Gansevoort Meatpacking hotel, an emblem of the uptick in fortunes for New York’s kinkiest neighbourhood, is once again slaughtering the competition after – ahem – having a little work done. In its new guise, it offers prime cuts of art (Banksys, Frank Stellas and Mick Rocks hang out within), food (cult omakase meals and cultured comfort food), and style (blues and grays to match Hudson River views, a penthouse pad furnished in collab with Poliform). And, there’s more to set your loins aflame here: a year-round heated pool, work-outs to stream through your room’s Mirror screen, a karaoke club in the works… It’s going to be tasty, so sink your teeth into this scene before everyone else does.
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A Petit Four welcome amenity; and the resort fee ($35 a night) is waived for Smith guests. This includes two bottles of Just water, access to the fitness room and pool, digital access to the New York Times and package handling (for up to five packages)
186, including 20 suites, and the Poliform Penthouse, a collab with the cult furniture brand.
12 noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.
Double rooms from £456.20 ($568), including tax at 14.75 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional resort fee of $2.00 per room per night on check-out and an additional room tax of $1.50 per room per night on check-out.
Rates don’t usually include breakfast, but guests can go à la carte for around $45 a person, served in Coffee & Cocktails.
There are 10 Accessible Superior Queen Rooms with widened walkways, lever handles, and roll-in showers with grab bars and benches for guests with mobility issues.
At the hotel
Rooftop lounge with pool and city views, 24-hour gym with superior boxing equipment, charged laundry service, free WiFi. In rooms: Interactive mirror (for streaming in-room workouts), flatscreen LCD TV and leather-topped desk, Bluetooth Marshall sound-system, minibar, climate control, umbrella, bathrobes, slippers, L’Occitane en Provence bath products.
Our favourite rooms
The Gansevoort played a huge role in the Meatpacking District’s regeneration. It’s not lost its sense of fun – there are three cocktail menus, for christ’s sake – but it now has a more grown-up look that subtly touches on its surroundings. Bedrooms have walls the gray-blue shade of the Hudson, huge walnut headboards inspired by the High Line, and photos of the District in both its, ahem, glory days and now. The Poliform Penthouse – with furnishings from designers all over the world, curated by the Italian design brand – is the clear stand-out for the view from its lounge’s 20-foot windows, a fireplace that runs from floor to ceiling, a gallery’s worth of artwork by the likes of Frank Stella and Daniel Mazzone on display, and no less than three bathrooms. But, we also like the Terrace King Bed rooms, which have covetable outdoor space and plenty of style.
In this city, those with a rooftop are lucky devils; those with access to a rooftop pool – a heated one, no less – have reached the zenith of New York living. As you float in the Gansevoort’s top-of-the-world, guests-only 45-footer, you can trace the skyline from downtown up along the Hudson (and out to New Jersey) past Hudson Yards, Hell’s Kitchen and beyond. Cosy blue sofas are set around the side so you can sit and admire with a drink after you’ve towelled off. The pool opens from 7am to 5pm come winter, till 9pm in summer, and guests staying in Superior or Deluxe rooms have access for two guests, while those staying in Deluxe Double rooms, Grand Deluxe rooms or suites get access for up to four guests.
Therapist's are dispatched to your room on request for a range of massages or stretch sessions. And, the hotel’s 590-sq-ft fitness room has all manner of up-to-the-minute get-in-shape toys: a Mirror work-out companion and Peloton bikes alongside free weights, treadmills, ellipticals and stair-steppers. Water and eucalyptus-scented towels are provided. Or, you can stream around 10,000 work-outs in all disciplines to the Mirror in your room. And, pugilists needn’t go the Rocky route of tenderising a side of cow with their fists – the hotel punches up with its top-of-the-line boxing and speed bags, hand wraps and gloves.
Dress clothes to impress and flat shoes for exploring – the Meatpacking’s cobblestoned streets might be charming, but they’re a killer in heels.
Staying in the Poliform penthouse and have your eye on a similar piece to the Jean Marie Massaud Mondrian sofa or the Saharan black-marble coffee table? Each piece is available for purchase.
Furry friends under 50 lbs can stay for $100 a pet, each stay. And they’ll be spoiled rotten, with a bed, a mat monogrammed with their name, a small Fiji water, bowls and a toy. See more pet-friendly hotels in New York.
