Built to blend in with the classic New York façades of trendy Tribeca, Robert de Niro’s Greenwich Hotel boasts beautiful bedrooms fitted with Carrara marble and Moroccan tile, a bamboo spa building constructed, nail-free, by Japanese craftsmen, and a cool but cosy Italian restaurant – all encased in a classic exterior of ruddy, hand-moulded brick.
Eighty-eight, including 12 suites and a penthouse.
Noon, but flexible depending on availability.
Double rooms from £538.59 ($746), including tax at 14.75 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of $3.50 per room per night on check-out.
Rates exclude breakfast.
In a tribute to the hotelier’s artist father, Robert De Niro Senior’s Picasso-ish paintings line the walls of the lobby and drawing room.
At the hotel
Spa, fitness centre, drawing room, DVD library, free WiFi throughout, valet parking, in-room check-in. In rooms: HDTV, DVD player, preloaded iPod, book selection, electronic curtains, Kearsley cotton sheets, Japanese Red Flower toiletries.
Our favourite rooms
The N. Moore Suite and the Greenwich Suite each offer more living space than 95 per cent of NYC urbanites could ever dream of, and the 30-foot skylights merit a gawp (as do the rates). They’re each fitted with kitchens, offices and stone fireplaces. The Superior rooms are more economical options that are still luxuriously spacious – go for one with a view of the Greenwich Hotel’s Tuscan-style courtyard.
Shibui spa contains a reconstructed bamboo farmhouse that houses the heated indoor pool, lit by lanterns. Freshly squeezed fruit juices, light spa meals and sake are always on hand.
Your favourite suede slippers to put your feet up in the reading room – and something to read while you’re there.
Ask for one of the tables in the northwest corner; these are quieter than the spots around the bar and the building’s support columns lend the space some privacy.
A-lister at ease; don’t wear a dark shirt or tie unless you want to be mistaken for one of the immaculately attired Italian waiting staff. (Or a Goodfella.)
Locanda Verde is where chef Andrew Carmellini dishes up high-end Italian comfort food – wood-fired rabe sausage, roasted garlic chicken. The colour scheme is all warm earth tones, the lighting low and the ambience seductive.
Guests, glitterati and meedja moguls sup bellini martinis at Locanda Verde’s Parisian-style bar, which packs in the punters on weekend evenings. The wines and vodka menus are distinguished and lengthy, and if you’re into grappa, this is the bar for you.
The restaurant is open until 11pm, but guests at the hotel can drink and dine round the clock.
Selections from Locanda Verde’s menu are available in-room 24 hours a day.
JFK, La Guardia and Newark are all within an easy drive of the hotel – it shouldn't take more than an hour (depending on the city traffic, of course).
Getting to Grand Central Station and Penn Station shouldn't take more longer than 30 minutes in a cab. You'll be able to board Amtrak (www.amtrak.com) services to other destinations all over the USA. You'll also be able to get out to the Hamptons on the Long Island Rail Road (www.lirr.org) from Penn Station.
From JFK, take the Van Wyck Expressway then the Long Island Expressway and Queens Midtown Expressway before heading over to Manhattan on the Brooklyn Queens Expressway. There's parking and a valet service at the hotel.
Worth getting out of bed for
The hotel is in the heart of Downtown Manhattan in Tribeca – the 'triangle below Canal Street' (God bless those abbreviation-loving, nickname-bestowing New Yorkers) is now one of the city's most expensive real-estate patches (possibly something to do with Beyoncé moving in). There are plenty of shiny boutiques, and you're steps from Soho for further spending potential. Or just stroll the streets with a major case of warehouse-conversion envy.
Continue your De Niro pilgrimage at the nearest Nobu, in Downtown (assuming you can get a table). The Odeon on West Broadway is a local institution, and serves some of the best burgers in town to south Manhattan's champagne-chinking set. For the best tacos in Tribeca, book in at Añejo on Church Street, where there are no fewer than six types of margarita on the menu.
Try Bubbys on Hudson Street for brunch – in a city that takes breakfast seriously, you're in for a treat (buttermilk biscuits, burgers and bacon added to pretty much everything – even the sprouts).
Go thirsty to Terroir on Harrison Street and work your way through the list of wines sold by the glass – even more dangerous than it sounds during the daily happy hours (4pm to 6pm and 11pm till close). If you get suddenly hungry and desperate for salty carbs, don't panic: things like fritto misto, meatballs and sliders are ready to come to the rescue. For cocktails with a side order of oysters, burrata and truffled cheese toast, head to Weather Up on Duane Street (of pharmacy fame).
