The Renaissance Midtown breathes new life into a New York stay

Renaissance New York Midtown
218 West 35th St., New York, NY

The Pitch In the city that never sleeps, this brand-new property — the Renaissance Midtown opened earlier this year — aims to be New York’s very first “living building.” What does that mean, exactly? A hotel where corridors come to life, where you can actually interact with the building, a place that’s never the same way twice. Using new “ambient intelligence” technology provided by Montreal-based Réalisations Inc., a company that’s also worked with Cirque de Soleil and the Metropolitan Opera, guests’ presence throughout the hotel triggers a constantly changing array of scenes and experiences, broadcast onto walls, floors and other surfaces. And then there’s the Discovery Portal. A sort of digital concierge, this semi-circular screen is activated when guests step on various words projected onto the floor; the screen responds with information provided by Time Out New York, giving the insider-y goods on food, dining and attractions in the area (and beyond).

What We Love Located in the Garment District, deep in the centre of Midtown Manhattan, the hotel is within a few blocks of some the city’s biggest draws (Madison Square Garden, Empire State Building, Times Square). The Renaissance Midtown seeks to provide an immersive experience, blending seamlessly with its surrounds, providing an even mix of high and low, grit and chic. Honouring the history of the Garment District, the hotel is filled with old sewing machines, buttons and quotes from fashion designers, as well as artwork that employs a playful ethos of “look, and look again.” (Example: Look closer at a framed picture of the Manhattan skyline, and you’ll see that it’s actually made out of pencils.) And every view — from the broad, almost floor-to-ceiling windows in the guest rooms to the sweeping scenes you can spot from the lobby and lounges — reminds you that you’re in the beating heart of one of the world’s greatest cities.

Don’t Miss Rock and Reilly’s, a gourmet gastropub on a fifth-floor terrace. While it may veer a little close to hipster territory (it’s described as a “prohibition-era speakeasy,” and it has its own well-constructed backstory based on an actual Irish immigrant), its menu goes well beyond typical pub fare, ranging from ceviche to cheeseburger spring rolls. The coolest thing? It’s probably the only bar in New York with a retractable roof. So you can drink and dine when the sun’s shining, and get to shelter when it’s not — all without moving an inch. 

Rooms from US$350 per night

Leave a comment