Kids can stay and are welcomed in the lifeguard-surveyed pool. There are cots (free), pack and plays, special bath products for babes and colouring books to buy, but unless your little ‘uns are fans of sushi and cocktails they won’t have much to do.
The hotel works with NYC’s waste-management companies to recycle effectively. Housekeeping changes linens every second day to conserve water and the hotel aims to reduce plastic usage and its carbon footprint. Plus, they support local art and community programmes, including female- and minority-owned collective ArtNoir, LEAF Flower Show and Fashion Week.
The Chester’s alfresco terrace lets you sit back and watch the street traffic, while from the rooftop, you can see the bigger picture (and maybe a cheeky glimpse of next door Soho House’s rooftop).
Peel yourself out of anything spandex or sweat-resistant – athleisure is a big no-no in the hotel’s hang-out spots. Bring proper shoes and don something cool enough to keep up with New Yorkers.
The hotel has four, each with a distinct personality. At ground level there’s easygoing bistro the Chester, where the walls sizzle with acid-bright, music-inspired artworks, and the menu is a curious American-French alliance, with sliders, meatball subs and mac and cheese alongside steak frites, ham and gruyère baguettes and prosciutto, goat’s cheese and fig flatbreads. A friendly hang-out spot by day, with a hearty brunch menu on weekends, it eases into party mode at clocking-off time, serving tipsy-makers such as the Gansevoort (with vodka, prosecco, elderflower liqueur, grapefruit and lime) and Peanut Butter & Cocoa Dream (peanut-butter whiskey, hot-chocolate, salted caramel and toasted marshmallows). Book way ahead during major game seasons. Atop the hotel, overlooking the Hudson and its banks of glittering skyscrapers, is Saishin by Kissaki (a group with two other NYC restaurants and one in the Hamptons) where you put your appetite in the hands of skilled chefs who’ll slice and dice a delicate seasonal six- to 15-course omakase menu, which might include Kumamoto oysters, truffled sea urchin, silver-backed hikarimono and sesame sauce or yellowtail with pico de gallo. Or pick and choose from high-quality maki and nigiri from the à la carte. And, Coffee & Cocktails serves elevated comfort food in casual environs.
Coffee & Cocktails’ name is a dead giveaway for its shtick, but it does both styles of beverage very well indeed. Come in the AM for a maple-syrup latte of lavender hot-chocolate. When the clock turns noon, switch to the harder stuff; the cocktail menu has some rather extraordinary gambits, say the Fugazy with Martini bitters, gin, rose and artichoke liqueur; a cosmo spiced up with Grey Goose-infused szechuan buttons; or a vodka martini garnished with blue-cheese- and truffle-stuffed olives. The Chester’s a lively meeting point for drinks with friends, before you move on up to the roof. Here’s DJs spin Thursday to Sunday evenings and the barkeeps have dreamt up even more delirious libations: say, Sir Bentley with bourbon, caramel, root-beer and bitters, or Tika Taka with mezcal, Campari, pineapple, lime and aquafaba. And there’s a separate happy-hour list for the gin crowd.
Saishin by Kissaki opens from 6pm to 10pm Wednesday to Saturday, 5pm to 9pm Sundays. The Chester runs from 11am to midnight. Coffee & Cocktails jumps and javas from 8am to 2pm, and gets liquored up from 5pm to 11pm.
Gansevoort Meatpacking NYC has carved itself out a nice slice of Big Apple real estate on Ninth Avenue and 13th Street, where Greenwich Village’s crazy-paving layout meets the regimented city grid of the Commissioners’ Plan.
LaGuardia and Newark are the closest hubs at just under half an hour’s drive away, but JFK isn’t that much further, about a 40-minute trip. The hotel can help with transfers, which start from $140 one-way (SUVs available for groups for an extra charge).
You’ll find a trusty yellow and blue MetroCard tucked into pretty much all New Yorkers’ wallets. You can pay per journey, but shell out for unlimited rides and you can zip all over Manhattan, from Battery Park to the Bronx. The closest stop to the hotel is 14th Street–Union Square, just a block away. If you’re riding the Amtrak in, Penn is the closest overground station.
