Uniting vivid patterns and bold designs to create a wholly unique space, The Whitby Hotel in New York City is designer Kit Kemp’s modern Midtown Manhattan masterpiece. A few blocks from the renowned Museum of Modern Art, the hotel is its own arts destination, with thoughtful installations and a unique look in every bright, welcoming room. Every room has oversized windows and an airy feel, and many have terraces and large soaking tubs. Enjoy a nod to Firmdale’s British heritage with afternoon tea in the bar, or set off to enjoy Central Park, just blocks from the perfectly positioned hotel.
Get this when you book through us:
One drink-of-choice each a stay; GoldSmiths also get a welcome gift and upgrade to the next room category (subject to availability)
Double rooms from £505.73 ($637), 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 do not include Continental breakfast ($25 per person).
The state-of-the-art in-house theater has 130 seats, surround sound and a fun list of events, including a weekly film club, including a vintage movie screening and brunch, lunch or afternoon tea.
At the hotel
Screening room, gym, free WiFi throughout, valet parking. In rooms: flatscreen TV, iPod dock, minibar, coffee maker, Kit Kemp's line of Rik Rak bath products.
Our favourite rooms
Every room is uniquely designed in Kit Kemp’s signature style, with its own custom furniture and accent pieces, but all have huge windows and beautiful marble and granite bathrooms. The Junior Terrace Suites have high ceilings, oversized windows and a corner terrace overlooking Manhattan rooftops. For the ultimate rooftop New York experience, book the Whitby Suite, a penthouse space occupying the entire top floor of the hotel, with two king-size bedrooms, two terraces and the best views of the city.
Borrow a book from the library in the Drawing Room, a bright, colourful space with an original art collection, an honesty bar, a fireplace and a large library packed with appealing reads.
All public areas are wheelchair accessible. There are several rooms with dedicated wheelchair-accessible bathrooms.
Snag a spot on the vibrantly coloured banquette for the most comfortable perch with a view of the action.
Vivid, colourful attire will match the atmosphere and the bright, seasonal flavours of Chef Anthony Paris’ menu.
The Whitby Bar is decorated with baskets sourced from throughout the UK and strung from the ceiling, but it’s American dishes that are on offer from breakfast to dinner. The breakfast menu includes pancakes, a toasted bagel, porridge and fresh juices, and dinner showcases grilled fish and steak, as well as the likes of truffle agnolotti with crab and a smoked pork chop, with seasonal sides. In the adjoining Orangery, 40 illuminated pots are each etched with a tribute to New York's architecture and infrastructure.
The Bar serves a thoughtful cocktail menu of spritzes, as well as a list of cocktails inspired by each of the Firmdale hotels. There is a small menu of light bites, including beer-battered peppers and a chorizo monkey bread, along with small pizzas and a burger.
Breakfast is served from 7am to 11am, lunch from noon to 3pm and dinner from 5pm to 11pm.
A selection of salads, soups, sandwiches and entrees is available anytime.
The Whitby Hotel is in Midtown Manhattan, near the Museum of Modern Art and Central Park.
New York’s three airports have direct flights from nearly every major city in the world. LaGuardia is the closest airport, 7 miles from the hotel (about 35 minutes, depending on traffic). There are plenty of cabs and ride-share cars available at every airport, or you can contact Smith24 for help with transfers.
The hotel’s a 10-minute drive from Penn Station, the Amtrak hub, which offers connections up and down the East Coast, including to Philadelphia, Boston and Washington, DC.
Driving in New York can fray even the most patient nerves, and seem like the slowest possible option during Manhattan’s renowned traffic jams, when even pedestrians outpace traffic. Those who prefer to hire a car can use the hotel’s valet for $85 a night, with no in-and-out privileges.
Several major subway routes are easy to hop on nearby.
Worth getting out of bed for
New York has no shortage of attractions for outgoing visitors, including Broadway shows, restaurant tours, urban strolls and seemingly endless museums. The Whitby is right in the heart of some of New York’s most interesting attractions. Take a stroll through the art-filled lobby to prime yourself for a tour of the world-renowned Museum of Modern Art two blocks from the hotel, where you’ll find Van Gogh’s Starry Night and Salvador Dali's The Persistence of Memory, among other priceless works.
Pause from the sightseeing with a break for afternoon tea at the hotel. The Whitby Bar and the Orangery both offer tea service throughout the afternoon, with a choice of New York-inspired traditional tea (including a buffalo chicken tea sandwich and a matcha tiramisu), or a healthy tea with vegetable-quinoa sushi and chia pudding.
Once fortified, venture back out to enjoy shopping along legendary 5th Avenue, home to Bergdorf Goodman and Saks, along with flagship boutiques for top designers or take a stroll in Central Park, the ultimate urban backyard, where New Yorkers cluster in all weather to breathe fresh air and stretch out from their tiny flats. It’s the ideal way to work up a dinner appetite.
