends. She has nine years of experience writing for digital media, and her bylines have appeared in Prestige, and Augustman. She'll do (almost) anything for good chocolate chip cookies.

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