I’m excited. Having been in New York on business with my wife, my one-year-old son and my wife’s mum excitement isn’t necessarily the obvious sentiment attached to a break which involves toddlers, mother-in-laws and back-to-back meetings – even if it is at a romantic boutique hotel. After a hard week of work, our payback is for Granny Smith to look after baby Tom while we stay at Robert de Niro’s new hotel for two nights. We are pressing pause on parenthood and once again becoming a real Mr & Mrs Smith. Setting off with just one piece of luggage between us it really does feel like a proper ‘dirty weekend’ or ‘quickie getaway’ as I learn the Americans call it – minus the saucy connotations.
Don’t misunderstand me, I love spending time with my son, but as anyone that has children knows, your time isn’t your own after the little darlings arrive so getting the promise of more than six hours sleep in my favourite city is a real treat. Plus we have carte blanche for a whole weekend of whatever shenanigans we choose based in Manhattan’s south-western swathe, TriBeCa. We can hit Century 21 department store for designer label bargains without having to negotiate the crowds with a cumbersome stroller. We might seek out a SoHo speakeasy and stay out well past our usual bedtime. Or maybe we’ll just stay in bed.
We pull up in our yellow taxi at the understated entrance of this brick mid-rise to be met by a friendly porter who opens the door and wishes us a good afternoon; his smile neatly dovetails into ushering us to a fine-looking receptionist. We are of course anonymous – and anyway, currently ‘Mr and Mrs Smith’ means Angelina and Brad stateside – and although my beautiful wife does have a touch of the Jolies about her, I’m certainly no Pitt.
We’re shown to our room, and our escort gives a quick tour of the ground floor. He points out recovered beams salvaged from a Civil War-era factory; silk rugs sourced from Tibet; each and every brick has been handmade; and the impressive terracotta and marble flooring is 14th-century Italian palazzo inspired. As for that hotel buzzword du jour – it’s super eco thanks to so many hand-sourced recycled furnishings. The overall style is hard to define – rustic Italian villa meets Spanish finca with a whiff of Morocco given the spectacular intricate tiling in the bathrooms.
We heave open heavy wooden door to our bedroom and it’s surprisingly understated; Mrs Smith lunges for an inspection of the bathroom as is her wont. I hear a yelp of delight as she declares there’s a deep, deep tub for two, as well as a choice of rainfall showers. Noted are the requisite big white fluffy towels and robes and sweet-smelling Red Flower products, plus there’s playable-with soft lighting that makes you look good any time day or night (still not quite passing as Brad though).
Our bedroom is a little plainer than I expected but the help-yourself minibar is a nice touch. OK, so they charge for alcohol, but with a huge basket of retro candy and quirky snacks, the sugar high might be enough. There are electric curtains (I know, stop playing with them…), stripped reclaimed lime-wash-look floorboards and an extremely comfortable and particularly large bed with an enormous TV at the end means we barely needed to move. I do think that a bit of art on the walls would liven it up but as we are there during the ‘soft’ opening – perhaps Mr De Niro has yet to pop out and buy the bedroom art in between being the world’s biggest movie star. Interestingly, his father was a painter and some of his work adorns the communal areas but sadly there isn’t enough for all 88 bedrooms.
Most people get excited about going up, up, up in hotels but here it’s the basement that provides the biggest thrill. A 250-year-old pine and bamboo farmhouse was transported from Kyoto and reconstructed by 13 Japanese specialist craftsmen – this is Greenwich Hotel’s hidden treasure and a real treat in an urban hotel. On our visit, the Shibuispa cellar treatment rooms aren’t open yet but the pool was one of the most stunning that I’ve ever seen. The spa director from Georges V in Paris will oversee the individually tailored array of treatments available only to the hotel’s guests. As for the rest of the health and fitness facilities, if you’ve always hankered after perfect buffness as sported by de Niro in ‘Cape Fear’ and ‘Raging Bull’, his personal trainer has dropped his exclusivity and he’s now available through the gym. (Watch out Brad, I could catch you up yet.)
With a restaurant sister to the one that is legendary in LA, deciding where to have dinner that night is a no-brainer. Locanda Verde serves simple Italian fare, but of course with an American accent and in comfortable rustic-inspired surroundings. The atmosphere is buzzing and it’s a great place for our first-night date. A glass of prosecco at the long, sweeping bar is followed by three courses rather than the customary Italian four. If I were to be pressed for a criticism, I never thought I’d complain about service being too speedy but the food did appear and disappear rather quickly; as we don’t want the night to end too soon, we take coffee and digestives from the comfort of a sofa in the vaulted lobby lounge.
There was talk about going out somewhere – perhaps a new trendy bar where you have to call in from a hotdog stand on the corner, or that bonkers transsexual cabaret nightclub that is hip with the in-the-know crowd – but as I spy Mrs Smith sneak in a yawn, with me quickly following, I know the only place we’re going is our big comfortable bed. After all, we’ve never been so excited in the city that never sleeps to get some shut-eye in such an surprisingly peaceful neighbourhood. And there’s always tomorrow night…