For a taste of high-society New York, book a table around the corner from the hotel at the Polo Bar, a restaurant designed by Ralph Lauren, which is the table of choice for those with pull on the Upper East Side. As all-American as the designer's clothing, the menu includes a burger, chicken paillard, shrimp cocktail and generous salads, all best paired with dry martinis or icy rosé. The Grill, on 52nd Street, is a design lover’s dream and a fitting tribute to the Four Seasons, a mid-century New York institution that long occupied its space in the Seagram Building. The chefs serve an opulent menu of steak tartare, a hefty crab cake and chops, with lavish desserts and cocktails to round out the experience. Rotisserie Georgette makes roast chicken into masterpieces, turning out perfectly cooked birds four flavour combinations (get the au poivre with green peppercorns), with a wicked tarte tatin for dessert.
For cocktails with a view, book a table at Bar SixtyFive, atop Rockefeller Center. Set on the 65th floor, beside the legendary Rainbow Room, the bar serves classic cocktails with a panoramic view of the Manhattan skyline, including prime views of the Empire State Building. The Rum House, off Broadway, is an ideal place to escape the chaos of Times Square and chill with a daiquiri, expertly crafted by some of the best rum experts in the city.
I hold my hands up – tackling Fifth Avenue on a Saturday afternoon was not something I'd mentally prepped for. Emerging from a nearby subway station and jumping into a humongous crowd of tourists – with a suitcase in tow – moving at a snail-like pace was the antithesis of the self-care trend sweeping the world. I'd have kicked myself if there was room to make such a manoeuvre.
But I forgive The Whitby for its proximity to the fray as I swing open its grand doors and enter a parallel universe – a sanctuary away from the maddening crowd, with the impeccable concierge welcoming me into an art-adorned reception kitted out in owner Kit Kemp's colourful and vibrant style. Glancing around, there's an awakening of homey nostalgia as the Firmdale Group's unique and irreverent style transports me back to 10 years ago, when the Charlotte Street Hotel and the Soho Hotel were two of my regular breakfast and lunch haunts during my old gig as a media journalist.
Anyway, upwards to the seventh floor to my bedroom, which is seriously New York hip with oversized black-framed windows (bang on trend), a king-size bed with an epic-sized headboard and, in true bold Kit Kemp fashion, bedroom walls lined with a dusk-red fabric. As much as I'd love to take advantage of the quietness of the room – thankfully it's more silent retreat than buzzy city life – and snuggle under the duvet, I fling the copy of Monocle that's lying on the chest of drawers into my bag and run out to take advantage of the bright October sunshine. It's not often that you have Central Park on your doorstep, right?
Of course, this slice of green is one major photo opportunity, and every man and his dog – along with Instagram influencers, brides and grooms and tourist groups armed with selfie sticks – has come to visit Central Park. There's no getting around it: this ain't the quiet stroll in the park that I'd hoped for. However, I do jump across some kind of gated area and find a quiet spot near a pair of lovebirds.
After enjoying the entertainers, the dog walkers and the loved-up boat riders, I leave the park and may have dropped by Sephora to try out Drunk Elephant – the brand of the moment everyone's raving about – before swinging by the Rockefeller Centre to head up to the “Top of the Rock”. Of course, I'm being far too optimistic; 6.30pm is apparently the busiest time of the day, with tourists stacked like lemons to take selfies alongside the NY skyline at sunset. Not in the mood for queuing, I bounce back to the hotel where I lounge about in the library adjacent to the reception, reading the US papers and diving into a tray of delicious pumpkin macaroons.
After a few congested days in Williamsburg, now is definitely the time to bask in my hotel room, eat takeout and watch several episodes of Glow. Morning comes and I still can't quite muster up the energy to leave the room, so naturally I do what should surely be inked as one of the top ten Amendments: order breakfast in bed. With jazz playing on the radio, The New York Times sprawled out across the bed, and with a spread of scrambled eggs, porridge and a plate of fresh fruit, I'm in a dream that I don't want room service to wake me up from.
Full from the hearty breakfast, I slope off to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) where I lose myself in “Toward a Concrete Utopia”, a fascinating exhibition exploring large-scale innovative Brutalist buildings in the former state of Yugoslavia. Later I join my friend at the High Line, New York's elevated park. We venture to The Standard but it's brimming with polished Instagram influencers, so we walk arm in arm to a cosy vegan restaurant in Chelsea where we tuck into ribbons of pasta and catch up over glasses of pinot noir.
The next morning, I lift weights at the small hotel gym, redeeming myself afterwards by dipping pieces of sourdough into my shakshuka in The Whitby's restaurant. As I sip my jasmine tea from fine bone china and count the woven baskets in the installation hanging over the bar (I'm later informed there's 52), I spy a happy mother and daughter having the kind of rapport with the staff that makes them seem like old friends. Later I discover that the woman is none other than Kit Kemp, the owner of the hotel.
With an invite later that day to New York Taste, an event where chefs from around the city showcase their favourite dishes, the staff kindly allow me to work from the drawing room, an expansive space filled with a library of books; I sit at a huge grand table, where it looks like I'm waiting for my board members to arrive. Unfortunately I might have to finally once again face Fifth Avenue, but thanks to The Whitby, I step out into midtown feeling seriously restored and relaxed. Let's raise a Manhattan to that.