The streets might be choked with traffic, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a New Yorker who actually owns a car. Hailing a cab is the most acceptable way to get around, and New York is one of America’s few walkable cities, where you never know what’ll be around the block. You can acquire wheels at the airport, but be advised that the parking, two blocks away from the hotel (at 111 8th Avenue), is from $85 a day, with no in-out privileges.
Worth getting out of bed for
It’s only in the last 20 or so years that the Meatpacking District has gone from offal to prime. Formerly the home of meat markets both literal and figurative (this was the spiritual home of NYC’s kink scene), once you might have come here to get spanked and then some, now you can walk the art-lined High Line, and put your credit limit to the test. Diane Von Furstenberg, Rolex, Gucci, Hermès, Brunello Cucinelli, Loro Piana and Helmut Lang all have boutiques within three blocks; Arhaus and Restoration Hardware peddle fabulous furnishings; and French heir to the Hennessy cognac fortune sells cult perfumes at By Killian (get a whiff of the signature Apple Brandy), for $200 and then some… Chelseais just next door, so a day of gallery hopping is a must – but take note, there are more than 400 packed into its streets. Start at the Whitney, which has a spectacular collection of more than 25,000 modern works both beautiful and provocative, and a building whose window walls ensure the views are well-framed too. David Zwirner (both the man and the brand) is now a global force – the original is in Chelsea, but the likes of Luc Tuymans and Neo Rauch launched their careers here, so you never know which next-big-thing you’ll catch. A sultry building on 22nd houses Hauser & Wirth, which has five storeys of gaze-stealing goodies; when you leave, stroll down the street to see part of Joseph Beuys’ 7,000 Oak Trees installation, where his plantings are accompanied by basalt stones. And, the Gagosian might require a day to itself, with 20,000sq ft to cover within, and a roster of artists that includes Damien Hirst, Ed Ruscha, Anselm Kiefer and Andy Warhol. Alongside the leafier parts of the High Line, there’s another ingenious way the city has added a little greenery to its citizens’ lives – the Little Island Park, accessed along a walkway between Piers 53 and 57. Spanning three acres, it has an amphitheatre, diverse flora, running paths and curated dining stalls. Or you could jog along the Hudson River Greenway, down to Battery Park and the ports for boats to Governors Island, Lady Liberty and the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration. Re-fuel after at Chelsea Market, a food hall that brings together the city’s most revered edibles in one place, such as Thai food from Ayada, Israeli snacks from Miznon and bagels from Black Seed. And, while the hotel’s rooftop is impressive, it can’t quite stand up with the big boys at 14 floors. The Empire State Building is just a short walk away, and you can stop at the Flatiron along the way. Or, head to Hudson Yards, to climb the curious Vessel structure (essentially cross-hatched stairways), see what’s happening at multidisciplinary venue the Shed, and see the city spread out like a map from the Edge Observation Deck. Back at the hotel, pummel punching bags or get a massage, hang out by the pool, and see live comedy on Thursday nights, alongside other seasonal events.
Going hungry in New York? Eh, fuhgeddaboudit. With varying prices and portions, all the cuisines of the world await you here – having said that, with upper-end-of-the-scale pricing and more touristy spots than is desirable, the Meatpacking doesn’t quite live up to the promise of its name when dining. But, there are bright spots throughout… A fitting start is at the Old Homestead Steakhouse, across from Chelsea Market; it has a seafood menu (and a raw bar with colossal shrimp), but don’t be foolish – you’re having a slab of cow, medium rare, either wrapped in applewood-smoked bacon, topped with a lobster tail or naked and unafraid. Boucherie sauces things up (or at least drizzles a jus over) with its French insouciance. It’s all set for brunching and lunching and has excellent cheeses and charcuterie to nibble at. The Standard Hotel is a big brute of a building that stands out amid the High Line views; it doesn’t look especially romantic, but the Standard Grill within is quite the charmer with its copper-penny-tile flooring and curved booths. Order up the wild-salmon sausage with garlic aioli, or the two-million-dollar chicken (just $55 for a whole, mind), with lemon and Aleppo pepper. RH Rooftop has trees, a chandelier hanging above each table, fountains: the works. The menu itself is surprisingly restrained, sticking to classics (prawn cocktail, burrata, salted ribeye, roast chicken), but the optics stand up when it comes to date-night spots. Hao Noodle sits on the Chelsea border, and its deep-filled bowls and authentic Chinese fare have given it a rave reputation. You can’t go wrong with anything noodly here, but the eat-with-a-spoon eggplant in garlic sauce, egg-dumpling stew and anything skewered are safe bets too. And then, there’s the legendary, yet legendarily impenetrable, Carbone within walking district. Make sure you’re fast on your fingers on Resy when tables are released seven days ahead, or occasionally cancellations will be released in Deuxmoi’s Insta stories. If you can make it there…well, you’ll have some of the best meatballs and pasta in town.
