Refinery Hotel, New York

'The Refinery Rooftop is a true New York gem come rain or shine'

LOCATION: Situated a couple of blocks south of Bryant Park and the stunning New York Public Library, the Refinery Hotel offers a fantastic location for exploring midtown Manhattan and is just a five-minute walk from Times Square. Being situated in midtown has obvious pros and cons – don’t book this for a tranquil retreat – but the property’s location and nods to its history ensure it offers a quintessentially New York experience.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS: The property’s exterior is understated and the interior is dark and cool. A background soundtrack charting the history of jazz from trad through bebop to contemporary sets the scene, and the wooden panelling and hardwood floors reflect the owners’ desire to draw inspiration from the building’s heritage, including its early life as a hat factory.

THE FACTS: A member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, the Refinery has 197 rooms which benefit from high ceilings and continue the ‘factory chic’ style favoured elsewhere in the property. The hotel has a signature Parker & Quinn restaurant and a cosy ground-floor jazz lounge and bar, but without a doubt its piece-de-resistance is the Refinery Rooftop, boasting incredible views of the Empire State Building and serving some outstanding cocktails. Guests lucky enough to have a south-facing room will enjoy a similar outlook, with those closest to Fifth Avenue having uninterrupted views guaranteed to make you want to sleep with the curtains open. Also worthy of note are the bathrooms, with crisp white tiling, Noir bath products and a huge walk-in shower creating the perfect place to rinse and rejuvenate between long days enjoying the city’s sights and long evenings sampling its legendary nightlife.

A GOOD BASE FOR: A weekend in the heart of Manhattan for those for whom sleeping isn’t necessarily the priority. For those visiting the city for the first time, must-sees including Times Square, Grand Central Station, the Rockefeller Center and the Empire State are within easy walking distance. And for those more accustomed to the city, the Refinery offers a great location to explore the east and west sides in more depth, including the fantastic High Line public park and the jaw-dropping Hudson Yards development, the largest private real estate development in the history of the US which is due to be completed by 2025.

WOW: With a retractable glass conservatory leading out to a terrace in the shadow of the Empire State Building, the Refinery Rooftop is a true New York gem come rain or shine. During the day, you can kick back with an extensive cocktail list while the sounds of the city rise from below, and in the evening the lights of one of the world’s most iconic buildings create a spectacular backdrop for a night with the coolest of clienteles. We visited in spring, but it was easy to envisage the rooftop on a steamy summer night or on a chilly winter’s evening when the cosy fireplace would come to the fore.

ROBIN SEARLE 

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