At legacy café Kobrick Coffee Co, the baristas are cross-trained as mixologists, so by day they’ll serve you a mighty fine brew, and after 8pm they’ll muddle up a coffee-infused Kyoto Negroni or Tiger Stripe Espresso Martini, as anything from Ella Fitzgerald to Norwegian EDM plays.
Hotels have IV’d some much needed life-blood into the Meatpacking’s nightlife scene, and you could just ride the elevator up to the top of the Gansevoort – its poolside lounge has witnessed many nights of revelry. But, the Standard does some heavy lifting with both its laidback Biergarten (with steins, sausages and pretzels) and Le Bain, a disco-ball-speckled highly eventful club on the roof. The Brass Monkey is an immensely popular spot, who’ve also boned up on their beer choices and makes for a cool and convenient pit stop along the High Line. Otherwise, look back to the good-old days of discrete boozing at Employees Only, which takes inspiration from speakeasies of the early 20th century and has a very extensive cocktail menu. Try a Fraises Sauvage with gin, wild strawberries and Tahitian vanilla, or a Lazy Lover: a feisty mix of cachaça, jalapeño-infused green chartreuse, Benedictine, lime and agave nectar. And, oenophiles can settle in at Entwine NYC, whose cracked leather booths, decorative ceiling tiles and unfussed attitude make it feel like a Parisian boîte.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this cool-down-to-the-marrow stay in NYC’s former sin-bin and unpacked their Diane Von Furstenberg wrap dresses and bondage harnesses (hey, the neighbourhood’s still got some spunk…), a full account of their in-the-flesh encounter with the Big Apple will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your appetite, here's a quick peek inside Gansevoort Meatpacking…
Gansevoort Meatpacking earnt itself a cult following after its opening two decades ago; it pumped lifeblood back into the waning Meatpacking District as its kink scene was hosed out, getting in early-doors on ‘hoods burgeoning hotness and establishing itself as king of its nightlife scene. Rooftop Provocateur club and its pool lounge called out to the young and beautiful, and the after party was in the sprawling penthouse. After years of hedonism, much like its go-hard attendees, things started to catch up with the hotel and it looked a little worse for wear. But, there’s always room for reinvention in New York, and the Gansevoort’s owner Michael Achenbaum has invested millions in guiding the hotel to post-Covid glory. But, this isn’t the rock-and-roll rake of yesteryear, but a more grown-up hideout that’s invested in self-care and cultural evolution. Each room has a Mirror work-out buddy, through which you can stream thousands of classes, and the state-of-the-art gym takes boxing (and Peloton pedalling) very seriously. Rooms take design cues from the city, with blue-grey shades that match the Hudson views, walnut headboards that nod to the High Line, and photos of the District then and now. And the penthouse has been taken over by Italian design experts Poliform, who’ve filled it with covetable shoppable furnishings. And, Chelsea’s raring art scene bleeds in, with works by Banksy, Hassan Hajja, Frank Stella and Mick Rock hanging throughout, plus pieces by Banksy inspiration Richard Hambleton – a New York graffiti legend known as Shadowman. Slick and well-oiled, perhaps this represents yet another tide change for the surrounding streets, but old habits die hard, and in the come-alive-after-dark stakes, there’s muscle to flex: the rooftop pool is as exclusively hip as it ever was, there are no fewer than three cocktail menus, and the basement will become a club with karaoke and bowling. So, when this is proclaimed the prodigal party pad of the Meatpacking, we’ll bite.